Susan Dolan (left), was chair of the Potomac Country House Tour & Festival and Barbara Heywood, is president of Women of St. Francis.
Photos courtesy of Potomac Country House Tour & Festival
From a petting zoo to silent auctions to tours of some of the area’s most magnificent homes, there were activities for all ages at the 58th Annual Potomac Country House Tour & Festival last weekend.
The event is hosted by St. Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac, and organized by the Women of St. Francis. All proceeds from the tour and fesitval are distributed among St. Francis’ outreach partners, helping fund programs that address homelessness, hunger, children’s and women’s issues, and elder care.
“We had visitors from all over, including North Carolina, with many of them commenting on how they enjoyed the event, and how gratifying it is knowing that all proceeds go to such deserving charities.”
— Susan Dolan, chairwoman of the Potomac Country House Tour & Festival
“We had visitors from all over, including North Carolina, with many of them commenting on how they enjoyed the event, and how gratifying it is knowing that all proceeds go to such deserving charities,” said Susan Dolan, chairwoman of the Potomac Country House Tour & Festival.
The three-day event began with a preview party and a silent auction on the evening of Friday, Oct. 3. Saturday and Sunday were filled with merriment for children, including a large slide, pirate ship moon bounce, 35-foot Turbo Rush obstacle course, cotton candy and ice cream. There was also a Dr. Doolittle Petting Zoo with a baby llama, bunnies and teacup pigs.
A midday barbeque luncheon held at St. Francis both Saturday and Sunday included treats from Georgetown Cupcake and a wide variety of boutiques selling items that ran the gamut from stationary to pottery.
More than 1,200 visitors toured Norton Manor over two days, said Barbara Heywood, president of the Women of St. Francis. “The Women of St. Francis are absolutely thrilled with the results of House Tour weekend.”
Norton Manor, with 47,000 square feet of interior space including main, guest and tea houses set on nine acres, also features a 2,000-square-foot koi pond. The home takes inspiration from the White House, Capitol and Palace of Versailles.
Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman, owners of Norton Manor, said they were honored to open their home for the tour. “We wanted to extend our hand to help St. Francis Parish because of their engagement and support of charitable organizations, including Manna Food Center, Habitat for Humanity and Interfaith Works,” said Islam. “We firmly believe it’s a noble cause. We are always reminded and guided by the phrase, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ … We were so fortunate to be able to share and give back to our community.”
Another home on the tour was Re-imagined Williamsburg Colonial, which includes a cedar-shingled silo, a laser-cut compass in the entryway floor and three distinctive loft spaces accessed by individual spiral staircases.
Also on the tour were the Rowe House and a Potomac Contemporary.
The Wreath Love Carriage House was a late addition to the tour. Linda Hobbins, owner of Custom Wreaths of Potomac/Wreath Love, which is located on the home’s lower level, transformed two levels of her workshop into a Scottish holiday wonderland with windows, doors, mantles and tabletops. She also adorned the bedrooms with Christmas décor.
“Our tour, coupled with our boutiques, silent auction, luncheon and festival, generated record proceeds for our charities,” said Heywood. “We couldn’t be more pleased.”