Historic Beaufort Foundation will open doors to visitors for three days October 22, 23 & 24, allowing an intimate view of 22 private homes, churches and gardens at the Fall Festival of Houses & Gardens.

A fundraiser for Historic Beaufort Foundation for more than 26 years, the tour features Beaufort’s diverse architecture and interiors representing three centuries. Tickets are available online at www.historicbeaufort.org

Distinct tours are offered each of the three days and include a “candlelight tour” in the National Historic Landmark on Friday night, a ramble around the historic district and to a ca. 1875 plantation/farm on Saturday and a culinary tour of homes with new kitchens on Sunday in the downtown walking neighborhoods on The Point, Pigeon Point and Bay Street.

Homeowners, chefs and restaurants, garden clubs and 300 volunteers will join hands in support of the Foundation’s main fundraiser to fund preservation activities in Beaufort which will celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2011. Community support and pride will be evident for the self-paced, self-guided tours.

The Friday “candlelight” tour starts just at dusk and will take visitors through Victorian-era homes and the early 19th century St. Helena Episcopal Church rectory on Craven Street, as well as off-Craven detours to three new homes indistinguishable from the old. Additionally, a short walk down Church and North streets from Craven will include a musical performance in the ca. 1929 First Presbyterian Church and the opening of Chuck Dalvini’s and artist Gloria Dalvini’s ca. 1936 bungalow and studio.

Saturday’s Ramble Around Beaufort will showcase historic homes throughout the district and will include the recently restored Pickpocket Plantation on the outskirts of town. The home of the truck farming Trask family up until the early 20th century, the house and surrounding grounds are being redeveloped as a small farm by local preservationist John Keith. Sweetgrass basket craftswoman Jerry Taylor will be demonstrating her art and offer pieces for sale

Other homes and sites on the tour date from the ca. 1810-15 Riverview on the Beaufort River to a mid-20th century river house. The 1907 Beth Israel Synagogue on Scott’s Street and the antebellum Henry Farmer House Garden on East Street that was first developed in the 1850s will also be open.

Box lunches ordered in advance will be available on Saturday’s tour on The Green in The Point and will support Beaufort County Open Land Trust’s purchase of The Green to protect it from development.

Sunday’s popular kitchens and cuisine tour takes visitors into six 21st-century kitchens, some in historic homes and some in new homes, in the historic district. Most are within walking distance of each other and some have fabulous water views from which visitors can enjoy a glass of wine and a taste of a regional specialty prepared for the occasion by six of Beaufort’s top chefs.

Other weekend events include the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Beaufort Garden Club with a flower show at the Verdier House, 801 Bay Street Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a Fall Art Walk on Saturday evening, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., sponsored by the Guild of Beaufort Galleries, Bay Street and beyond,

Tour tickets are $40 per day and Saturday’s box lunch tickets are $16. Both can be ordered online by going to www.historicbeaufort.org or by calling Historic Beaufort Foundation at 843-379-3331. Tickets may be bought in person after October 15th at the Verdier House, 801 Bay Street. A descriptive brochure and ticket order form is available by calling the Foundation. All sales are final and there are no refunds, rain or shine.