Holiday tour features historic Penryn home

Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour, Saturday, Dec. 10
By: Kathy Maynard Loomis News Correspondent
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One of Penryn’s oldest homes – all dressed up for the holidays – can be visited for one day only during the Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour. Built in 1880, the Citrus Colony clubhouse is one five local homes featuring holiday décor that can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10. An encore performance of last year’s most talked about home – Quintessa Farm – is a highlight of this year’s tour. This stunning 7,200-square-foot home contains many custom features and every room is filled with holiday decorations that range from fanciful to elegant. Other homes to be featured are a charming 1910 Craftsman bungalow loaded with handmade textiles and quilts; a wooded retreat with an enticing outdoor entertainment area and pool; plus a Tuscan dream home that features an enclosed courtyard, loggia and outdoor entertaining area. This year’s event also features a gourmet lunch buffet that includes a sandwich bar, salads, soups, dessert and beverage for $10 with advance purchase, plus a free Holiday Boutique offering musical entertainment, an art show, silent auction and gifts to benefit the students of the Loomis Unified School District through the Loomis Basin Educational Foundation. The 2,600-square-foot Citrus Colony Clubhouse is owned by realtor Leslie Griffith and her husband, Dana, who is an electrician. The home boasts five bedroom, three baths and a pond and vineyard, all on five acres. The granite clubhouse will be decorated in a Scandanavian theme, reflecting the owner’s Swedish heritage. The home was much smaller when purchased by the Griffiths in 1993. Their three now-grown daughters, Chelsea Roberts, 25; Ashley Viem, 23; and Anna, 18; all shared a bedroom until the home was renovated. Leslie Griffith explained the home was patterned after one in France. After the original owner died, Joel Parker Whitney bought it and in 1890 converted it to a clubhouse for the English settlers of of Citrus Colony, who immigrated to Penryn to grow citrus trees. The current living room was once the men’s sitting room and the upstairs master bedroom was the ladies’ sitting room. “The original structure was built with granite from the Griffith Quarry. They had a cricket court in our pasture, did mock fox hunts and held a lot of social events for the club members here,” Griffith said. By the mid 1890s an outbreak of malaria, economic downturns, and the fact that the English didn’t know much about growing citrus scared most of the colonists away, Griffith said. Sometime near the turn of the 20th century, the clubhouse was sold as a private residence. The home has undergone many transformations in the 131 years since it was constructed. The downstairs bathroom and office are located in what was once a totally detached structure where Citrus Colony members played billiards. The section that is now the modern kitchen was added in the 1890s, but probably wasn’t a kitchen because the granite-walled wine cellar under the house used to be the cookhouse. The Griffiths were careful to preserve the authentic style of the home when they added two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs in 1994, and Dana Griffith even purchased a milling machine and used dry kilned cedar for the siding. The Griffiths also restored the vineyard. “When we moved here, there was only one row of vines and I’m not sure they were original. My husband, who makes wine as a hobby, has planted around 250 vines of ten different types of grapes,” Griffith said. Dana and Don DuPont, from Rockhill Winery, will hold a wine tasting event in the wine cellar For more information, go to Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour What: Tour five Loomis Basin homes decorated for the holidays; gourmet buffet lunch, and Holiday Boutique featuring musical entertainment, art show, gifts, silent auction at H. Clark Powers Elementary Who: Loomis Basin Education Foundation to benefit students of the Loomis Union School District When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 Tickets: $25 in advance, or $30 on tour day; $10 ticket for gourmet buffet lunch is also available in advance. Tickets available in Loomis at High Hand Nursery, Blue Goose Produce and Flower Farm Nursery; in Rocklin at Pottery World; in Roseville at California Backyard; and in Auburn at Eisley Nursery; or online at