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Christmas at the Wesley House

Friday, December 1, 2023   /   by Richard Eimers

Christmas at the Wesley House

The year 2024 marks Walton County’s bicentennial, and one fine way to commemorate this is with a visit to the Christmas celebration at the stately Wesley House in Eden Gardens State Park.  This annual event has become a welcome herald of both the holiday season and Walton County’s rich history.  While the end of the year is a hectic time for many, this holiday celebration offers the opportunity to experience a treasured part of our community’s past and present.

Wesley House’s legacy is long. Initially built as a Victorian-style home in 1897, it was later converted to Antebellum.  It was the home of the Wesley Family, including nine children, and their business was lumber.  There were three mills located in the Tucker Bayou which adjoins the park.  Mrs. Wesley was the last of the family to occupy the house, dying in 1953.  Over the next ten years, the house fell into ruin. Neighborhood children would play in the rooms, and even goats took up residence!

Christmas Candlelight

In 1963, Ms. Lois Maxon bought the house, having “found her Eden.”  She paid $12,500 for 10.5 acres and then proceeded to change the house to an Antebellum style,  furnishing the rooms with valuable antiques, and spending over a million dollars on the restoration.  Ms. Maxon did not get to live in her Eden for long due to poor health, but was generous enough to leave the house and grounds to the State of Florida.  That transfer took place on Christmas Eve, 1968.   We hope she would approve of our efforts to commemorate this most extraordinary gift by coming together as a community each year around the holiday to celebrate.

If you have not taken the opportunity to enjoy this tradition, please consider doing so this year.  The Wesley House will be decorated and ready for guided tours by November 16, 2023.  These tours are available Thursday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on an hourly basis.  The public is invited to enjoy the themed rooms throughout the house, with the theme this year being “A Victorian Christmas.” In addition to The Friends of Eden, who spend months planning this event,  many other invaluable volunteers contribute including Coastal Seniors of South Walton,  Daughters of the American Revolution West Florida Chapter, Green Thumb Garden Club, Historic Point Washington Association, Ladies of Impact 100, RMA Consulting and Design, Seaside Kids, Seaside, The Garden Club, South Walton High School, and The Friends of Eden.

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The House will remain decorated until January 9, 2024.  Visitors are invited to vote on their favorite room.  The competition among the decorators is quite real!  Of course, the month wouldn’t be complete without the evening of Luminaries, scheduled this year for December 9  from 5 to 8 p.m. with a rain date for December 16.

The Park area will be illuminated with candles, the House open, and the decorated trees lit for the event.  The Friends of Eden will provide light refreshments in the Pavilion; all are invited to attend.  A shuttle will be offered for transportation into the Park on that evening, and there is no entrance fee.  Consider making this a part of your holiday tradition, whether you are a resident or a visitor.  It will be memorable.

Source: SoWal

  beach road realty, richard eimers, eimers group

Beach Road Realty
Richard Eimers
17 Roundwood Drive
Inlet Beach, FL
Beach Road Realty

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