Lighthouse Now: Homes for the holidays

By December 18, 2016The Holidays

There’s no better time than the holidays to gather with family, share seasonal snacks and cozy up in a warm house. But communities across the South Shore know the formula works even in the house of someone you don’t know.

Since 2006, Bridgewater area homeowners have been opening their doors to visitors for a good cause in the South Shore Regional Hospital Auxiliary’s Christmas House Tour.

Proceeds from the biennial event, along with funds raised from other auxiliary efforts such as The Daisy and the Hospital Gift Shop, have helped the group bring $1.9 million in equipment to the hospital since 2008.

This year’s tour will be the first for Glen and Marilyn Hebb, owners of Indian Garden Farms in Hebbville. The couple is the fifth generation of the family to live in the farmhouse, its construction dating back to 1865. Their home will be one of six open to visitors on December 9 and 10.

Each house will be decorated for the season, with the homeowners on hand to answer questions and, often, offer snacks. Auxiliary member Joy Bird says she’s constantly amazed at the lengths participants go in turning their properties into a “fairy land.”

With so much history at their disposal, Marilyn is decorating her house using the Hebb family’s past as inspiration.

A few antique musical instruments will be on display, including William Hebb’s trumpet, which he played in the Bridgewater Fire Department Band. Elsewhere will be pieces of unique furniture designed by Glen’s great uncle, Howard Hebb.

“We have an inlay table—Glen calls it the magic table, because you open one side and there’s a book in it, and from whatever direction you open [the other drawers], the book is there,” said Marilyn.

Some of Howard’s furniture is now in the DesBrisay Museum. His work ranges from intricately designed to downright bizarre.

“We have a chair made out of horns,” she laughed. “It’s not my favourite piece.”

Bird says the tours aren’t the biggest fundraiser of the year in terms of numbers, but play an important role in helping the group meet new people, and even bring in new members.

Over the years, she says the homeowners have run with the concept, which has been an important part in making it grow.

“It’s wonderful when people will do all that work, because no one is hired to do it for them. This is the work of the homeowners … They go to considerable time and expense, I’m sure,” said Bird. “I think when [visitors] first enter the front door, they probably stand back in awe, because it’s just such a beautiful scene in front of them.”

For the Hebbs, the tour is a chance to help a good cause and share a bit of history along the way. When a property has been passed down through a family long enough, it comes with a certain obligation to stay true to its past.

“I kind of figure that if Glen’s mom was still alive, it would have been something she would have done,” said Marilyn. “She was more into baking and all kinds of social things, more so than I am … so I’m doing it with her kind of watching me.”


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