Following is my preview of the Octagon House Christmas Tree Walk in Shirley, Indiana from the New Castle Courier-Times. I'll be there signing books from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. My gratitude to organizers for the invitation.
SHIRLEY — From around 25 fully decorated Christmas trees in a variety of themes to steaming-hot homemade meals (and homemade desserts) enjoyed around farmhouse tables throughout an antique-filled setting, the Octagon House is ready to entertain the public during two upcoming weekends.
The unique home, located at 400 South Railroad St., Shirley, is open 4-8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 and Dec. 7-8. The actual walk is free but donations welcome to support upkeep of the historic building.
Homemade meals are served both weekends for $10 a person, and there’s a discount for children’s meals. During the first weekend, the menu includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, homemade dessert and beverages. For the second weekend, served will be homemade vegetable soup or chili, a sandwich, dessert and beverage.
Board member Cheryl Wright said that generally around 180 people per weekend show up for the walk. “We want it to have a farmhouse feel,” she says of the two weekends. She encourages folks to sit down, eat their meals, relax and tour the trees. The board hopes the evening puts guests into the Christmas spirit.
She suggests that folks even consider gifting the evening out as a Christmas present – giving folks “a memory that they will remember.”
The home is fully furnished in antiques and is beautifully maintained. It is also available to rent out and anyone wanting information about cost and requirements may call board members Cheryl Wright at 765-737-6856, Virginia Harrell at 765-738-6736 or Dennis Westrich at 765-738-6415.
Wright says the most unusual tree this year is called “I’m a beautician, not a magician!, created by Step Ahead Family Hair Care Stylist and Owner Katrina Sturgill-Inman of Greenfield.
A variety of tree sponsors include families, businesses and even memoriums to loved ones.
The front door of the home is sponsored by the Door Store in Shirley. The entrance parlor contains a recently acquired chandelier – with eight arms – found in Nest in New Castle.
There is a massive snowman-themed tree from one woman’s lifetime collection. Cheryl and John Wright sponsor some trees upstairs in an elegant Victorian-hued bedroom. On the bed is a donated vintage mourning cape and some 1895 local historical correspondence about the Shirley-Wilkinson Railroad that was found in the old Wilkinson depot by Roger Roy and donated by Roger and Gary Roy.
Another bedroom is now also fully furnished and decorated, sponsored by the White family. Other themes include Happy New Year and an upstairs music room.
About the walk, Wright says, “Everybody seems to really enjoy it.”
One of the many specially-themed trees.
Vintage mourning cape on display in a lavishly adorned upstairs bedroom.