By Collin Kelley

Four Intown neighbors will mark the season with annual holiday home tours that will not only offer a glimpse inside beautifully decorated interiors, but also a chance to taste food from local restaurants and shop for last minute gifts.

Virginia Highland Tour of Homes

The 16th annual Virginia Highland Tour of Homes, presented by the Virginia Highland Civic Association is Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec.12, from noon to 5 p.m. The years’s tour features seven distinctive homes in the neighborhood.

Over the past five years the tour has raised over $100,000. Last year’s proceeds helped begin the creation of Highland Park with newly purchased land. It will feature a bio-friendly open design, green spaces and a rain garden. Funds raised this year will also go towards this project, annual grants to local schools and other projects. Funds in the past have helped create the Cunard playground at John Howell Park, renovate Orme Park, and plant trees with TreesAtlanta.

This year’s tour includes a historic bungalow remodeled recently to include stunning bathrooms and kitchens and a new garage with an in-law suite added over it. Also included is an architect’s own home which is award winning and has been published in magazine’s five times, a historic church and a modern condo in the St. Charles – a classical revival building with magnificent architectural elements built in 1922.

New this year will be a “ask the experts” seminar held on both days. Stop by to meet an expert landscape designer, general contractor, and interior designer and get some great answers to puzzling design dilemmas in your own home or garden.

Food tasting from local restaurants will be held in each of the seven homes on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $ 30 the weekend of the tour. Tickets may be purchased online at

Decatur Holiday Candelight Tour of Homes

Decatur’s 28th annual Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes is Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. both days. The year’s tour features nine older homes in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur, which celebrates its centennial this year.

Also featured: the Clairemont Holiday Marketplace and Café at Clairemont Elementary as a Point of Interest.

The Tour of Homes will benefit two local nonprofits: The Mary Miller Decatur Youth Fund provides scholarships to low income youth for summer camp programs, and supplements the Animal Crackers after-school program. The Decatur Preservation Alliance connects the Decatur community through the preservation of historic structures and greenspaces.

Tickets for the Tour of Homes are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Advance tickets are available at The Seventeen Steps, The Seen Gallery, Bicycle South and Intown Ace Hardware.

For more information visit,

Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes

The Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year featuring homes built in the Victorian, Craftsman, Italianate and various other styles from the turn of the 20th century.  Also on the tour, and home to the Winter Wonderland Children’s Celebration, is St. Paul United Methodist Church.

As you tour the beautifully decorated homes, you’ll also encounter the sounds of the holidays thanks to carolers that roam the neighborhood on an old-fashioned hayride.

The tour provides funds to three of Grant Park’s community-enriching, non-profits: St. Paul United Methodist Church, the Grant Park Cooperative Preschool and the Grant Park Parent Network (GPPN). The tour begins in the sanctuary of St. Paul United Methodist Church, which also hosts the annual Winter Wonderland Children’s Celebration. The free event, which includes photos with Santa, will be Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. and is sponsored by GPPN.

The tour itself will be Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11 – 12, from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 the weekend of the tour and can be purchased by calling (404) 688-7501 or online at

Avondale Estates Christmas Tour of Homes

Trolleys are returning to Avondale Estates for the 18th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec. 12 from 3 to 8 p.m. Take the trolley to the Avondale Community Club, where you can purchase or pick up tickets while visiting the festive Holiday Market.

The homes featured this year include a bungalow built in the 1930s, two renovated 50s ranch-styled homes, and an additional ranch that was recently transformed into a Cotswold cottage. Two of Avondale’s newest homes will also be featured including a two-story Tudor and a Craftsman Bungalow. Several community groups will have their members at the homes to welcome visitors and answer questions.

Other points of interest on the tour include one of the newest additions to the Avondale community, The Museum School, a charter school that opened in the fall. Another is the Avondale Baptist Church with the sanctuary filled with its’ member nativities from around the world.  Tour participants can park and pick up one of the Tour Trolleys in the parking area between the church and the school

At the Holiday Market, shoppers can find a variety of works by local artists including jewelry, pottery, purses, bottle stoppers, soaps, lotions, leather items, jams and jellies, baked goods, pecans, grits bits, and cured meats. The holiday café will serve delicious soup and desserts.

Tickets for the tour may be purchased for $12 in advance at Avondale Antiques, Avondale City Hall, Finders Keepers Furniture, REAL Salon and Seventeen Steps or for $15 on the day of the tour at the Avondale Community Club.

For more information, visit

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.