A five-bedroom, five-bath home celebrates the history of Delray Beach. The entryway and kitchen of this recently completed house have 11-foot ceilings and a street map of the community. Photos by Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star
Achievement Centers for Children & Families hosts a full-scale Delray Beach Home Tour offering a peek inside houses between the ocean and the Intracoastal
By Mary Thurwachter
During the past three years, the Delray Beach Home Tour was a shadow of its previous self and the reason was the pandemic, of course. In 2020, the tour was simply a video event showing highlights of homes, enough to let fans of the popular annual event know they weren’t forgotten.
The following two years were mini tours, says Kari Shipley, longtime co-chairwoman of the fundraiser. “We had to limit how many people attended because people were still concerned about COVID.”
This year’s event, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15, will return to its pre-pandemic scope.
This 1960s home has been fine-tuned over the years and displays many of the owner’s travel photos, including this one from New Zealand in the dining room.
“We’re opening up to full scale,” Shipley said. “We’re really excited. We’ve got great sponsors and eight distinctive homes in the beachfront North End neighborhood of Delray Beach. We’ve got everything from a 1940s cottage to a brand-new house where the owners moved in the 1st of January.
“Now, in the tour’s 20th year, we’re back to expecting 600-700 people and we’ve already sold 450 tickets,” Shipley said in mid-February. “With less than a month to go, we’re pretty sure we’ll reach our $130,000 goal. We’ve already got $118,000.”
ABOVE: This recently completed three-story home has a seating area in front of the main home, with panoramic views along A1A and the ocean. RIGHT: This screen-door insert has graced this Mid-century home for decades through multiple owners.
The North End neighborhood runs from the north side of Atlantic Avenue north to George Bush Boulevard, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway.
Guests can look forward to a leisurely day exploring unique homes, a catered lunch and trolley service between homes, if they like. But Shipley says the seven-block tour is totally walkable for people who choose to hoof it.
“We tell everyone to wear your most comfortable walking shoes,” Shipley said.
Parking will be at First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach on Gleason Street, just south of Atlantic Avenue.
That’s where people can catch the trolley.
Money raised will go to the Achievement Centers for Children & Families, a community-based organization that provides opportunities for under-resourced children to thrive in a positive environment.
The event runs smoothly, Shipley said, thanks to co-chairwoman Noreen Payne, volunteer coordinator Deborah Dowd, staff at the Achievement Centers Foundation office, and the 100 or more volunteers who are stationed at the homes, on the trolley directing people where to go, and at the buffet luncheon.
The lunch is available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the historical home of Frank McKinney at 610 N. Ocean Blvd.
“There’s a gorgeous big tree with decking all around it and a great ocean view,” Shipley said. “People will love having lunch there.”
ABOVE: Whimsical sculptures of dogs at play enliven the entrance to this home on A1A. BELOW RIGHT: A collection of family and celebrity photos highlights the living room wall of this Delray Beach home.
Another highlight will be the dozen plein-air artists who will set up easels around the featured homes and at various places on the route. Attendees can watch the artists work and even buy paintings from them. After the event, paintings will be on display at Chapel 4, a historical museum in a landmark building in the heart of the Marina Historic District downtown.
The tour started 20 years ago when Achievement Centers board members Anne Bright and Barbara Murphy came up with the idea to raise money for the nonprofit organization. Since then, the event has raised more than $1.6 million.
Tickets for the March 15 tour are $125. The event runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and includes lunch. Advance reservations are necessary. Tickets are available by calling the Achievement Centers Foundation office at 561-266-0003 or ordering at www.achievementcentersfl.org/delray-home-tour/.
Who could ask for a better oceanfront view than the one provided at this home on the east side of A1A?
The backyard of a two-story home on the Delray Beach Home Tour has a hot tub overflowing into the swimming pool surrounded by cut-coral pavers and privacy hedges.