It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood as 500 visitors, known as sailors, boarded pontoon boats to tour homes during the annual Akron Symphony Guild Boat Tour of Homes on Portage Lakes.

Boat captains welcomed passengers to their boats on a warm, sunny day to tour five homes on July 18 for the 21st year of the fundraising event. They stepped aboard their boats from the docks at the Harbor Front Grille and Party Center in Coventry Township and received a boxed lunch to enjoy on their excursion. For some sailors, it was a tradition - something they do each year - and for others, it was their first time attending the event.

Musicians and singers from the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestra and Chorus entertained the visitors at designated stops. After the tour, visitors were invited to enjoy after-tour snacks and cocktails from the summer menu at the Harbor Front Grille and be entered by the University of Akron Steel Drum Band.

The sailors enjoyed the visits to five totally different homes. First was Sunset Paradise, a new home with a view that got visitors attention as soon as they walked in the door and faced a wall of windows. Home owners view the sunset in the evenings from the windows or the huge balcony with sliding doors making it an indoor outdoor romantic paradise.

Private Island is a retreat in a vintage 1917 log cabin with a rustic charm. It is accessed only by boat or a secret land passageway. It is a one-bedroom summer cottage with a great view of the Portage Lakes fireworks and the Turkeyfoot Golf Course. Boat and swan watching is plentiful from the covered porch.

Home three was called Maestro’s Masterpiece, a lovely home with quite a view and has a room for the Maestro to stay when he is in town. The home was decorated with a beachy feel and much of the art work was done by the owners’ daughter. The master suite is complete with a coffee bar, so coffee can be enjoyed on the balcony in the early morning without leaving the suite. The grandchildren’s room has four bunks with a model train running on a track around the room near the ceiling.

The fourth home on the tour was slated as a Relaxing Retreat, a 1955 cottage remodeled inside and out to create a relaxing retreat with a wake-up view of the lake from the master bedroom loft. Stairs wind along the waterfall and ponds are on the property. The owners did much of the work themselves creating the perfect retreat and sunset viewing deck.

The fifth home has been on a previous tour, but homeowners have more than doubled their square footage. The fireplace is the focal point as you enter the home. The master suite has his and her bathrooms, a walk-in closet and relaxation area. The new addition hosts an elegant dark wood office, a guest suite and an entertainment area with a bar spanning across the room and folding doors to let the outside in. In addition, a tasting room has been added as well as a children’s game area. Outside is a guest cabin used as a private in-law’s house.

Patron’s were treated to a luncheon at the Tudor House, a 20-room, two-and-a-half-story brick and stucco mansion sitting on 5.8 acres in New Franklin. The home was constructed and given to Frank Mason Raymond and his wife as a wedding present from his grandfather, Frank H. Mason, who was a senior executive of the B.F. Goodrich Company. There was a summer mansion adjacent to the home that was once used as a nursing home. It was torn down several years ago.

Wendy Turrell, member of the Lakes Tour Committee, said for the third year in a row, the Akron Symphony Guild's Lakes Tour of Homes had a maximum crowd of 500.

"After 21 years, the tour has become an annual outing for so many, that we fortunately sell out long in advance," she said. "This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Guild and enables us to give several thousand dollars to support the Akron Symphony's fine musicians, both the professionals in the orchestra and the very talented young people in the Youth Orchestra and community singers in the Symphony Chorus." 

The date for the tour next year is July 17, and those interested are suggested to get their tickets early by visiting www.akronsymphony.org, calling 330-535-8131 or emailing info@akronsymphony.org.