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Western Pennsylvania house tours present ideas, surprises

| Friday, Nov. 19, 2010

Several towns and neighborhoods throughout the region will be throwing open their doors for holiday house tours in the next few weeks. It's a chance to get inside some interesting houses and check out holiday decorating ideas.

Allegheny West -- The 29th annual Allegheny West Victorian Christmas House Tour will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 11 in the historic North Side neighborhood. The guided tours will feature six restored Victorian homes and historic Calvary United Methodist Church at Allegheny and Beech avenues, where the tours begin. The tour will conclude at Jones Hall on the campus of the Community College of Allegheny County, where there will be a holiday shop. Tours depart every 12 minutes and cost $25. Reservations are required. Tours of the Toy Train Museum at 719 Brighton Ave. are available for an additional $10. Specialty tours include a wine tour starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 with a wine tasting at a private residence followed by the full guided tour, $75; along with brunch tours at 10 and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 11 and high tea tours at 3 and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11, with food preceding each tour, $50 each. Details: 412-323-8884 or www.alleghenywest.org/tours-events/christmas-tour .

Zelienople -- The Zelienople Historical Society will have its 18th annual Christmas Home Tour on Dec. 4. The self-guided driving tour will feature 10 houses in a variety of styles. Tickets, which cost $22, include the tour and a catered luncheon. Paid ticketholders will receive a map and details on the tour's starting point and luncheon location. Homes will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Tickets can be purchased at Passavant House, 243 S. Main St., Zelienople, or by mailing a check and self-addressed stamped envelope to the society at the same address. Paid reservations are required; no tickets will be available the day of the tour. Details: 724-452-9457.

Ligonier -- The auxiliary of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley will have its seventh annual Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 11. The tour, which begins at 10 a.m. with check-in at the museum, features four homes in Ligonier decorated for the holiday season. Holiday cookies, pastries and beverages will be provided at the museum, and cookie and craft books will be for sale. Tickets are $25, with a limit of 500 people. Details: 724-238-6015.

Mt. Pleasant -- The Braddock Trail Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, will have its annual Festival of Lights at the Samuel Warden Mansion, 200 S. Church St., Mt. Pleasant. The 124-year-old mansion will be decorated with approximately 35 Christmas trees, which will be available for purchase. The trees are decorated and donated by local businesses and individuals. The self-guided takes about 45 minutes. The festival will be from 1:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 27 and 28 and Dec. 3 and 4; 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2 and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 5. Admission: $4; free for children under 12. Details: call Rosalind Ashmun at 724-423-3275.

Youngwood -- Youngwood Area Revitalization and Development is sponsoring its second Holiday Home, Church & School Tour from 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 12. The tour in Westmoreland County will start at First Trinity United Church of Christ on 4th Street, where participants will receive a tour book with map. The tour includes three homes, three churches, one business and one school, Holy Cross School on 8th Street. The end of the tour will be at the Youngwood Community Center on 6th Street, where the Community Christmas Tree will be on display. Tickets can be purchased from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. the day of the tour for $15; advance tickets are $12. Details: call Pat Garris, 724-755-0319, or Mary Ann Klingensmith, 724-925-2480.

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