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It's garden tour season in the region, and while you might think you've seen every annual, perennial and water feature in the book, ask yourself if you've seen the Black Point Beach totem poles.
If you haven't, the Black Point Women's Club will offer a look at these local landmarks and 11 other homes and gardens during its third annual House and Garden Tour. Proceeds from tickets will benefit local women's charities.
The tour, last organized in 2008, returns with all-new stops that exemplify life in Black Point, a neighborhood on a peninsula in Niantic where modern waterfront year-round residences share space with seasonal hideaways.
"Black Point Beach Club is a unique community, and the tour showcases the range of homes (there)," says Women's Club president Carolyn Boyle. "Some families go back five generations … it's really an amazing community."
As for the totem poles, their owner created them in 1983 after viewing photos of and researching the resident totem poles in Alaska. Crafted from trees that stood on the owner's former home in Vermont, the taller of the two poles, at 22 feet, features the artist and his two daughters. A second totem pole stands at a demure 4 feet; rock sculptures round out the property.
The houses on the tour takes visitors on an eclectic jaunt through history, starting with modest 1930s-era summer cottages, right through a 2011 waterfront construction with sweeping views and distinctive woodwork from floor to ceiling, according to Boyle. One of the circa-1930s cottages offers modern conveniences in a recent addition. Another modernized cottage features a frog and fish pond.
Caught somewhere between is a mid-century modern that was featured in a 1964 edition of "House Beautiful." The house was purchased two years ago and spruced up, but not modernized; its interior retains its design heritage, complete with built-in furniture.
Highlighting the not-too-distant past is a 1988 contemporary, with elevated first floor and water views. An outdoor fireplace creates an outdoor room at another waterfront home.
With about a mile of ground to cover, tourists are welcome to take a break at a refreshment oasis on the patio of still another waterfront property. A boutique of local art will set up shop elsewhere on the property.
Prefer not to walk? Not to worry: local restaurant Sunset Ribs has donated the services of its famed Flip-Flop Express, which will pick up tourists at the Black Point Beach Association Clubhouse at 6 Sunset Ave., Niantic, and cruise the tour area.
What: Black Point House and Garden Tour 2013
When: Friday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Twelve locations in the Black Point Beach area of Niantic; start at the Black Point Clubhouse, 6 Sunset Ave., Niantic, where brochures, maps and wristbands will be available.
Tickets: $30 on the day of the tour; $25 in advance and available by calling Pat at (860) 739-9418 or Sandy at (860) 739-9015 or at Grace, 46 Pennsylvania Ave., Niantic; Three Blind Mice, 9 Methodist St., Niantic; Charlie's Place, 26 W. Main St., Niantic, and Pinc boutique, 52 State St., New London
More information: blackpointbeachclub.com