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November 19, 2015

21st Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate Takes Visitors ‘To Grandfather's House’ at Bok Tower Gardens November 27 to January 3

LAKE WALES, Fla. – Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens is an annual celebration for all ages and one of the best times of year to visit the National Historic Landmark, located just outside the Central Florida city of Lake Wales. Events and festivities take place daily November 27 through January 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The ever-popular Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate is the highlight of Bok Tower Gardens’ season of holiday-themed events, but the Christmas fun doesn’t stop there. Visitors will enjoy poinsettia, bromeliad and amaryllis displays, live music on the 205-foot Singing Tower carillon, Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (Dec. 5), winter walking tours, and more.

Touring the 20-room, 1932 Mediterranean-style Pinewood Estate is like taking a step back in time for a glimpse of how families might have celebrated the holidays during a bygone era.

The mansion’s decorations change each Christmas, and no two years are ever the same. For the 2015 edition, it’s 1937 and Pinewood Estate owner C. Austin Buck has invited his daughters and granddaughters to spend a holiday vacation with him in Florida, yielding this year’s design theme, “To Grandfather’s House We Go!”

All the rooms are lovingly decorated by different sponsored designers and volunteers while the hallways, entrances and other spaces are adorned by The Amaryllis Club at Bok Tower Gardens who have handcrafted much of the décor. Each room design has a different focus, and each brings out that special feeling of being together with family at Christmastime.

Children are encouraged to tour the 1930s-style home and participate in a fun hunt for a family of Pinewood Christmas Squirrels who are hiding throughout the Estate. An activity actually enjoyed just as much by adult visitors!

“This year’s Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate is elegant, yet warm and cozy,” says Jennifer Beam, director of visitor services & programs. “We want our visitors to feel like they’re coming home to celebrate Christmas with Bok Tower Gardens.”

With as much work that goes into every detail of the décor, the Holiday Home Tour wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated help from dozens of people who began preparing several months in advance.

“The staff, volunteers and designers who make this event happen have worked tirelessly throughout the year to plan for a spectacular display,” Beam said. “A project of this size and scope is truly a team effort.”

Following is a breakdown of the Holiday Home Tour room themes, designers and sponsors:

  • Butler’s Pantry, Setting the Stage —Designed by the Bok Tower Gardens Volunteer Decorating Committee
  • Dining Room & Cigar Porch, Holiday Cheer & Merriment, —Sponsored by Wish Vintage Rentals, Designed by Lisa Malott
  • Mr. Buck’s Office, Oasis of Calm, —Sponsored by 1026 SoFlo Fine Art Gallery & Marketplace, Designed by Mary May Witte and Bill Hinson
  • The Loggia, The Heart of Christmas, —Sponsored by Nettle Creek, Designed by Candace Holladay, Courtney Marshall, Pat Weber, and Heather Wilson
  • Living Room & Porches, Holiday Tea, —Sponsored and Designed by The Amaryllis Club at Bok Tower Gardens
  • Mr. Buck’s Suite, A Gentleman's Retreat, —Designed by the Bok Tower Gardens Volunteer Decorating Committee
  • The History Room (Bedroom 2), Christmas Through the Years, —Courtesy of the Bok Tower Gardens Volunteer Decorating Committee; Décor by Shelba Powell
  • Bedroom 3, Ribbons & Pearls, —Sponsored by CenterState Bank of Lake Wales, Designed by CenterState Bank Staff
  • Bedroom 4, Christmas Elegance, —Sponsored by Carlton’s Flowers & Cornerstone Events, Designed by Emily Eckstein
  • Lucy’s Bedroom, Winter Vacation with Granddaddy, —Sponsored by the Lake Wales Museum & Cultural Center, Designed by Monica Drake-Pierce
  • Special thanks to The Amaryllis Club at Bok Tower Gardens —Sponsored and Designed the Entrance Gates, Exterior, Entry Hall, Round Room, Lower Hall, Upper Hall, Landing, Morning Room, Living Room and adjacent Porches

Inspired by the history and beauty of Pinewood Estate, members of The Amaryllis Club help raise funds to purchase new holiday decorations and are decorating the Living Room as part of this year’s Holiday Home Tour. A volunteer patron group, their mission is to promote and preserve the heritage and vintage style of this historic home, and to take on other special projects on behalf of the Gardens.

“The Amaryllis Club is so pleased to join other designers in celebrating the 21st annual Holiday Home Tour,” said Cindy Alexander, one of the club’s organizers. “Our members are excited to support the Gardens in a way that focuses on preparing a very special home for the holidays.”

Patti Bostick, lead designer for The Amaryllis Club’s decorating team, said the Club’s main intent was to not compromise the integrity of the house in their design of the Living Room, and to make sure they emphasize the home’s architecture, beauty and style.

“It’s an honor and a privilege for us to be decorating a room in this one-of-a-kind home,” Bostick said. “Our entire team has worked on this project since spring, and we’re excited that visitors will be able to experience how Mr. Buck and his family would have enjoyed a 1930’s Christmas together,” she said. “The house just speaks to you; you can feel its history. It’s an amazing place, and we all just love it.”

Visitors will enjoy the Pinewood Place Cart adjacent to the Estate for convenient snacks and drinks, open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through January 3, 2016. Following the Christmas season, Pinewood Estate will reopen January 16, 2016 with hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

In addition to the Holiday Home Tour, Bok Tower Gardens also presents its annual Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (OPO) as part of the Christmas celebration on Saturday, December 5 at 6 p.m. The OPO and Singing Tower carillon perform holiday classics together while visitors enjoy picnicking and festival-style seating on the Gardens’ Great Lawn.

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens is sponsored in part by Visit Central Florida, Winter Haven Honda, WEDU, WUSF, Hall Communications, and by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

Tickets to Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens, including the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, are available online at or by calling 863-734-1222.

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens Schedule of Events:

Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate – Hours & Admission Prices – Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 2016
The 21st Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, “To Grandfather’s House We Go!” is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is $20/adults; $9/children ages 5-12. Members: $7/adults; $6/children ages 5-12. All prices include general Gardens admission. Children under 5 free.

Christmas Carillon Concerts LIVE! – Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 2016
Geert D’hollander performs Christmas music from around the world at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday on the 60-bell Singing Tower carillon. Carillon fellow Margaret Pan performs live on the carillon every Monday through Wednesday throughout the holiday season. All 30-minute carillon concerts included with Gardens admission.

Winter Walking Tours – Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 2016
Gardens’ volunteers lead an hour-long winter walking tour, sharing information about the flora and fauna and guiding visitors through the Gardens from the Visitor Center to the Singing Tower. Tours are Mondays through Saturdays at 12 noon and 2 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. only. Included with Gardens admission.

1930s Holi-DAYS at Pinewood Estate – Dec. 1, 8, 15 & 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
See vintage Model A’s outside Pinewood Estate, meet historical characters from the 1930s, and catch a few surprise personalities from the past. Included with Gardens admission.

Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra – Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.
Enjoy the sounds of the season as the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Singing Tower carillon perform together in one of Central Florida’s favorite holiday concerts. Visitors are encouraged to prepare themed picnics and arrive early to participate in the instrument petting zoo beginning at 4:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $20/adults; $8/children ages 5-12. Day of tickets are $25/adult and $10/child ages 5-12. Children under 5 are free.

Holiday Happy Hour at Pinewood Estate – Dec. 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Join your friends for an early evening tour of Pinewood Estate and toast the season with a complimentary drink, light fare and holiday tunes. $15/person; ages 21 and older. Reservations requested at 863-734-1222.

Holiday Home Workshop "Boondoggles" – Dec. 12 at 1 p.m.
Local artist Catherine Price leads a workshop designing beautiful holiday décor using palm fronds to create “boondoggles.” Workshop is Sat., Dec. 12 from 1-4p.m. $15/person, supplies included. Reservations required at 863-734-1222.

Carillon & Chorale Concert plus Holiday Home Tour Open Late – Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Enjoy an hour-long carillon concert with a live choir under the stars. Pinewood Estate remains open late for a special nighttime tour complete with hot chocolate and cookies. Light dinner available at the Blue Palmetto Café before the concert for an additional fee. Last entry to Pinewood Estate is 9 p.m. Concert Only: $5/person; free for members. Concert & Home Tour: $13/person; $7/members.

Christmas Day at Bok Tower Gardens – Dec. 25
Celebrate Christmas Day with free Holiday Home Tours of Pinewood Estate and enjoy the sounds of the season with live carillon concerts at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Café, gift shop and Holiday Home Tour open 12 noon to 5 p.m. Free tours subject to availability on timed entry and first-come, first-served basis. Regular Gardens admission rates apply.

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Download printable PDF - Download 2014 Holiday Home Tour Photos (2015 Coming Soon!)


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