Holiday House Tour features historic Mount Penn home

Woman’s Club of Exeter President Lois Ensslen, Fran Vogt of the board of directors, and homeowner Brian Rundle in front of the stone fireplace.
Woman’s Club of Exeter President Lois Ensslen, Fran Vogt of the board of directors, and homeowner Brian Rundle in front of the stone fireplace. Rebecca Blanchard — Digital First Media
The residence at 2603 Hill Road atop Mount Penn has been selected as this year’s featured home.
The residence at 2603 Hill Road atop Mount Penn has been selected as this year’s featured home. Rebecca Blanchard — Digital First Media

The Woman’s Club of Exeter Township is getting ready to host its 19th Annual Holiday House Tour.

This year’s Holiday House Tour in Exeter will invite visitors into one of the oldest homes on Mount Penn.

The tour includes seven homes throughout the Exeter community. Each year the club members will pick one of them to focus on and highlight. The residence at 2603 Hill Road, built in the early 1800s, has been selected as this year’s featured home.

Homeowner Brian Rundle has lived in the historic home for the past 12 years. He says he is the fourth owner in 200 years. While the exact date of its construction is unknown, Rundle says this is the oldest home still standing on the mountain. This is the first time he will be participating in the holiday house tour.

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“The house is built to last,” said Rundle, joking about the up-keep of 200 years and how he plans to keep working on it.

One of the changes the residence has undergone includes a modern addition to the original structure. He pointed at the doorway between the kitchen and the dining areas and explained how it was previously the backdoor entrance.

Another significant change is the size of the property. Originally encompassing 350 acres of the mountain, the residence now claims just over an acre and a half.

Rundle, owner of Rundles Gardens, has a history of working with visuals and often does décor and lighting for his clients. Throughout his home maintains a wide mix of furnishings with a modern and artsy style. He wants visitors to know they’re not coming to a traditional Colonial home.

One of the things he is most excited about is his tree, now fully decorated. “I do always love looking at that Christmas tree and the ornaments on the Christmas tree. That’s probably my favorite part of the season because it is 40 years of memories,” said Rundle. “I remember, we used to go buy one crystal ornament every year.”

Each decorated scene has its own theme.

“I always try to create a story around things,” he said, showing another tree with a dragon theme. He thinks people will be excited to see the house, which to his knowledge has never been opened to the public like this before.

The club’s 19th Annual Holiday House Tour will be held Sunday, Dec. 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. As a part of the tour, visitors drive from home to home with directions and instructions provided. Tickets are still on sale for $15 at the Exeter Community Library or Boscovs East.

About the Author

Rebecca Blanchard

Rebecca won't hesitate to tell you that she has enjoyed writing throughout her entire life. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, she graduated from the professional writing program of Kutztown University in 2012. Rebecca joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in July of 2012 as editor of The Boyertown Area Times following her internship with the newspaper. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling and cooking gluten-free foods. Reach the author at rblanchard@berksmontnews.com or follow Rebecca on Twitter: @boyertowntimes.