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Lewiston homes to open for holidays Tour also will include business district sites

Visitors to Lewiston can get a taste of the good life this weekend.

All it will cost is $20, more or less.

The community is opening several of its finest homes on the Niagara Escarpment, overlooking the Niagara Gorge, all part of a bustle of activity taking place to celebrate the Christmas holiday.

"Tour of Homes -- A View From the Hill," will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Sponsored by the Historical Association of Lewiston, it is offered in conjunction with the annual Lewiston Christmas Walk along Center Street, the main drag in the Village of Lewiston.

Jerry and Kim Williams recently renovated Magnolia Manor, their house on the escarpment at 551 Mountain View Drive.

They are one of three families in their neighborhood who will open their homes to the public for a tour that will include several sites in the nearby village business district.

Their house tour will include upstairs and downstairs, as well as their redecorated carriage house.

Jerry Williams once attended school on the property, where, in the early 1960s, Sacred Heart Villa was located. The Southern plantation-style house was built in 1926 by a railroad tycoon who also owned the Hotel Statler in Buffalo.

The spectacular views would have made concentration difficult for schoolchildren, but large French doors embrace the "heroic" view and are just perfect for a master bedroom of cream, brass and crystal.

The home also captures the past with a two-story brass and crystal chandelier that once hung in John's Flaming Hearth.

Paul LaMorticella, of PLM Interior Design, said the upstairs was designed around the chandelier and features a brass gentleman's quarters and a shower of cut onyx.

"Even the laundry room is spectacular," LaMorticella said.

Kim Williams said she also wanted a house they can live in.

"We don't want to live in a museum. We want somewhere you can put your feet up," she said.
A complimentary trolley will take visitors along the route with stops at the Barton Hill Hotel, the Frontier House and the Clarkson House Restaurant in the village, and to the homes on the escarpment.

The $20 self-guided tours, open to all, also includes the Rayner House at 531 Mountain View and White Gates at 431 Mountain View.

Also decorated and open will be the historic Frontier House and the Lewiston Museum.

Marshall Hall, a 1-inch scale miniature that was 15 years in the making, will be on display in the Barton Hill Hotel lobby.

Tour information is available by calling 754-4214 or at www.historiclewiston.org.

In the 40th annual Christmas Walk, sponsored by the Lower Niagara River Chamber of Commerce, shops and boutiques along Center Street will feature extended hours and holiday treats.

New this year is a 7-foot carved wine bar at 476 Center St., in front of Village Vineyard and Wine Tours, which features wine tastings and ice carving demonstrations.

Hartland Carriages will offer free horse drawn carriage rides, compliments of First Niagara Bank, leaving from the bank parking lot at North Fifth and Center streets.

An arts and crafts workshop for children will be held in the Red Brick School gym, North Fourth and Onondaga streets, and a variety of restaurants will offer soup tastings in the Hunt Real Estate parking lot at 479 Center St.

At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Santa will return to Academy Park by helicopter, under the sponsorship of Rainbow Air and the Brickyard BBQ and Pub.

A listing of all Christmas Walk events is available online at www.northofthefalls.com or by calling 754-9500.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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