A reverence for the past and a vision for the future are combined in the 24th annual “Historic Apalachicola Home & Garden Tour.” A flurry of recent building activity in Apalachicola is reflected in the homes on this year's tour. From historic preservation and restoration to home renovation and new construction, this year's tour features outstanding examples of the building boom for your pleasure and inspiration. The gardens pay homage to the area's temperate climate and the horticultural and creative talents of the homeowners.

Chairperson, Ginger Madewell, announced today that plans are underway for the 24th Annual “Historic Apalachicola Home & Garden Tour” sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church. The tour is expected to attract hundreds of visitors to Apalachicola on Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7.

The featured house for the 2016 tour, “Villa Rosa” is the home of Michaelin and Dave Watts. Built by George and John Marshall for The Mohr family, circa 1895, this Queen Anne Victorian home graces the east end of historic Lafayette Park, commanding a view of the park and the bay. The Watts revived the name Villa Rosa, the name given in the 1920's by owner Anna Riscilli who operated a small cigar factory on the property. In the late 1930's Villa Rosa became the home of illustrator and author Alexander Key and wife Margaret. The house stood for years - dark, vacant, and overrun with vines - fueling stories of old-timers that the house was indeed haunted.

The Watts rose to the restoration challenge after purchasing it in early 2014. The house has been successfully transformed into a cheerful, sunny and welcoming home through the efforts of the Watts and the work of gifted local artisans. Through months of focused labor, the interior cypress walls and heart pine floors have been restored to their original glory. Filled with antique furnishings that primarily span the Victorian, Craftsman and Art Deco periods, the house speaks of its history as a "home through the ages."

Splendid window treatments of velvet, Scottish lace and embroidered silk complement the original large windows framing the views of the beautifully landscaped property. An antique antler chandelier in a cozy library evokes the feel of Teddy Roosevelt's library. The walls of Villa Rosa provide a perfect backdrop for the paintings and handwork of a great number of local and plein air artists and artisans as well as artists from Michaelin's family.

Evensong service at Trinity Episcopal Church, the traditional opening for the home tour, will be Friday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception to which all are invited. Homes will be open only on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pre-sale tickets will be available at $25 until the day of the event. On Saturday, May 2, ticket sales will begin at 9:30 a.m. at $30 per ticket. A gourmet lunch will be served at Benedict Hall on the grounds of Trinity Church from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during the tour. A silent auction, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be a part of Saturday’s festivities, as well.

Guests to Apalachicola can enhance their weekend experience by allowing time to visit the many historical buildings and churches, museums, inns and parks that mark this historic town as a truly original locale. We welcome you to join us for the weekend and come back again and again.

For more information or ticket sales please contact Trinity Episcopal Church at 653-9550 or the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce at 653-9419. Please visit the tour website at apalachicolahistorichometour.org