The Peel home located at 3450 Moye Trail was among the five homes on display during the fifth annual Sugarloaf Leisure Living Tour and Leisure Craft Show at the Sugarloaf Country Club in Duluth on Saturday. All the proceeds will be distributed between the four charities nominated by the Women's Club of Sugarloaf Country Club Charities members.
DULUTH — The scene at Karen and Chris Peel’s home Saturday was decidedly decadent.
As a painter put the finishing touches on a portrait of his demure female model, rain held off and guests mingled around the impressive pool and patio while munching on fine pastries. Visitors ogled the basement theater (complete with beanbag chairs bigger than some sofas) and wine cellar (even bigger). Those who ventured onto the upstairs deck enjoyed a view of the tee box on Sugarloaf Country Club’s sixth hole.
It all — the strangers, the volunteers, the food — was for a good cause.
For the fifth straight year, the Women’s Club of Sugarloaf Country Club hosted its “Leisure Living Tour,” opening up five of their neighbors’ impressive houses to the public in order to raise money for charity. For six hours Saturday, anyone with an interest, the means to get to Duluth and a $25 ticket could get a glimpse of how the upper crust lives.
“I believe in the charities we’re representing, and that the work that we’re doing is worthwhile,” said Janie Kamerschen, whose own home was part of the tour. “So we just had to open up our home. We feel lucky to have a really great backyard and the chance to share it.”
Over the years, the women’s club has pushed $200,000 in funds raised through the tour. Raised through ticket sales, corporate and resident sponsorships and the club itself, that total is divided annually among four different Gwinnett charities; this year, it’s the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Rainbow Village, Wellspring Living and Spectrum Autism Support Group.
Tour chair Gina Connell knows personally what kind of work her club’s efforts help. Her autistic son has benefitted from involvement with Spectrum for more than a decade.
“You just see the different organizations that it helps ... I see what those organizations firsthand are able to do with that money, and it’s hard to not do it,” Connell said Saturday, in the high-tech gameroom at the Peels’ home.
“(Spectrum) just absolutely changed the landscape of what my son’s life could’ve looked like,” she added. “He’s got friends and activities and knows people. It’s been amazing.”
Generally, the tours — which also include a boat and RV show — see somewhere between 250 and 300 people, but, if the weather holds, that number might be growing. For the first time this year, the event is held across a Saturday and Sunday rather than a Friday and Saturday.
“We really looked at the feedback from both our committee members and our guests,” women’s club charities president Jan McPheely said, “and what we were hearing over and over was that ... Friday was not a huge day for attendance.”
“I think if we have decent weather tomorrow we’ll have really good crowds,” she added.
The Sugarloaf Leisure Living Tour will continue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at sugarloaftour.com or at the country club’s gate on Sugarloaf Parkway.