Potomac Mansions Open to Public During House Tour
St. Francis Episcopal Church is hosting its 55th annual Potomac Country House Tour this weekend.
Some recognizable Potomac houses are opening their doors for guests this weekend as part of a fundraiser for St. Francis Episcopal Church.
The Potomac Country House Tour — now in its 55th year — allows ticket-holders two-day access into four astonishing houses in the area on Oct. 2 and 3 from noon until 5 p.m. both days.
"Each year, we ask homeowners with unusual and spectacular homes to open their homes to the public and that's not always an easy thing to do," said co-chair for the event, Carol Tutera. "We always find very generous and willing people who have beautiful homes that they let us use to help raise money."
In addition to the tours, the church will have boutiques in its main hall, displays from local vendors, treats served at a sweets café and gourmet lunch, Tutera said. The number of vendors has nearly doubled from last year and admission is free for the church activities, which will take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday.
This year, the tour will include three Potomac houses and one house in Bethesda. Ticket-holders can take their time viewing the Avenel Farm estate, the colonial mansion, the contemporary "jigsaw" house and the River Falls town home.
A ticket for the house tour costs $25 pre-sale and $30 the day of the tour. Ticket sales are going well so far because of a terrific response from patrons, friends and church members, Tutera said.
All of the proceeds from the event will go to more than 40 different outreach programs including the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, National Center for Children and Families, Mercy Health Clinic and The Ivymount School. In the past, the Potomac House Tour has raised between $50,000 and $60,000 and the church hopes to raise that much again, Tutera said.
"We are all our brothers keepers, and we are responsible to the community and the world at large," Tutera said. "Those who can help ought to help and that's what this event is about."
The women of St. Francis save some of the money to donate in case there is a need for disaster relief funds, Tutera said. If that money is not used by the end of the year it is donated to a local charity, she added.
The church is also hosting an online auction that will begin on Friday, Oct. 1 and will last until Sunday, Oct. 10. People can go on the church's website to bid on a number of items donated by the community.
Items up for bid this year in the online auction include tickets and field access at a Washington Nationals game, time at a vacation home in North Carolina, a Persian dinner for eight people, Discovery Channel DVDs and other gift certificates, Tutera said.
"Each year people open their hearts and their homes and that's an important part of making this a success," Tutera said.