Christmas Tour of The Tate House in Tate, Georgia
My husband and I recently moved to Georgia, and for the four months that we have lived here, we often have driven by the Tate House and commented that we would like to tour it. In December, we took that tour, and I must say that it was such an amazing afternoon; I am glad we waited until Christmas to tour it rather than going in the fall. This tour was one of the highlights of our Christmas season.
The Tate House in Tate, Georgia, was completed in 1926 and built by marble tycoon Sam Tate. Sam Tate owned the Georgia Marble Company right behind the house. The Georgia Marble Company is famous for pink marble, and it has been used on the outside as well as parts of the inside of this house. This marble quarry is still in business today. The house was used as a Bed and Breakfast until 2006 when the then owners decided to renovate the house. It is currently used for weddings and special events. It is open to the public for tours in the Fall during the Marble Festival in nearby Jasper, Georgia, and also at Christmas.
The Start of the Tour
Walking into the home, we were warmly welcomed and told that the tour cost $15.00 per person. We had already read that on the website, so it was not a surprise to us. We paid our money and were told to go up the stairs to our right and relax for a bit until the opening informational lecture. After that, we would be free to tour the house on our own. We went up the stairs to find a long hallway, decorated with white and gold flowers and arrangements. The tables were welcoming, and each had a Christmas arrangement on it. We were told that this area used to be a front open porch and it had only recently been enclosed. The large glass windows gave us a nice view of an Italian courtyard.
A Very Pink Room
We headed around the corner and were treated to a most amazing sight. The room at the end of the hallway was small, circular and very pink. In front of the window was a large Christmas tree with figures of Santa Claus and three children dressed in period clothing. It was amazing to see how lifelike they all looked.
The Dining Room and Pantry
The next room was the dining room. The table was set as if for a great Christmas feast. There were Christmas decorations of flowers, ribbons, greenery, and ornaments everywhere one looked. In the corner near a window was another large tree, with an adorable teddy bear standing next to it. The fireplace was opulently decorated as well, with a series of white lit candles in front of it. Many people were in this room taking pictures because the sight was so amazing.
Off of the dining room was the butler’s pantry with the original ice box and sink. I don’t know if the house was this extravagantly decorated at Christmas when Sam Tate lived in it, but everywhere one looked, even in the pantry, there were wonderful decorations that truly brought home the Christmas experience.
From there, we went into the library which again was extremely decorated. The fireplaces in this house were beautiful, and each one had its own swags of greenery and Christmas balls and bells. The library was no exception.
I lost count of how many rooms there were and what each was used for, but this one particular room had a life-sized Santa Claus who from afar looked like the real jolly old elf himself. From the library, we walked into the main hallway, where we were treated to the sight of another huge tree which was sitting next to an electronic grand piano which had been programmed to play Christmas music. It was a nice touch and added to the ambiance of the house.
From the main hallway, we went upstairs, and as you can imagine, the stairway railings were extremely festive with red bows and Christmas balls. At the top of the stairway was a sitting area with two couches and three amazingly lifelike elves. It was a place you might want to stop and hang out with this trio to soak up some Christmas cheer. The trio was quite jolly, and the workmanship of these characters make observers believe in Santa and his workshop filled with these busy, happy toy makers.
More Sumptuous Rooms
The rest of the rooms upstairs consisted of four bedrooms and a library. All of the bedrooms were beautifully decorated. On each door was a sign stating the name of the room. There was a “Jewel Room, a “Luke Room,” and a “Flora Room,” as well as a “Captain Steve” room. The rooms had their own very well-appointed bathrooms, each containing marble. And of course, each room had its own Christmas tree that reached almost to the ceiling.
The Children's Room
Once the tour of the upstairs was completed, we headed down to the main floor and around a corner to go downstairs. Rounding a corner, I let out a surprised, “oooh” as we came to another pink room, filled with animal figures and candy replicas. What a delight this room would have been to a small child but unfortunately we did not have any children with us.
Cookies and Warm Beverages to End the Indoor Tour
On the other side of that room was a large bar area made of wood, glass, and marble. It was quite an impressive room and is obviously used for the current special events and weddings. To the right of the bar is the large ballroom, with tables set with holiday splendor.
In the middle of the room, tables were set up with hot cider, cold water and two types of cookies: chocolate chip, and white chocolate and coconut. The white chocolate chip cookies are to die for! People were able to help themselves to cookies and beverages, and then take a seat at one of the tables. Again there was a beautiful huge wonderfully decorated Christmas tree, set up next to a very lifelike Santa Claus in a gorgeous sleigh.
The Tate House Tour, 2013
The Grounds and the House's Exterior
After having our refreshments, I took a walk outside and took some pictures of the house. The most amazing Christmas decoration I saw outside was the Nativity scene on the side veranda. The figures were life size and beautiful. The front of the house was decorated with greenery and wreaths, and the pink marble the house is known for shows through. At the beginning of the tour, we were told that two sides of the house were in the Italian style and the other two were created in the English style.
A Tour Worth Every Penny!
Originally, we thought that the price of $15.00 was a bit high for this tour. But by the end of our time at the Tate House, we were so thrilled and fulfilled by our experience that we felt the money was worth it. Especially because it was a donation to a non-profit organization.
From the absolutely beautiful decorations to the sounds of Christmas music playing throughout the house, to the adorable and lifelike figures of elves and Santa Claus figures, we had an amazing afternoon. This experience really brought the Christmas spirit to our hearts and minds. This tour was definitely worth the time and money.
If you ever happen to be in the area of Tate, Georgia, which is located in between Canton and Jasper, at Christmastime, a tour of the Tate House is definitely a worthwhile experience.
All pictures in this article were taken by the author, Karen Hellier. I was not able to put descriptions or give credit for most of these pictures underneath each due to a computer glitch.
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© 2014 Karen Hellier