Fortuna Garden Club to host 'Christmas in Candyland'; annual Tour and Tea shows off festive homes

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

The Fortuna Garden Club's 43rd Annual Christmas Home Tour and Tea is just around the corner and this year the theme is "Christmas in Candyland." The Club will tempt all with their themed tea at the Fortuna Monday Club located at 610 Main St. in Fortuna.

The Christmas Home Tour will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 1-9 p.m. Guest will travel to three area homes and the historic Scotia Inn.

As many will recall the Garden Club reached out to local youth at Fortuna Union High School to create this year's event poster. Cate Abshire took first place for a $100 cash prize. The poster Abshire created can be seen displayed and promoting the upcoming event throughout the area.

Tickets for the "Christmas Home Tour and Tea" are $15 each or two for $25. Children under five are free. Proceeds for this event support civic beautification projects, youth gardening programs, and scholarships.

Tickets may be purchased at the Fortuna Monday Club the day of the tea, or any of the homes on tour. Advance tickets may also be purchased at Fortuna Green's Pharmacy and Fortuna Feed and Garden.

Those attending the event can visit the four locations in any order they prefer including stopping by the Monday Club for tea.

On the tour is Dennis and Sherry Hazelton's home located at 15 Pinecrest Drive in Fortuna. The home is part of the Redwood Empire Country Club Estates and was developed by Architects Lester Cohen and Alan Wood Fraser. The home was originally built in 1994 for Reverend Ralph and Mrs. Jane Bower.

The Hazeltons have experienced many travels throughout their time together and their home displays many collections and mementos from those travels.

When the Hazeltons were looking for a home they knew they wanted a yard to grow veggies, have chickens and trees, but still keeping some seclusion. Beginning with raised beds they built a Riga Greenhouse in 2009 where they grow several heirloom varietals that bear fruit through January.

"We planted some pear and cherry trees and moved a tree we thought was a lemon tree away from the side of the house. We wanted to give it some room to grown. Dennis was sure it would not grow. Well, it turns out three years later it is flourishing and it is actually a lime tree," Sherry Hazelton said.

"Because of our love for our chickens, over time, friends have given us many chicken items which are displayed around the house. This is hence the chicken motif for Christmas," she said.

Guests will see a big iron rooster in the side yard leading to the chicken coop and a smaller version that guards the deck and most of the time keeps the chickens off of it. You will also find a tree on the deck with a chicken head as a tree topper.

Just across the street is the Daneri residence located at 11 Pinecrest Drive. The gated home of the Daneris is surrounded by brick paths and festive lights. The yard is made up of primarily a conifer and rhododendron collection.

As you walk in the front door you are invited by a beautifully decorated tree encompassed by a train which originally appeared in 1922.

"In 1922, a new Lionel train appeared under the family Christmas tree at the Daneri house in San Francisco," Dee Daneri said. "In 1978 it made its way to the Daneri home located in the oldest house in the Mattole Valley of Humboldt County. We had just finished restoring the house built in 1874."

In 1990 the train and the Daneris found their way to their new home on Pinecrest where the train is currently celebrating its 91st Christmas.

"The dining room has been prepared in anticipation of holiday entertaining. Usually my grandmother's quilt is displayed on the dining room table, but is currently in the guest bedroom displayed on the bed," Daneri said. The quilt was lovingly made by Dee Daneri's great grandmother, Kate Powell Blount, in 1862 while she was traveling west on a stagecoach.

While visiting the Daneri home, stroll through the spacious yard and enjoy the warmth of the sun room filled with holiday cheer. The house is sprinkled with family and travel memorabilia.

After you have enjoyed your time in the friendly city make your way up the highway to the historic town of Scotia where you will find the home of Rick and Trudi Walsh located at 130 Main St. The Walsh home has historically been known as the "Director's Cottage" throughout the timber years.

Trudi Walsh said, "Rick and I live in Scotia in one of the company owned homes fondly referred to as The Director's Cottage. It is a very roomy house that provides me plenty of space to decorate with many different themes from the traditional to the unusual stemming from my upbringing in the Middle East."

Trudi does not take all the credit for decorating for the holidays saying, "Rick adds his creative touch to the multitude of lights and décor he strategically places on and around the outside of the house."

The Walshes see what they do as a work in progress that continues to expand and change. "There is no better gift than to see the smiles on my grandchildren's faces when they first see the lights on the house and the many different themed trees inside. The room with the camel tree is what my older grandchildren call grandma's camel room and the tree of camels."

Trudi Walsh reflects on Scotia and the community saying, "We are fortunate not only to share what we like to do with our family but with our community as well. Scotia is a town that likes to dress up for the holidays. It is a unique town, rich in history, that we have been happy to be a part."

The fourth destination may not be a home, but it feels like home to the Town of Scotia. The Scotia Inn will open its doors located at 100 Main Street to the Home Tour. Visitors will see two historic rooms, the spacious lobby and its at least 17 foot tree, the wood-covered dining room with its festive décor, and for those who would like a beverage or bite to eat the pub will be open for business down stairs.

In 1869 Forestville was founded, but it was not until the 1940s that it became known as Scotia. Originally it consisted of a small logging operation and in 1883 the land was chosen as the site for the mill and houses. The first Inn was constructed in 1888, but was burned down in the early 1900s. In 1923 the first unit of the Mowatoc Hotel was constructed and later changed to the Scotia Inn in the 1940s.

A second unit of the Inn was completed providing additional rooms for company workers, guests and tourists. The Mowatoc and the diamond architectural motif relates back to the local Modoc Indians.

When you take a break or wrap up your tour be sure to stop by the Monday Club and enjoy the holiday festivities provided by your ticket for the Christmas Holiday Home Tour & Tea.

Colorful candy confections, gumdrops, garlands and giant lollipops, will be on display throughout the Monday Club. A playhouse-size Gingerbread House and a candy decorated evergreen tree will grace the Club's stage.

Club hostesses will serve up the real deal for ticket holders. They will receive a delightful assortment of homemade holiday cookies, candy and scones as well as hot cider, coffee and tea.

There will also be opportunities to purchase tickets to win wonderful prizes donated by the community, club members, and local merchants.

For additional information, contact Bev Ward at 725-6757 or Linda Cook at 682-6006.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

In a quiet little room off of the family room sits a highly camel decorated themed Christmas room. Mrs. Walsh is from Saudi Arabia and has been given camel items by loved ones and friends over the years.