Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On November 10th I had the wonderful pleasure of touring the beautiful Hower House located on the grounds of the University of Akron. This 28 room Victorian mansion in all its grandeur was decorated in a “Winter Wonderland” theme by many loving volunteers and friends of the home.

Built by John Henry Hower (an Akron Industrialist) and completed in 1871, this beautiful Second Empire Italianate style home became a National treasure in 1973. As you begin your tour , you realize you have entered a grand home the minute you step into the entry hall and look up to see the beautiful stairway winding it’s way up three stories to the ballroom. As described on their website the floor plan of the home is in an “Akron Sunday School Plan” design for you architects out there. I just call it beautiful.

Each room has been decorated in a Winter Wonderland theme. One of my favorite decorated rooms was the Master Suite located on the second floor. Draped across the bed is a beautiful red “Santa” robe and a tea tray surely brought up by the maids for an evening cup of tea. The adjoining bath has a wonderful bubble bath waiting and the mantel has been decorated for the holiday, making sure all the stockings are hung by the "chimney with care". I would have no problem closing myself up in the library for an afternoon of solace.

Sylvia Johnson, Director and Linda Bussey, Assistant Director of the mansion, are both wonderful hosts. Their knowledge and love of the home is shared with all their guests. During my visit they explained about the history of the home and the family who built this magnificent mansion and how Jacob Henry Howard played such a role in our NE Ohio history.

The Hower House Holiday Tour hours are Wednesday, November 11, through Sunday, December 27. Guided Tours: Weds. Through Sat., noon to 3:30 pm Last tour one-half hour before closing. ** Special Sundays of the Season: Self-guided tours 1 – 4 pm Nov. 15, 22 & 29, Dec. 6, 13, 22, 29. $1.00 off each admission level Children 12 and under admitted free. Admission for guided tours:Admission for guided tours:$6.00 adults, $5.00 seniors (65), $2.00 students of any age Children 6 and under admitted free.

Keeping with the “Italianate” style, I would suggest after your tour you stop at a local Akron Italian institution less than 5 minutes from the mansion. Luigi’s Restaurant is located at 105 N. Main St. Akron (330.253.2999) This Italian restaurant has been serving up pasta and pizza since 1949. The decor is definetely "old" world Italian like you would see in many larger cities pizza establishments.

As always, we ask that when you visit these venues you let them know that sent you.