Arts & CultureBlogCulture Briefs

‘A Cloverhurst Christmas’ Promotes Preservation

Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

The Sewell Residence was on tour to benefit the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation.

Cloverhurst Avenue sparkled with holiday lights and beckoned with seductive swags of greenery on a recent Sunday evening. The Five Points street, known for its charming Craftsman style homes, was the site of the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation’s annual holiday gala. While only a few homes were on the tour, the whole neighborhood was dressed for the occasion.

“A Cloverhurst Christmas” opened the doors to four historic homes on Sunday, Dec. 6, all lushly decorated for the season. Luminaries lined the paths to each house, helping guests find their way in the crisp evening from the closed-off street to the parties within.

Attendees enjoyed appetizers and wines from Mama’s Boy, LRG Provisions, The National and other local restaurants and distributors at each house. Guests gathered around kitchen islands and made themselves at home on porches and verandas.


Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Volunteers Melanie and Daniel Epting manned the auction’s bar.

The Junior Ladies Garden Club and the Heritage Garden Club decked all of the homes with seasonal greenery. Maggie Hancock oversaw decorations for the residence of Carrie and Eric Sewell. The elegant brick house has a striking tower which serves as the main entrance, and Hancock increased the drama of entering the home by suspending shiny glass ornaments and smilax vines from the turret’s lit ceiling. 

Hancock recently returned to Athens. About the many events going on in the community, she said, “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come back. Athens is just so alive. It’s fun to see everybody so active and so involved here.” About the gala she added, “There is something so retro about this—so Norman Rockwell. Look at everyone walking around the neighborhood. It’s relaxed here.”

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Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Even the entry’s ceiling was decorated at the Sewell home.

At the home of Pat and Mike Waldrip, Dr. Thumpe played old standards on the 1953 Mason and Hamlin piano (“better than a Steinway,” he exclaimed) while guests enjoyed medjool dates stuffed with blue cheese, celery and almonds and Andouille pigs in a blanket by home.made.

A silent auction offered some unusual packages, including a golf cart tour of historic Cobbham led by local personality Gwen O’Looney and a private pizza making party at Independent Baking Co. Outside the auction tent, tables brimmed with platters of tea cookies and petit fours, hot apple cobbler, and cakes by Cecilia Villaveces for a sweet conclusion to the evening. 

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Photo Credit: Barbette Houser

Becky Reynolds and Charlotte Cartwright enjoyed the silent auction.

Proceeds from the event help the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation in their mission to develop community understanding of the value of historic buildings and neighborhood, including advocating for endangered historic properties and sites. To learn more about the organization, visit