After 50 years, Moorestown’s annual Cooks Tour has become as much a holiday tradition as Christmas cookies and Black Friday sales.
The tour, sponsored by the Curtis Auxiliary of Virtua Memorial Hospital, started out as a tour of Moorestown kitchens. Event organizers would bake goods in the kitchens of the homes and sell them. Eventually the tours moved out of the kitchen into the rest of the home, and became less about cookies and desserts (though you can still buy the perennially popular gingerbread men) and more about the homes and decorations themselves.
“The Cooks Tour is significant not only to Moorestown, but to the communities in our area because all the money raised goes to funding improvements to Virtua Memorial,” said organizer Gina Zegel. “The women who belong to Curtis Auxiliary give freely of their time to make a difference not just for their families, but for the community at large. It has become a local holiday tradition that people seek out and that in itself is worth celebrating.”
Five homes will be showcased on this year’s Cooks Tour—set for Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.—and since this is the 50th anniversary, all of the homes are much older, Zegel said. The newest home, an East Maple Avenue residence, was built in 1939, while the oldest home on the tour, on West Main Street, was built in 1842.
Here’s a little more information about the homes on the tour:
- Three of the homes are on Main Street.
- The 1842 residence was originally built as a tenant house.
- One of the homes on the tour, on East Central Avenue, was the site of a wedding in 1935, at which Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thornton Wilder was the best man and which inspired his classic play, Our Town.
Pre-sale tickets are $20 and can be purchased via mail (using the postcards the Auxiliary sent out earlier) or at the local businesses listed below until Dec. 3. Tickets will also be available for $25 between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. the day of the tour at the Moorestown Community House.
The tickets not only gain entry to each of the five homes—which can be visited in any order—but also to the Auxiliary’s 50th anniversary tea, held at the Community House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the day of the tour.
And of course, guests will also be able to buy the Auxiliary’s traditional homemade gingerbread cookies. But arrive early—they usually go within the first couple hours, said Zegel. “We just can’t make enough.”
The proceeds from this year’s event will benefit cardiac services at Virtua. The Auxiliary raised about $35,000 from last year’s tour for the Mother and Child Unit at the hospital.
“We hope to be able to raise as much as did last year, if not more,” Zegel said.
Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at the following merchants:
- Audrey Shinn Interiors
- Carl's Shoes
- Flagg's Garden Center
- Kitchen Kapers (Moorestown and Marlton)
- La Di Da Gifts
- Moorestown Community House
- Moorestown Flower Shoppe
- Moorestown Hardware
- Moorestown Running Company
- Peter Pan Gifts
- Ralph's Market
- Ramblewood Garden Center - Mt. Laurel
- Salon Caryn Max
- Signature Designs
Tickets must be presented to get into each of the homes on the tour, as well as the anniversary tea.