The museums committee of Oglebay Institute is cooking up a special treat for its summer fundraiser - a Secret Kitchens of Wheeling Tour and Gourmet Market.
Serving up plenty of design inspiration, the event takes place Saturday, June 11, and features four of Wheeling's "must-see" kitchens. Guests will walk through innovative and interesting host kitchens and get ideas for a total kitchen re-do, ways to incorporate small, clever details into their existing kitchens and a chance to simply look and marvel.
In addition to the tour, guests can shop the Gourmet Market, featuring 30 merchants and artisans selling items such as kitchen accessories, plants and herbs, cookbooks, pottery, scented candles, artwork, handmade jewelry, floral wreaths, outdoor furniture, handmade baskets, gourmet foods and spices, cookware and cutlery.
Oglebay Institute Museums Director Christin Byrum said this popular biennial event is "perfect for those who like how-to shows or decorating magazines.
"All of the kitchens are very different in terms of style, design and decor, ranging from French Renaissance to eco-friendly, and each is very reflective of its owner's personality," she said.
Byrum said one thing the featured kitchens have in common is that "they are all great examples of how kitchens can be transformed into more than just a place to cook and eat. These kitchens are gathering spots, providing a place for visiting and entertaining."
She added that these innovative kitchens are sure to elicit ideas for tour goers to take home. "Each is a showpiece of ideas ranging from decor to creative use of space to unique features and more," she remarked.
Wheeling residents Samantha Buch and Sherry Hearne co-chair this fundraiser for the Museums of Oglebay Institute. Chairs of the vendors market, Stephanie Grove and Barbara Ruben, turn the brick pathways of Oglebay's Burton Center into an extraordinary marketplace. Other committee members assist them. Event sponsors are Shutler Cabinets and Don's Appliances.
To discover whose kitchens are being featured, tour-guests must arrive at the Mansion Museum in Oglebay Park between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, June 11. Guests will purchase a ticket and receive a detailed map to find each of the secret kitchens. Names of the featured homeowners will be revealed then.
The last tickets will be sold at 2 p.m., and guests have until 4 p.m. to take the self-guided tour. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the Mansion Museum and is free to the public.
Vendors will be setting up their wares along the brick walkways outside the Burton Center, adjacent to the Mansion Museum. Vendors from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio include Dolce Pizzelles Cookie Co., Lena's Handbags, FXB, Janet Hart Watercolors, Wilson Stained and Fused Glass, Silpada Designs, Bead Jeweled, Short Creek Soap Works, Sandi's Flame Glass Beads and Jewelry, Premier Jewelry, Nicky's Garden Center, Rainie Creations, Izzy B. Customs and Gourmet Goodies by Alisha.
Secret Kitchen Tour tickets are available for advance purchase at the Mansion Museum in Oglebay and Stifel Fine Arts Center on National Road.
Tickets will be sold for a higher price at the Mansion Museum the day of the tour.
Visitors may shop the Secret Kitchens Gourmet Market even if they choose not to tour the kitchens. "The marketplace is free and open to the public. Even those not going on the home tour are invited to stop by and see how products from these quality vendors can spice up their own homes, Byrum said.
The Museums of Oglebay Institute include both the Mansion and Glass museums, located in Oglebay Park. Self-guided tours of both museums are offered daily. For more information, call the museums at 304-242-7272.