Electric Avenues Shining examples of houses alight for the holidays

Let there be lights

All aglow: Houses shine brightly for the holidays.

December 17, 1998|By Sandra Crockett and Chris Kaltenbach | Sandra Crockett and Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Staff

The holidays. A season of joy and peace, of ho-ho-ho and mistletoe, of gifts under the tree and parking lots filled with trees just dying (literally!) to earn a spot in your living room.

And, judging by the efforts of Baltimore's more flamboyant residents, of electric bills larger than the gross national product of some countries.

Sure it's gaudy, thousands upon thousands of lights hanging from every nook and cranny. But it's also undeniably beautiful, and you've got to love the resourcefulness and perseverance of these exterior decorators, who must have spent more time designing their displays than Eisenhower spent planning the Normandy invasion.

But enough of these platitudes. Let's get down to brass tacks, a look at the most electrifying showplaces Baltimore has to offer this holiday season. We've done the real work; all you need do is make sure there's gas in the tank and a map in the glove compartment.

BALTIMORE CITY

1. The highlight: Hanukkah House - that's what it's known as this time of year - is at 6211 Park Heights Ave. It is spectacularly aglow in celebration of the Jewish holiday. There are lights lined along the yard. There is a fiddler on the roof and four additional musicians on the balcony, as well as a menorah, a candelabrum that holds nine candles for celebrating Hanukkah. The house will be lighted from Sunday through the Hanukkah holiday, up through Dec. 25.

2. As usual, it's hard to describe the 700 block of 34th St. in Hampden. People have called it "fantastic" and "phenomenal." A huge "Seasons Greetings" sign is strung across the street welcoming visitors to the block. One of the highlights, and there are many, is the Christmas tree fashioned from hubcaps, the snowflakes on the buildings and the Santas made from bicycle )) wheels. It appears as if the neighbors on this street haven't found a holiday decoration they didn't like.

3. Other people in the neighborhood have the holiday spirit too, such as the folks at 3634 Keswick Road. In the small yard, there is a Santa Claus, snowman, icicles and candy canes. Lights are on the fence.

4. At 3411 Keswick, there is a stuffed Santa sitting on a ledge, a Christmas tree in the yard and wreaths on the stair banisters.

5. Nearby at 846 W. 37th St., the yard is decorated with a manger. There is a rooftop Santa Claus who looks as if he is coming out of (or going down) the chimney.

6. At 3642 Elm St., there is a very nice porch arrangement with sleighs and reindeers.

EAST/NORTHEAST

1. The highlight: Like a huge neon sign in a field of fireflies, the house at 1307 Clayton Road in Joppa, south of the intersection with Maryland Route 7, is pretty much impossible not to notice. From the welcoming candy canes lining the driveway to the red and green lights spelling out "Merry Christmas" atop the roof, this is the sort of home BGE must pray for.

Be sure and observe the posted 5 mph speed limit, so as not to miss anything. There are the evergreens covered in multicolored lights (and not those tiny bulbs that are always getting lost in the grass), the large star above the carport, the 20-foot-tall pole tree crowned with a Moravian star, the plastic snowman family.

Ever wonder how people can afford these electric extravaganzas? Pay attention on your way out, and you might notice a clue: Many of the trees only have lights covering their front halves! No sense putting lights where no one's going to see them anyway.

2. 2977 Harrogate Way, off Abingdon Road, looks like nothing less than a runway for the estimable Mr. Claus to aim for, complete with roof lights that blink off and on.

3. 9 Urbanwood Court, in Essex off Eastern Avenue, is the standout from among a group of homes that were all decorated the weekend after Thanksgiving; be sure to notice the candy canes flanking the front door and the lighted Santa atop the porch roof. Sometimes, if the owners get around to throwing the switch, there's even music playing.

4. 414 Delaware Ave. in Essex, off Eastern Avenue, is a perennial favorite complete with the Peanuts gang, the Muppets, gingerbread men and other assorted critters. The neighboring houses are no slouches, either.

5. The home at the corner of Vulcan and Kimberly roads, off North Point Boulevard, includes a parking sign for reindeer. It's just the first in a series of fabulously lighted houses along both streets.

NORTHWEST

1. The highlight: The people in the house at 1625 Andylin Way in Eldersburg (behind the Carrolltowne Mall) in Carroll County don't hold back on the lights; the owner says there are close to 10,000 decorating the outside of the home. There's a six-foot angel, as well as a six-foot star on the side of the house, icicle lights around it. There is also a sled, Santa and his reindeer, and a Santa workshop, among other decorations.

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