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Clermont homes, businesses open to guests for inaugural tour
As visitors enter through the large, wooden double doors of Emily Pursley’s home off Holly Springs Road in Clermont, they will immediately see the 12-foot fake evergreen Christmas tree in the middle of the living room. - photo by J.K. Devine

Clermont Town and Country Tour
What: Self-guided tour of homes, historic sites, caroling, horse and buggy ride, historic tales, live Nativity and a light, warm dinner and dessert served by The Clermont Venue. Businesses involved are Weaver’s Cut and Trim, Heritage Antiques and Restoration, an iron axe smith, Mountain Fresh Creamery and various bakers.
When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
How much: $20 in advance or $25 at the door for adults; $15 for students; and free for children 5 and younger.
More info: Clermont Town Hall, 109 King St., Clermont; or 770-983-7568

The Christmas season is in full swing on Holly Springs Road in Clermont.

A 12-foot-tall Christmas tree stands in the living room. Place mats featuring Santa, a reindeer, a snowman and a gingerbread man decorate the kitchen island. Four-year-old Blakely Pursley even has a Christmas tree about her height in her bedroom.

These are only a few of the elements visitors to the newly built home of Emily and Levi Pursley will see when the family of three invites neighbors into their house during the inaugural Clermont Town and Country Tour.

The self-guided tour features stops at five homes — including the Pursleys — and businesses decorated for the season. Tours will run from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in Clermont.

The Pursleys decided to participate in the tour, despite being relatively new to Clermont. They only moved into their home at the end of October. And the house still has the new home smell, which is from the finish of the hardwood floors.

However, Emily’s parents have lived in the community for years. In fact, their Holly Springs Road home is built on land the family has owned since the 1930s. Emily’s great-grandfather purchased the property, and her grandparents lived in another home at the location for years.

“I loved the community,” Emily Pursley said. “And we just were excited to hear about it (the tour) and thought it would be a good opportunity just to get more involved in the community.”

Weeks prior to the tour, Pursley began decorating the house. She tried to keep an old-fashioned, farmhouse theme throughout the ranch even though it looks and smells brand new.

To keep with the theme, Pursley used burlap and traditional greenery for decorations.

“I had several antique pieces in my house that were either my grandparents’ or great-grandparents’,” she said, pointing to an antique bed and dresser with a mirror in the guest bedroom.

Pursley is not the only one decorating her house for the tour. Robin Brown will open her home to guests.

Brown’s home is the opposite of the Pursleys. It was built in 1913 and stayed in the Payne family until Brown bought it in 2013.

Brown, a tour organizer and Clermont City Council member, said the tour’s purpose is to provide fellowship among neighbors and showcase area homes and businesses, as well as hear the stories surrounding them.

Each home on the tour will be decorated for Christmas. Local women made fresh greenery displays for the front doors.

Captains will be on hand at each stop to give a history of each location and home.

“It’s just a festive time for fellowship with each one of your neighbors and surrounding neighbors,” Brown said. “I think it’s something that will be wonderful for the town. Something I’ve wanted for a long time.”

The tour begins at The Clermont Venue historic hotel at 101 Dean St. in Clermont, Brown said. Guests must check in to receive their brochure and maps.

Tickets for adults are $20 in advance or $25 on the day of the tour. They are $15 for students and free for children 5 and younger.

Tickets include a light dinner — provided by The Clermont Venue — coffee and warm drinks and a horse and buggy ride down Main Street. They can be purchased at Clermont town hall or by calling 770-983-7568.