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House Tour de Force

Hundreds visit local homes featured on St. Francis Episcopal Church’s 51st annual house tour.

This weekend, the 51st annual Potomac Country House Tour drew hundreds of visitors. The tour, which benefits the outreach programs of St. Francis Episcopal Church, gives supporters the opportunity to get a peek at the interiors of some of Potomac’s oldest, newest or most intriguing houses, plus a chance to shop at the church’s bazaar, held in St. Francis Hall.

This year, the homes ranged from the remodeled, the Stouffer home, a 1950s set amid acres of woods; to the stately, the Dobson/Thaker home; to a Georgian with Antebellum columns, the Gingery home; and a Colonial Revival style built in 1940, the Peay home.

The bazaar, a favorite of church members and locals, featured box lunches from Flaps, a dessert bar filled with sweets baked by more than 60 members of the church and of course, the specialty boutiques. The booths featured items that were imported, painted, strung, sewn, planted and fired in a kiln. Most were hand-made by artists who were there to talk about their work. All were enticing; with 25 percent of sales going to St. Francis’ outreach programs.

According to Billy Shand, rector of St. Francis, the house tour both supports charities and brings church members together to work and get to know each other. "It is another way to learn that this is a home besides just being a church," he said.