Colts Neck house tour includes ‘Monticello’


COLTS NECK — A replica of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home that has been decorated for Christmas will be included on the 11th annual house tour to be presented by the Colts Neck Historical Preservation Committee.

The tour includes the Monticello house as well as historic and modern houses, a one-room schoolhouse and a local winery.

The Dec. 4 house tour, a rain or shine event, is a holiday house tour this year and is scheduled from 1-6 p.m. Volunteer guides will be on hand to explain the history and special architectural features at each house or site.

A self-guided map with directions to the homes and descriptions of the houses will be provided and serves as a ticket. The tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for seniors and students.

Tickets may be bought prior to the house tour during business hours at Colts Neck Realty, 30 Route 537 west, Colts Neck, and at the Mulberry Market, 73 Route 34 south (Colts Neck Shopping Center), Colts Neck.

On the day of the house tour, tickets will only be available at Mulberry Market. For additional information, call 732-462- 6888.

“This year’s house tour focuses on houses as they are decorated for the holidays,” said Jennifer Engel, the house tour chairwoman and a member of the preservation committee. “The houses, the schoolhouse and the winery will be decked out for the holiday season.”

Engel said proceeds from the house tours help to restore and maintain the Montrose School in Colts Neck. The Montrose School is a one-room, schoolhouse that was started in the late 1700s and was in use until 1922. The Montrose School is on the house tour.

“Landscaping around the schoolhouse and a program for children to have a minischool day at the schoolhouse are possible future plans,” said Engel. “It would be nice to have it open to the public on a regular basis, too.”

Colts Neck, she said, has more than 100 houses that date from 1865 or earlier.

“I am pleased to chair this event for the third year,” said Engel.

Tour participants will glimpse Christmas at Thomas Jefferson’s historic, neoclassical home, Monticello, by visiting a replica 21st century Monticello house owned by Patti and Ed Eastman. The home is 10 years old.

The Eastman house incorporates Jefferson’s architectural designs for Monticello, such as the dome room and the library, as well as its furnishings with reproductions of paintings and furniture.

“Our house is about 90 percent a replica of Monticello,” said Patti Eastman. “Both Ed and I love the designs and architecture Jefferson used at Monticello, so when we came to build our house, we built a 21st century Monticello house. I think Jefferson would approve the new technology.”

She said Thomas Jefferson himself (as portrayed by actor-historian Steven Edenbo) will be visiting her home during the house tour and will be available to answer questions about living in the historic Monticello that was started in 1769.

Four JG’s Orchards and Vineyards, owned by Janet and John Giunco, offers tour participants a historic house that was built in 1750 and a winery that was established in 1999. Visitors will have designated times for wine tasting of the vineyard’s award-winning wines and vineyard tours.

The historic Conover-Crine House, now known as Valhalla, is owned by Laura and Brian Sheehy and offers tour participants a view of a house that was built in the 1700s and is still undergoing renovations. Original materials were used wherever possible, such as period wood for the floors. A special feature is the ruby glass in the doors.

A new home on the house tour, owned by Sean and Wileeta McGee, will greet visitors with a Christmas room lavishly decorated for the holidays and a classic home theater as some of its features.