WESTFIELD, NJ — Two homes in Westfield, one in Scotch Plains and two in Plainfield opened their doors to the public Saturday for the The Friends of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra’ annual Tour of Notable Homes benefiting the New Jersey Festival Orchestra.
Volunteer Carol Tener, house manager for a Westfield home described as an “entertainer’s paradise,” noted that the drizzle outside didn’t put a damper on attendance.
“Considering the weather, we’re having a great response,” she said.
Tener’s history with the house — she has known it through four owners, she said — allowed her to explain how it had been added to and enhanced.
“The grounds here are really extraordinary and the big pool house — I think people are really enjoying this house,” Tener said.
At their home in the Hillside Avenue Historic District, owners Peter and Libby Price welcomed guests to their 1896 Colonial, complete with the last remaining carriage house in Plainfield.
“It’s a very good turnout for the symphony, and I’m happy for that,” Libby Price said.
This is the second home that the Prices have had on the tour.
“We do it because we’re blessed and we think it’s important to give back,” Peter Price said.
“And give to good causes,” added Libby Price.
“And it’s good to share the city of Plainfield with people who are not familiar with Plainfield and show them the historical significance,” her husband said.
Former owner Emilia Carlson, who had lived there for 58 years before selling the Colonial to the Prices in 2014, was there that day, as well.
Other homes on the tour included a sprawling contemporary “smart house” recreated on the footprint of a demolished dwelling, a stately English Tudor situated on the grounds on one of Westfield’s most prestigious avenues and another Colonial revival residence also in the heart of the Plainfield historic district.
Umbrella sales, plant sales and luxury raffles, including the chance to drive a Tesla Model SP90D for a day, raised additional money for the orchestra. Tesla also offered test drives of their cars from one of the tour homes in Westfield.
“Ashely Vaness, the marketing manager for Tesla, has been phenomenal for the past two years providing Teslas for the Friends,” said volunteer Stephanie Branna. “The raffle is a nice revenue stream for the Friends.”
Live music was provided at the homes by the Junior Musical Club of Westfield.