China Grove homes spruced up for Christmas tours

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 21, 2011

By Shavonne Pottsand Joanie Morris
CHINA GROVE — In a surprising change this year, the 23rd annual Christmas Tour of Homes and Dinner in southern Rowan County will not include a progressive dinner with food at each home — dinner will be served at the China Grove Roller Mill.
Instead, guests will be able to enjoy the homes, with dinner in between the second and third homes.
The annual tour will be Saturday, Dec. 3, with tours at 4 and 6 p.m. Tickets are now on sale, but reservations are limited to the first 100 guests. The cost is $30 per person, which includes bus transportation.
After the dinner, guests will go to a home sure to be a favorite on the tour — the home of Bob and Terri Correll at 790 Lake Wright Road at the Warrior Golf Club.
Terri Correll has spent the last three weeks decorating her home, and plans to continue decorating until the tour on Dec. 3.
“A lot of (the decorating) is for the tour, but I also do decorate,” she said. Correll admitted that her normal decorations may not be quite as big as what guests will see this year.
One of the first things guests will see upon entering the Correll home is a towering, 12-foot-tall Christmas tree with a big red bow perched atop. A glance to the left will showcase one of Terri’s passionate hobbies — miniature dollhouse collecting. The hobby is one she indulges in through the year, but even those three homes are decorated for Christmas with wreaths on the windows and doors, and trees gracing the living rooms (other houses can be spied throughout the house).
To the right from the front foyer, guests will take in the dining room, tastefully decorated with reds and greens and golds. With bows and beads adorning the light fixture, and beautiful Christmas place settings on the table, guests will find ingenious touches like small glass balls in champagne glasses and swags over the windows inspirational in their own Christmas decorating.
In the living room, where the towering tree sits in front of the large picture windows, other small treats await guests. Terri’s friend, Laurel Eide of Goose Creek, S.C., visited her last week for three days to help Terri decorate. Her suggestions can be seen in decorated wreaths on most of the doors and even ribbon — what Terri calls “a simple idea” — tied around throw pillows and books to make them look like gifts.
The beautiful tree is certainly tall.
“My husband has to use his tallest ladder,” said Terri, laughing. “It’s one of those big ones that separates into sections.”
Every room in the home has decorations of some sort – there’s even a small tree in the weight room. Over the balcony, in an office area of the home, another tree can be seen.
In the kitchen, hand towels embroidered with “Merry Christmas Y’all” and a wreath decorated with a coffee cup add simple touches of Christmas, while in the master bedroom, a simple pillow that reads “Who needs Santa when you have Nana” is thrown on top of a beautiful Christmas blanket.
In all, there are four bedrooms, plus the master, a bonus room, weight room, living room, dining room, utility room, office, four full baths and two half baths all decorated for guests of the tour.
Walking through the home for the first time since decorations were added Sunday, event co-organizer Judy Haire was impressed.
“I think it’s beautiful,” she said, walking through the home. “It’s a very elegant house. … I know our guests will be oohing and ahhing, and this will give them plenty of ideas.”
It didn’t take much convincing for Bob to agree to let the home be on the tour.
“I just said I wanted to do it, and he said OK,” she said.
“As long as I didn’t have to do anything, I’m fine,” added Bob.
Terri offered a few early suggestions for people decorating this week, prior to attending the show.
“I think the wreaths on the doors are a good idea,” she said. “Swag and mantle pieces add (touches) too. … I think the bows add a lot. One bow and it’s simple.”
The tour bus leaves from the Roller Mill Museum, 305 M. Main St., China Grove. There will also be an opportunity to tour the mill, the beneficiary of this annual event. The money raised helps maintain the museum and the tour is one of the museum’s main fundraisers.
“Donations from individuals and businesses are very important in the operation of the mill,” said Haire. “We are fortunate to have a lot of public support. It’s extremely costly to keep the Roller Mill open as a museum.”
The tour began that first year with one bus and four homes on the tour and a different part of the meal was in each house, Haire said.
Haire co-organizes the event with Barbara Doby.
“Since that first year, we have ventured out into the county for homes, including farm houses and historical homes. We now use two buses and have two tours,” Haire said.
The evening will begin at the Roller Mill with punch, wine and cheese and time to tour the museum.
Attendees will visit two sites — an art display at First Baptist Church, 302 Patterson St., presented by artist Nancy Bell and the home of Kelly and Lee Withers, 900 Patterson St.
Bell has painted ceiling tiles in Sunday school classrooms depicting prophets of the Old Testament as well as biblical stories, including David and Goliath, Noah, Jonah and others. Bell has been an art teacher at Kannapolis Middle School for 25 years. She’s also done sketches of historical sites in China Grove for the Historical Society. Prints are available at the Roller Mill.
Christmas at the Withers’ is decorated in “Carolina” blue and silver with a collection of UNC santas and snowmen on display.
“Each family member has a tree showcasing their distinctive personality,” Haire said.
Family treasures include a piano, Grandmother Clock and dining room chandelier.
“A large back porch offers a place for family and friends to gather for fun and relaxation,” she said.
The Withers home was built in 2010.
The group will return to the Roller Mill for a seated dinner catered by Debbie Suggs. After dinner, the tour continues at three more homes: VonCanon, Correll and Deal.
“Each home is beautiful and distinctively different,” Haire said.
Marvin and Jane VonCanon, of 550 Lake Wright Road, live in a 2009 two-story, custom-built home.
“This very comfortable home is decorated in red, not only for Christmas but all year long and has a red kitchen and a red NC State garage,” Haire said.
A 12-foot Christmas tree is decorated with large ornaments in traditional red and gold colors, as well as ornaments collected from the family’s travels and some from their children. There is also an interesting milk bottle collection on display.
Eric and Sherilee Deal, of 350 Saw Road, own a 1900 Victorian farm house built by Jacob Deal.
The home was last renovated in 2005.
Seven generations have lived on the farm and six of those have lived in this historical house, Haire said.
The kitchen has the original wood floor and many other rooms have the original flooring.
The master bedroom furniture, handmade by Sherilee’s stepdad, was made from re-furbished barn wood. Antique furniture pieces are also found throughout the house.
Attendees will enjoy a country-themed Christmas tree.
An antique house adjacent to the home features a variety of old farm tools and equipment. The farm is known as Circle D Farm. The Deals raise Angus cattle.
Out of respect for the homeowner’s hardwood floors, visitors are asked to wear soft-soled shoes. No high heels, please.
The Roller Mill is on the National Register of Historical Sites and has been preserved by the Historical Society of South Rowan, Haire said.
The Historical Society purchased the mill in 1995 and has renovated it into an agricultural museum with antiques and displays, she added.
All three floors of the mill are available to tour. All floors contain the original equipment of the mill along with displays of antiques.
For more information about the event, contact Judy Haire at 704-425-5323 or email Make checks payable to the Historical Society of South Rowan. Checks can be mailed to the Historical Society of South Rowan, P.O. Box 473, China Grove, NC 28023. Tickets will be mailed to attendees.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.