Christmas comes early this year at six decorated homes open for tours today, which will be accompanied with music provided by the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra.
The 17th annual Christmas Stroll includes light refreshments at Lake Street United Methodist Church, a wine and cheese pairing at Forage and a souvenir Stickley furniture catalog.
The tour runs 1 to 5 p.m. today. Tickets for $20 can be purchased at Lake Street United Methodist Church, open from 1 to 4 p.m., or at the stroll homes.
Anton Smets and Rae Schilling-Smets
28 Newton St.
Ralph S. Owen built this colonial home overlooking Owen Park in 1939. The current owners have preserved the best of the original detailing while opening up the floor plan for more contemporary living, complementing their modern art collection.
The Schilling family’s 1925 player piano has been restored and its music will greet strollers who will be warmed by this home’s six fireplaces.
Peter and Janet Copeland
132 Marston Ave.
The historic 1906 “James Barber Home” occupies an entire city block, and is now furnished almost exclusively with a collection of Stickley furniture representing more than a century of product lines — each stroll guest will receive a historical product catalogue.
While this tudor revival home has been on the tour in the past, additional floors will be open for Christmas strollers this year.
Dan and Deb Freund
920 South Farwell St.
Justice continues to be done in the 1885 Queen Anne Victorian home built by William Dean, later home to former city attorney and state Sen. Michael Griffin. The home currently houses the law offices of Dan Freund and Stella Pagonis.
Kevin and Emily Willems
475 Roosevelt Ave.
A colonial in Eau Claire’s Historic Third Ward, the John and Katherine Bonner home from 1950 to 2002 has been lovingly and creatively expanded and decorated by Emily and Kevin Willems to complement their busy and fun-filled family life. Explore the nooks and crannies of all four levels of their home.
Forage, Banbury Place
930 Galloway St.
There is a Latin term, “tabula rasa,” meaning “blank slate,” which is exactly what Forage is, except with a commercial kitchen and a culinary focus — it can be whatever you want it to be on any given day.
This afternoon Forage will be decorated for Christmas, and symphony guests will enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese tasting and can also sign up for a gift basket drawing. Enter Banbury Place, Building 13, via the green awning.
Christmas spirit abounds in this country home on sprawling acreage, with a must-see Christmas tree. Be transported by the artwork of modern American painters in the upstairs children’s rooms.
Due to a lack of parking space at the site, shuttles will be provided to and from the Ravelle home in Elk Mound by Cody Limousines.
Meet in the parking lot of Menards Conference Center, 5150 Old Mill Plaza, near the intersection of U.S. 312 and North Town Hall Road.
The last shuttle leaves at 4:30 p.m.
The Friends of the Symphony fundraises to support the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra.