House Tour History

The first Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties Homes for the Holidays House Tour was held on December 5, 1981, as part of the League's 50th Anniversary celebration. Our goal was to showcase beautiful homes in the Schenectady area decorated for the holiday season, while inspiring our membership - Actives, Sustainers and Provisionals alike - to work together and get to know each other better. These initial goals are still a great part of the Tour today.

Right from the beginning, rather than hold a walking tour of one particular area, as was generally the norm for a house tour, we wanted to include as much of Schenectady County as possible. It was decided to have homes from Niskayuna, Scotia, Glenville and the City represented.

The Tour was deemed such a great success that it has been voted on by the Active membership every two years since to be one of our major fundraisers. With so many months of preparation going into the event, it was decided in 1983 to hold the tour for two days.

Financially, the 1993 Tour was our most successful - ticket sales soared to 3,000 when one of our featured homes was Llenroc, the exquisite Lawrence estate built on the banks of the Mohawk River.

In 1995, the League decided to include small area businesses in the House Tour, bringing local florists in to decorate the homes. And, we grew even more in 1997 when, recognizing the increase in our membership from Saratoga County, we added several houses in Southern Saratoga and a church in Vischer Ferry to the homes we spotlighted in Schenectady and Niskayuna.

While the fashion show was eliminated years ago, the luncheon has remained part of our Tour, known as the Cinnamon Stick Tea Room. The Tea Room was held at various locations throughout the years, including some of the homes on the Tour, and most recently, at Cella Bistro. It is a popular feature of our event and seatings have always filled quickly. As our history indicates, the League welcomes the growth that comes with success. Our next House Tour will occur in 2015.

Thank you now, in years past and in years to come, for providing us with the success on which to build our event - and a better community.