Manheim Holiday Tour features seven festively decorated homes

By on November 29, 2017


The home of Chris and Michelle Simon, 608 Milton Grove Road, Mount Joy, is one of seven stops on the Manheim Women’s Club Holiday Tour of Homes. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Festive holiday décor adds to the ambiance of homes and businesses this time of the year. For Michelle and Chris Simon, holiday décor flows through both their home and Chris’ in-home office. The Simon family will celebrate the holiday season at their Rapho Township home at 608 Milton Grove Road, Mount Joy.

Chris Simon said the six month project to transform the 60-foot by 100-foot bank barn into a home was amazing.

“Ten years ago the lower level housed 85 dairy cows,” he said. “Now, it’s a garage, mechanical area, and an unfinished area that I use to have friends over to watch football. There’s also an unfinished area we want to convert to an in-law quarters in the near future.”

Chris credits Michelle with the vision for the home, and pointed out that she and Buckhill Construction worked closely during the six month endeavor.

“It really did itself,” Michelle Simon said. “I tried to keep it authentic to its heritage as a barn.”

Lofty ceilings and natural light add to the open feel. “When you transform a barn into a home, it’s important to keep as much of the character as possible,” she explained. “For me, that meant open space and focusing on showcasing the post and beam structure without losing sight of the fact that it’s a home. As I went through the process, I kept reminding myself that it’s a barn.”

Even the lighting fixtures give a nod to the home’s heritage. Much of the wood that’s seen throughout the home has been repurposed. It’s used for flooring and sliding barn doors (quite appropriate for a converted barn) as well as some furnishings.

“We did all the staining, including the doors and trim,” she said. “We have a couple different types of wood, so I was glad to have some expert advice about mixing the stain to have the same color on the different types of wood.”

This is the second holiday season the family will spend in the home, but it’s the first time it’s been fully decorated.

“We moved in Dec. 16 last year so we didn’t really do much holiday decorating last year,” Chris said.

This year there are several festively decorated trees throughout the home as well as wreaths, bows, garlands of greens and other holiday décor items.

“I went for a traditional but natural feel that would complement the house,” Michelle said. “I had a lot of holiday decorations I used at our other home, and I went through them. No gold or glitz here, instead there are elements such as pinecones.”

There’s also a bit of surprise: a fanciful tree that pays tribute to a holiday-inspired character (we want to keep the surprise so we won’t elaborate further).

The family had previously lived on West High Street in Manheim.

“We were really close to our neighbors. Here we have 28-acres. We see deer and foxes. And it’s so quiet,” Chris said.

The Simon home is one of seven properties on the Women’s Club of Manheim’s annual Holiday Home Tour, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3.

“The Holiday Home Tour is such a great way to get into the holiday season,” said Women’s Club member Karen Lewis. “It is a fun day out and gives you some great new decorating ideas. This year there are a variety of homes, some new, some older homes and all very unique.”

The Simon home, prior to renovation. (Submitted photo)

Other featured properties include:

  • Phil and Cyndi Garber, 860 Milton Grove Road, Mount Joy
  • Michael and Robin Buchmoyer, 120 Adele Ave., Manheim
  • Ted and Yiota Gavala, 45 Autumn Leaf Lane, Manheim
  • Brooke and T.J. Mousetis, 67 S. Penn St., Manheim
  • John and Janet Trovato, 118 Autumn Leafe Lane, Manheim
  • Split Ends, 15 S. Main St., Manheim

Tickets for the tour are $10 ahead of time and can be purchased at Longenecker’s Hardware, Shaub’s Dry Cleaning, Split Ends, and Divine Consign. Day-of, the tour tickets cost $12 and can be purchased at any home.

Proceeds from the home tour benefit the community of Manheim, including Secret Santa gifts for local families in need, scholarships for girls at Manheim Central High School as well as supporting local organizations such as Manheim Community Library summer reading program, Manheim Central Food Pantry, and Pleasant View Retirement Community.

For further information visit

The Holiday Home Tour is part of Christmas in Manheim, Dec. 1 to Dec. 3.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to kick-off to the holidays than during the Christmas in Manheim weekend,” said Kelly Lauver of the Manheim Chamber. “It’s a fun-filled weekend of activities all arranged by our local organizations. There are so many local activities to do as well as shopping and eating — all while supporting our local organizations that work year-round on behalf of the Manheim community,”

For information on activities including the Manheim Lions Club Santa Run and Walk 5K; Breakfast with Santa, Holiday Crossings at the historic Manheim Railroad Station, Christmas tree lighting and glassblowing demonstrations, visit the events page of the Manheim Chamber’s website:

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at

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