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House Guests: Annual tour raises funds for local charities

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie. Guests and volunteers visit the Cink residence, home to PGA Tour golfer Stewart Cink, during the third annual Sugarloaf Country Club Outdoor Living Tour in Duluth. The Women's Club of Sugarloaf Country Club Charities Inc. has continued its tradition of opening its backyards and verandas to raise money for four local charities.

Photo: Andrew McMurtrie. Guests and volunteers visit the Cink residence, home to PGA Tour golfer Stewart Cink, during the third annual Sugarloaf Country Club Outdoor Living Tour in Duluth. The Women's Club of Sugarloaf Country Club Charities Inc. has continued its tradition of opening its backyards and verandas to raise money for four local charities.

DULUTH -- The views are beautiful. And they're for a good cause as well.

The third annual Outdoor Living Tour at Sugarloaf Country Club concludes today with five homes open for perusal -- including pro golfer Stewart Cink's house.

The Women's Club of Sugarloaf Country Club Charities Inc. has continued its tradition of opening its backyards and verandas to raise money for four local charities: the Duluth Co-Op, Family Promise of Gwinnett, Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett and Rainbow Village.

The tour began on Friday, giving visitors a chance to see some beautiful homes while helping several good causes at the same time.

"I love the tour so far," Delma Murphy said Friday as she visited her third home. "Every house has been beautiful and I wasn't expecting all of the great food."

With the price of admission (tickets cost $20 at the gate), guests can stroll through the lavish backyards, each with their own distinct personalities.

The first home on the tour is John and Harriet Rash's residence, where you can nibble on Cake in the Box's miniature cupcakes. Stop two is Tim and Leslie Winfrey's house. Make your way to the spa area of the basement because it comes with a complimentary massage.

Across the neighborhood is Gary Reed's home. The salsa music and virgin margaritas will make you think you're actually by a pool on vacation. The bar seats in the water help, too.

Jeff and Stacy Mitchell -- and their five children -- own the fourth house. It is equipped with a pool, tennis and basketball courts, home movie theater and football- themed recreation room.

The last house on the tour is Stewart and Lisa Cink's. The couple allows the attendees to browse the lower level, complete with bar, pool table, karaoke stage, 85-inch plasma TV and gym.

Organizers won't be able to tally all of the numbers until the event has finished, but they have collected $45,000 solely from resident and company sponsorships so far.

"Last year we raised $30,000," said Terri Schraudenbach, tour chairwoman and WCSCC executive board liaison. "My goal this year is $50,000 and we're almost there."

The planning process for the event began in February. The club picked the houses, decided on a date and designed signs, flyers and tickets for the tour. They met every Wednesday for the past three months to prepare for the busy weekend.

This year, even the president of the Woman's Club, Leslie Winfrey, offered her house to the public.

"I had always said, 'We will. I'm just not quite ready.'" Winfrey said. "This was the year."

She added, "Most importantly, I wanted to benefit these charities. We want to get as many people as possible [here] and if I can help with that, I want to do it."

The tour continues today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $20, and all proceeds will be split evenly between the selected the charities.


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