Experiencing the Marietta Pilgrimage: A Christmas Home Tour

Feature Image; Experiencing the Marietta Pilgrimage: A Christmas Home Tour in a light red shape; next to that is a picture of Larissa standing in front of a red door with a green wreath and green garland draping over the sides of the door, wearing a jean jacket with an olive green tank underneath and black leggings

Disclosure: I did receive two complimentary tickets for the Marietta Pilgrimage; however, these are my honest opinions about my experience!

Did you know that Christmas is my favorite holiday? Most people assume it’s for the presents, but they’d be wrong. Believe it or not, I get ridiculously excited about Christmas decorations. The lights, the garland, the trees, the stockings, the gingerbread houses, the wreaths, and everything in between. What better way to experience all of that than by The Marietta Pilgrimage: A Christmas Home Tour? And honestly, if you’re looking for decorating inspiration, this is the perfect tour for you!

History of the Marietta Pilgrimage

Every year during the first weekend in December, the Marietta Visitors Bureau and Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society present the Marietta Pilgrimage. Taking place in the districts surrounding the Marietta Square, the tour features historic homes which have been restored and beautifully decorated for the Christmas season.

Ticket for the tour
The ticket for the Pilgrimage Tour is a booklet containing information about Marietta, as well as each home on the tour. When you enter each home, you will receive a mark on your ticket, noting you have entered into that house.

The tour happens on Saturday and Sunday, and you can choose to go either one or both days; however, once you enter a home your ticket is checked off for that house and you may not enter again. You can always admire the outside decorations though! The tour is divided up into two time periods – the Day and the Candlelight Tour. As you probably guessed, the Day Tour occurs during the day, starting in the morning at 9:00AM and ending at 6:00PM. Although you can see the houses all lit up once it starts getting dark, the Candlelight Tour [when you can enter the homes] officially starts at 7:00PM and lasts until 9:30PM. It’s important to make note which houses during operate under which tour so you don’t miss out on any, especially if you’re only able to go for one day!

the historic homes of marietta

This year, which happened to be the 33rd year of the tour, the pilgrimage took place in the Forest Hills District. Just a short distance from the Marietta Square, the district is easily accessible via foot or the provided shuttles. My friend and I opted for the shuttle and worked our way backgrounds, since we got there towards the end of the Day Tour and the last two houses were Day Tour only. So I’ll show you the homes in the order we saw them!

house 6:
mclemore – powell – mcminn house

Marietta Pilgrimage - House 6; front porch with two black rocking chairs, a black table with a red thermos and two red cups, and the area is decorated with a Christmas tree in the corner and a wreath on the window
How adorable and cozy is this Christmas themed porch?

This home, built in 1898, is beautiful inside and out. During the renovation, a gorgeous porch was added which extends to the side of the home. A magnificent dining table commands the space, and of course it is currently decorated with Christmas decor.

House 5:
marion – kruger house

House 5; green house with red door and garland draped along the front porch and wreaths on the windows and door
Loving the simple and classy outdoor decorations!

Although originally built in 1946, this home has gone under a massive renovation, including adding two stories and a basement. For the basement, they dug out under the house and created a fabulous space which boasts a pool table, a tv area, a half bath, a wet bar, and the laundry room – complete with a laundry chute!

house 4:
barber – mercier house

Marietta Pilgrimage - House 4; green house with yellow door and garland draped along the front porch and wreaths on the windows
Simple, yet elegant with the outdoor decorations!

This home, built in 1928, is currently home to an artist and his spouse. Not only are there beautiful decorations throughout – including a room dedicated to Christmas golf decorations – but there are also numerous paintings throughout the home which were painted by the owner!

house 3:
keeler – palmer – zenoni house

Marietta Pilgrimage - House 3; beautiful porch swing with Merry Christmas pillow and lit up mini Christmas tree
Wouldn’t you want to spend your time on this porch swing, enjoying a hot cup of cocoa? I know I would!

This Craftsman style house was built in 1909. We loved all the authentic touches, including the furnaces. One of my favorite spots was the porch swing, decorated with festive furnishings and surrounded by light up trees. What was unique about visiting this home in particular was that we got to meet the owner!

house 2:
phillips – ingram – vien house

Marietta Pilgrimage - House 2; beautiful Christmas decorations - garland dripping across the fence and draped along the entryway.
Look at these decorations! So beautiful!

Built between 1900-1905, this house was my favorite in terms of outdoor decoration. The garland dripping across the fence, pinned with the bright red bows. The garland draped along the entryway. And all the lights!

house 1:
hunt – ford – browne house

Marietta Pilgrimage - House 1, white house with clear Christmas lights around the house and wreaths on the windows and garland on the door
Remember to include the Candlelight Tour as part of your visit to see the houses lit up!

Last, but certainly not least, this house was constructed in 1907. I absolutely loved the kitchen in this house, and overall I believe this was my favorite house for the inside. There is a little kids play area under the stairs, and if you’re a Harry Potter fan like me, you’d appreciate it greatly!

but wait…there’s more!

In addition to viewing beautiful historic homes, the Marietta Pilgrimage also invites you to explore several public buildings throughout the Marietta Square area including the William Root House Museum; the Kennesaw House, Marietta Museum of History; the J. Brumby Hall and Gardens, Gone with Wind Museum; and so much more! Hours for each building are located in your ticket for easy access. And that’s not all! This year was the first time for the Holiday Market addition. Located in the parking lot of the William Root House Museum, the market features local artists and craftspeople! I mean let’s be real…who doesn’t love supporting their local economy?!

If you enjoyed reading this post, you’ll enjoy experiencing the Marietta Pilgrimage even more! Set a reminder on your phone for November 2020, so you can make sure to get your tickets for next year’s tour. I do have some tips for you before you go though:

tips for the marietta pilgrimage

  • Make sure to check the website to see which times are best for minimal lines. Pro tip: If a big game happens to be on, for example the Georgia vs. LSU game, that is the prime time to go!
  • Want to do more than just visit the homes? The tour relies on the help of volunteers to aid with ticket sales or to be docents in each home. Each volunteer receives a complimentary ticket to the tour per shift worked.
  • Please remember that these homes are private, and families do live there. Respect each one as if it were your own, and refrain from taking pictures inside. Outdoor photography is encouraged though!
  • Make sure to get your tickets in advance, either online or in person, to receive a small discount. Tickets will be available for in-person purchase the day of the event as well.
  • Check the weather before heading out for the day. The tour happens rain or shine, so you’ll want to be dressed accordingly.
  • Park at the Marietta Square and catch one of the shuttles to the district. The shuttle stops are conveniently and clearly marked.

Thank you for taking the time to read! I know if you love Christmas decorations as much as I do, you’ll enjoy the Marietta Pilgrimage. Seriously, I had so much fun. I’m excited for next year’s pilgrimage, and I already have a cousin who plans to head down from North Carolina to attend with me!

How do you feel about Christmas decorations? Have you been on a Christmas Home Tour before? Have you ever attended the Marietta Pilgrimage? I’d love to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Experiencing the Marietta Pilgrimage: A Christmas Home Tour”

  1. I truly enjoyed your take on the Marietta Pilgrimage. Thank you for sharing! I lived in Marietta for 16 years and looked forward each year to the tour. I was fortunate enough to be a docent several times and meet wonderful people both local and out of town visitors. I have moved back home to Wisconsin and not only miss the people of Marietta but the wonderful Marietta pilgrimage.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Although I’ve lived in Marietta for several years, this was my first time doing the pilgrimage. I loved it so much and will definitely be back again. I’m so glad I was able to share some of it with you while you’re in Wisconsin!

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