By Allison Peters

With snow frosting the ground and the holiday season chiming with cheer, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Cadillac! This time of year, decorating with fresh winter greenery and seasonal décor items is a wonderful way to brighten up both the interior and exterior of your home for holidays, making it merry and festive for hosting friends and family.

One fun way to kick off celebrating the Christmas season here in Cadillac is with a local tradition showcasing beautiful homes in our areaand highlighting the creative local people who decorate and design them for the holidays. Sponsored by the Cadillac Garden Club, the Holiday Home Tour will be open to the public from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, December 1. Now in its 18th year, this special event is a favorite of the Cadillac community.

“This is our first holiday home tour,” said homeowner Susan Martz. She and her husband Larrywho, together, also own Oak Heirlooms, a local furniture business and Amish-made furniture retailer—built their dream home in Cadillac last year.

“I have lived in Cadillac my whole life, and I cannot imagine living anywhere else,” Susan said. “I love the hometown small town feel of Cadillac.”

At this Holiday Home Tour event, a favorite of the Cadillac community, four area homes open their doors to the public for a look inside the beautifully decorated spaces for the holidays. Visitors are welcome to “enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the season” with free refreshments provided. Seeing the flowers, decorations, and community connection will warm your hearteven if the Northern Michigan weather outside is frightful. These homes are so delightful!

“It is exciting to show our personal flair,” said Susan. “There are many unusual touches in our homewhich, incidentally, is a pole barn.”

She and Larry recently built their beautiful new pole barn house in the North Cadillac area from the ground up. Construction on the new home began July 31, 2017, “a beautiful sunny perfect day” as Sue describes it. “The thing that we love the most,” Sue revealed about the home, “is that this is built on my grandparents’ homestead. My father was raised there, my parents built their home there, and my mother still lives on the same 35 acres.”

What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than to join in the celebration with a location tradition honoring spectacular homes in the Cadillac area. The Holiday Home Tour explores each of four local homes decorated for the holidays by their wonderful homeowners and by the talented members of the Garden Club.

“I will be as excited as anyone to see the creations they bring into our home,” Susan said, “but the most special one is an oversized wreath made from grapevine from our previous home.” For many, Christmas decorations hold a sense of nostalgia, and with each holiday season we’re reminded of what makes us grateful as we reminisce on good times shared with loved ones.

“I love that my husband and I share the same vision for our new home,” said Susan. She and Larry are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in their new homes alongside the company of their family and friends. “Because of the enthusiasm of the Garden Club, I am thoroughly enjoying the holidays this year!” she said.

Cadillac Garden Club member and Holiday Home Tour coordinator Vickie Essenmacher is excited for this year’s home tour and looking forward to sharing the Garden Club’s work with the public. “Our Club loves that we can provide such a special Holiday Tradition to the Cadillac Area and beyond,” said Vickie. “We have return guests coming from all areas of the state.”

In addition to studying flower design, gardening, and landscaping, the objective of the Cadillac Garden Club is to “encourage beautification through gardening in our community and promote conservation of our natural resources.”

“Our Garden Club members outdo themselves every year with this Holiday Home Tour,” Vickie said. “You would think after doing 72 homes we would run out of ideas, but the creative minds of these ladies continue to produce new and fun ideas. You never know what you will find!”

The home of Donna and Steve Willis is also being decked out for the holidays this snowy season with help from the Cadillac Garden Club’s dedicated volunteers. Other homes on the tour route this year include feature two located on Holly Road, including Joe Baumann’s house and the home of Mark Wycoff and Leslie Hoover.

“Thank you to all who support Cadillac Garden Club through this event,” Vickie added. “The money earned is spent on creating and maintaining the Sound Garden, Cadillac’s Public Garden located to the east of the Cadillac Junior High School.”

So don your gay apparel (maybe an ugly Christmas sweater), put your holiday music playlist on shuffle, and get your tickets now for the 18th Annual Holiday Home Tour in Cadillac coming up Saturday, December 1. Tickets (with maps on them) are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the tour and can be purchased in person at Brinks Art and Framing (located at 112 S. Mitchell St. in Cadillac), by calling 231-510-9047, or online at

Photos from previous years of the Holiday Home Tour courtesy of Vickie Essenmacher of the Cadillac Garden Club.

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