Old house tours: spring is the season

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses

Finally …the first day of spring is just around the corner. March 20 might not have much significance for those lucky enough to enjoy warm temperatures all year long. But if you're in a region where winter means single digit mornings and being alert for blizzard warnings, the date may be circled on your calendar. That's the day when your snow shovel might no longer be the most used tool in your garage -- at least for a while.

Regardless of where you happen to reside, spring can also be a special time if you're an old house enthusiast. It means the annual spring old house tour and festival season is about to kick off.

Spring is the season for old house tours

What projects do you have planned for your old house this spring and summer? Have you spent a good portion of the winter pouring over magazines and websites in search of ideas? While those can be great resources, nothing beats viewing the real thing. Spring house tours are a great opportunity to see what other enthusiasts have done with their historic treasures. Here are a few to put on your schedule:

  • Charleston's 66th Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens -- There may not be a better example of southern architecture down through the years than what can be seen in Charleston, S.C.'s historic neighborhoods. The city has been a national leader in preserving its old homes and buildings. The festival runs from March 21 through April 20 and features a tour of seven to ten properties every day.
  • The South Park Old House Fair in San Diego -- South Park is one of San Diego's most historic neighborhoods and on June 15, the neighborhood's old southwestern architecture will be on display. The fair only lasts one day, but includes a trolley tour that allows you to view the interiors and exteriors of numerous old homes and stroll through their beautiful gardens.
  • Dubuque Annual Tour of Homes -- While Dubuque, Iowa, may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about old houses, their annual tour of historic properties is in its 27th year. This year's event takes place on May 18 and 19 and will concentrate on old homes in the Millwork District.
  • Cape May Spring Festival -- This festival that runs from April 26 through May 5 in Cape May, N.J. has a little something for everyone, but old house enthusiasts should particularly enjoy the private home tour on April 27 and May 4. The event allows you to view the interiors of a selection of the historic town's cottages.

These are just a few of the old house tours and festivals on tap for spring 2013. Check with your local historical or preservation society for other events that may be taking place in your area.