Downtown Marietta lofts open doors for Christmas tours

Photo by Chad Plauche-Adkins Andi Roberts prepares for a photo shoot at Hot Tomato Portrait Studio and Parlor on the third floor of the Dime Bank building.

MARIETTA — As people stroll down Front Street, their eyes may be naturally drawn to the festive holiday decorations and potential Christmas gifts for friends and loved ones.

It’s forgivable if they don’t look up to notice that many of the buildings and shops downtown have a second floor loft. But for the people who have arched their necks skyward and wondered what happens in the second floor world of downtown, Marietta Main Street offers a tour that will satisfy their curiosity.

This Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m., the annual self-guided tour will allow people access to the lofts featuring eight local businesses and one private residence. The tour will also include two bonus stops at the bell towers of the First Congregational United Church of Christ at 318 Front St., and an early preview of the Christmas trees up for auction that night at the Peoples Bank Theatre.

Sam Tuten, executive director of Marietta Main Street, said the tour will help people realize what Marietta has to offer above the ground floor.

“There are opportunities for residences and businesses on the second floors in Marietta. People can utilize space other than just the ground level,” he said. “Some of the stops will be providing refreshments and have special decorations…we like to leave it up to the hosts on how they will greet their guests.”

Photo by Chad Plauche-Adkins The Hot Tomato comfort station offers Hot Tomato photo subjects a chance to relax in Marietta.

Tuten said the tour allows a glimpse into the historic buildings of downtown Marietta that usually isn’t available.

“(The business owners and residents) are gracious enough to let people come in for a tour,” he said. “People get to look into something they normally don’t get to see.”

Sheree Wilson, office manager at IncSwell at 204 Front St., an office building that rents space to new entrepreneurs and businesses, said they are participating in the loft tour so people could see what one of the newest renovations on Front Street looks like inside.

“We want to show off our building,” she said. “We want the community to know what’s going on in here.”

She said because the building is also the home of Marietta Main Street, joining the loft tour seemed like the logical thing to do.

“People have to come here to get their wristbands for the tour, so it just seemed natural for us to be a part of it,” Wilson said.

The wristband will gain tour participants access to all the stops along the tour, including Hot Tomato Portrait Studio and Parlor on the third floor of the Dime Bank building. The studio offers boudoir photography geared toward the empowerment of all women by showing that beauty takes on many forms. Andi Roberts, owner of Hot Tomato, said educating people about where Marietta has been will help them prepare for the future.

“I want to share Marietta’s rich history with as many people as possible,” she said. “I’m proud how we have transferred the space since we’ve moved in.”

Roberts said the history of the building that her business resides in has shown how technology has affected everyone’s life.

“It used to take all the space in the building just to run the bank,” she said. “We still have two safes in our area. Thinking about how it used to be used compared to now is so interesting. It helps remind people how much things have changed in the last 150 years”

Tickets for the loft tour are still available. They are $20 if purchased at Marietta Main Street’s office at 204 Front St. the day of the event. For more information or to get the discounted price of $15 per ticket, visit mariettamainstreet.org.

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If You Go…

* What: Holiday Loft Tour.

* When: 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

* Where: Downtown Marietta.

* Tickets: $15 pre-purchase, $20 day of tour.

* Tour Stops:

113 Maple St., loft above Passiflora.

204 Front St., IncSwell.

100 Front St., Suite 500, Gregory Gentry & Associates, LLC.

170 Front St., Above Over the Moon Pub & Pizza.

200 Putnam St., Suite 300, Hot Tomato Portrait Studio & Parlor.

219 Second St., second floor, Spalon of Marietta.

219 Second St., second Floor, Blossom Yoga.

121 Putnam St., Putnam Commons.

309 Second St., above Fields Dehmlow & Vessels LLC.

*Bonus stops: Bell towers at First Congregational Church and pre auction viewing of Christmas trees and wreaths at Peoples Bank Theatre.

* Information: To pre-purchase tickets or get more information visit mariettamainstreet.org.

Source: Marietta Main Street