In honor of the late Ronald Todd Harsh of Belington, a special tree was decorated at Adaland Mansion's annual Christmas Open House Sunday.
The tree decorated in his honor was the Adaland Pavilion Christmas Tree. It was adorned with green ornaments and ribbons, peacock feathers, birdhouses and more. Harsh was the son of Ronald M. and Sharon Harsh, a former executive director of Adaland Mansion. He passed away in April.
Harsh was a crafter for Adaland Mansion who made birdhouses that were sold in the mansion's gift shop. Sharon Harsh, with the help of some friends, made the hand-painted birdhouses that decorated the tree, said Ann Serafin, the acting executive director.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Betty Carr, left, a tour guide of Adaland Mansion takes a break playing the psaltry Sunday to allow Elijah Davis, 7, of Fairmont to try the instrument. His mother, Julie Davis, right, watches as he strums the chords. Elijah Davis and his parents visited Adaland Mansion’s Christmas open house.
"He's a good craftsman," Serafin said. "Sharon chose the birdhouses because that's what Todd had made from here."
Also, the birdhouses sport some decorations of their own, such as fruits, enabling the tree to double as the learning tree.
"That's what a bird sees," Serafin said. "It sees the sunset or a berry bush. A bird's-eye view is what the birdhouses represent."
In the main dining room, blue willow china dresses the table in honor of another. The china was donated by Mary Jane Ludwick and Mary A. Hudkins in memory of Myrtle Boyles Fridley, according to a sign detailing the history of blue willow china.
Serafin said Adaland Mansion's open house got an earlier start than usual this year. Usually, the open house occurs at the beginning of December.
"We just thought it would be nice to have open house early so people could come back and see more of it or bring guests," Serafin said.
This year, nine trees were uniquely decorated according to various themes based on the time period of the mansion and its former residents. Each uniquely decorated tree received favorable comments this year.
"They're gorgeous," said Judy Gould, who was visiting the open house
Barbara Daugherty of Philippi visited the mansion with her husband, daughter and son-in-law. She said the trees make her want to go Christmas shopping.
Linda Proudfoot of Philippi said she thought the trees were beautiful.
"Just the craftsmanship alone is marvelous," Wanda Kooken of Bridgeport said.
The memorial tree on the pavilion, along with the Bride's Room tree were among the favorites of guests.
"I really, really like the bird tree outside," Darlene Murphy of Baltimore said. "I've never seen feathers in a Christmas tree."
Murphy also liked the homemade ornaments decorating an upstairs tree.
"I like that purple one," Tom Davis of Bridgeport said. "I'm not a purple person, but that caught my eye."
Robin Smith, a volunteer gardener of the mansion who is currently working toward her Master Gardener certification, took a moment to admire the decorations as well, saying that the mansion really looks "pretty," and "it's wonderful that they restored this beautiful place."
Some of the decorations were donated to Adaland Mansion, but not all decorations were able to be used. Serafin said that all decorations that have been donated are kept, treasured and will be seen in the future.
Three hired employees and many volunteers worked for about two weeks to decorate the mansion and trees. They include Serafin, Cecil Lake, Shirley Daniels, Ed and Karen Larry, Kailie Johns, Betty Carr, JoAnna Shamp, Blanche McDaniels, Alma Bennett, Caroline Davis, Sharon Harsh, Cheryl Wolfe, Sue LoBello, Lee Gibbs, Sylvia Nitz and Jean Mozley.