Thanksgiving in the Country House Tours

This past weekend seemed to be house tour weekend in the area. Princeton Historical Society had their annual tour and so do a little town called Sergeantsville. I found a listing in US-1 for "Thanksgiving in the Country," an annual house tour put on by a small Hunterdon County town to benefit the Cleft Palate Unit of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

To get to the small town, you drive along what seems to be endless farm fields and open space. Sergeantsville is like a little surprise along the edge of of New Jersey. It is actually the location of the last surviving covered bridge in the whole state on Lower Creek Rd. You could tell that the entire town was involved in this house tour, which was in its 34th year. School buses were lined along the side of the road to take visitors to their destinations. Lunch was offered in the church and the local Lion's Club was running a raffle for a Shop Rite gift card.

The entire tour ran from 9am to 5pm. We arrived around 2pm and only had time for 3 of the houses. The homes, mostly dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, have been restored by the new owners or renovated for new buyers. Luckily, 2 of the 3 houses we visited are for sale and can be viewed online at the realtor sites.

The first home we went to was called "Homestead" and was renovated in 2004 in a modern meets country style. The 2nd home was called "The James Dean House" which was restored by Conservation Development, LLC and is currently on the market for 1.9 million through N.T. Callaway. At this home, there were crafters in every room and free cookies and tea courtesy of local girl scout troupes. Perhaps the best room in the house was the master bath at the back of the house. Downstairs was an open space that could fit a small deli, but was designed for the kitchen. I was concerned that there were no kitchen appliances set up, but we were informed that the seller would put in a custom kitchen of the buyer's liking. Nice deal! The 3rd and final house on our leg of the tour was right along the Delaware River and in a neighborhood that actually served as a weekend retreat destination for residents of the Doylestown area. This house was called "Crooked Deck" and is also on the market through Lisa James Otto Realty for $635,000. I felt like we were transported up to VT with the quiet surroundings and the design of the home. Occupied by a man and his son, the decor of the home was very much like what a Stetson man would do. Very woodsy feel with leather furniture, exposed wood beams, pine wood floors, etc. The pictures lighten up the place more than it actually was. You could easily relax and forget about everything in this house. Unfortunately, the threat of flood is certainly a constant worry and will most likely be a hard selling feature of the place. But the fantasy is sure there.

Rob and I were inspired by the bus rides that we took the long way home down Rt 29 through Stockton and Lambertville. If you have the time and want a nice drive through the NJ country, wander through Delaware Township. Grab a 4-star dinner at the Sergeantsville Inn and search out some of these historical homes. It was a lovely way to spend Sunday and we'll be sure to go again next year.

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