Fourth Ward Home Tour, which takes place the weekend of December 2nd, is a walkable, self-guided tour of private homes in Fourth Ward featuring a charming mix of grand Victorians, luxury condominiums and urban apartments decorated for the holidays.
There will be plenty of activities to compliment the tours including Community School of the Arts Chamber Ensemble, Northwest School of the Arts Choral Group and Charlotte Bronze handbell choir performing holiday music on the porches of neighborhood homes, free house and carriage rides throughout Fourth Ward and complimentary appetizers, beer and craft cocktails samples at participating center city restaurants including Rock Bottom Brewery, Mert’s Heart & Soul, Muddy River Distillery, The Asbury, Potts Chocolate, Doc Porter’s Distillery, Assorted Table and more. This year, some new activities include $1 Oysters from Sea Level Restaurant and a chance to view newly-opened Corkscrew at The Vue, where you will receive a complimentary light appetizer too. In addition, McColl Center for Art + Innovation will have special holiday surprises including the opportunity to view ADORN which is the center’s annual juried contemporary jewelry show and sale featuring unique wearable jewelry art from regional, national, and international artists and on Sunday only, attendees can tour The McNinch House restaurant and Victorian home which includes rooms rarely seen by the public.
Q& A with Beth Walker, Fourth Ward Home Tour Coordinator
Walker who has a background in event planning and marketing was asked to help with the Fourth Ward Home Tour many, many years ago and is the one person who provides continuity between the tour chairs and committee members. “I’ve had the great pleasure of working with the neighborhood and growing the tour into a much-loved Charlotte holiday tradition”. Here she answers a few questions about the upcoming home tour.
What is the mission of the tour?
We work very hard to create a memorable experience for our tour-goers, so that comes first. But the non-profit Friends of Fourth Ward neighborhood association is also very focused on continuing to preserve and promote the neighborhood, while also welcoming positive growth. The event is a fundraiser, and the money raised not only helps Fourth Ward fund social, safety, history and public art programs, but it also goes towards cultural and performing arts organizations, like the Charlotte Ballet, and to critical charities, like Joedance, which raises money for pediatric cancer research at the Levine Children’s hospital, and to local schools, public libraries, and programs working to end homelessness.
Who attends the tour?
Fourth Ward is one of the most diverse and inclusive neighborhoods in town, and the tour attendees reflect that. And the crowd has certainly gotten younger in the past few years, which I love, because it means that millennials care about our historic neighborhoods, and about meeting the local vendors who are working so hard to craft special food and beverage products. Since we open at 5 pm on Friday, we get lots of young people in groups, coming straight from work. Lots of couples come on Saturday night, and lots of women, empty nesters and out-of-towners come on Sunday. Then again, we seem to toss out the rules every year, so I’m always pleasantly surprised to see the demographics shift from night to night, and year to year. One thing they all seem to have in common is positive energy. They all seem so happy! I love working the ticket booth when I can, because greeting all these happy people is really fun, and their energy is contagious!
Tell us about the houses! Any with an interesting past?
We have an incredible variety of homes on tour this year, ranging from some of the oldest in the neighborhood, to more modern townhomes. The Sloane-Davidson House was built around 1820, and over its many years of renovations, owners have found amazing curiosities in its walls: an 1880 nickel; a newspaper obituary for Jefferson Davis; an antique lady’s high top boot and a smaller girl’s canvas slipper, both of which may have been placed in the walls for good luck. The home has undergone a glorious renovation by the new owners. Their kitchen is my dream kitchen! Another home, the Krouse Residence, (c. 1923), was originally located near Fourth Ward Park, but was moved to its current location in 1980 to preserve it; neighbors, with wine in hand, cheered its arrival as it made its 2:00 am trip down Graham Street, with a police escort! We also have three units from The Poplar on tour this year, which is rare. Constructed in 1929 in the Jacobean Revival style, this beautiful historic building was known as “the place to live” in Charlotte as the affluent 1920s came to an end. The units here are some of my favorite in the neighborhood – they have so much historic charm – and The Poplar is a reminder that historic buildings are worth saving.
What is one of the top reasons someone should attend the tour?
Well, obviously, the homes are beautiful, and beautifully decorated for the season! It’s a great way to kick off the holidays! Plus, the tour allows you to sample craft food & beverage, and also pop into a couple of incredible center city restaurants for complimentary small plates. And as many people have figured out, it’s a great date night!
What is your favorite part of the tour?
Personally, my favorite thing about the tour is that it’s such a well-rounded holiday experience that celebrates all the great things about living uptown. Strolling the brick-paved sidewalks, surrounded by historic homes with their holiday lights twinkling, hearing carolers and the clip-clop of horses ferrying tour-goers, all while sampling great local products and restaurants – it’s both festive and intimate, which is a unique combination. In the end, it reminds me of why I still love Charlotte, plus, it’s a great night on the town for the modest ticket price!
What can attendees look forward to by attending the home tour?
The tour is entirely walkable, so it’s a great way to explore one of Charlotte’s most historic and beautiful neighborhoods on foot, with a “hall pass” to tour the interiors of beautifully decorated private homes. If you enjoy interior design, or are curious about urban living, this is a great tour for you. Plus, the neighborhood is stunning during the holidays, so there’s serious eye-candy everywhere you look. And it’s all in this intimate, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, with skyline views as a backdrop. It’s hard to beat.
The tour is a holiday tradition for many and receives a fair amount of “out-of-towners” who visit Mecklenburg County, specifically Fourth Ward for the tour and have come from other states (Beth Walker says they have a group coming from Boston, Massachusetts through a word of mouth recommendation) and surrounding counties.
Want to go?
The tour takes place:
Friday, December 2nd from 5-9pm
Saturday, December 3rd from 5-9pm
Sunday, December 4th from 1-5pm
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.fofw.org or at the following retailers (up until Friday): Alexander Michael’s Restaurant & Tavern and Park Road Books. During the tour weekend, the ticket booth located at the corner of 9th & N. Poplar Streets will be the only location for ticket purchases. This is also where you must redeem tickets for tour guidebooks. Additional tour information and group rates can be found at: www.fofw.org.
All tour stops are within walking distance of one another. Limited free on-street parking is available throughout the neighborhood.