At Stetson, guests linked up with guides for an approximately 30-minute tour of the historic campus, once the site of a military academy and the Rolyat Hotel.
Homeowners along the route rolled out the pink carpet, inviting tourists into their homes to decor ranging from classic Florida style to the thoroughly modern, with lots of eclectic Gulfport flare in the mix.
One of this year’s most anticipated homes was a 1920s Mediterranean Revival rumored to have once been home to baseball legend Babe Ruth, which featured a tour of the upstairs “Maid’s Quarters” and a “haunted” bathroom with vaulted, tiled ceilings.
Eddie Smith and Patrick Mortimer showcased their 1959 home, which they have lovingly restored over the past few years. The duo have given the home loads of personal charm, including a large outdoor entertaining area, complete with ponds, a pool and a putting green. Smith’s art is also featured throughout.
Other highlights on a tour full of them included a Spanish style stunner – built by Jack Taylor, owner of the Rolyat Hotel, in 1925 – and currently owned by Scott Linde, president of the Gulfport Merchants Association and owner of Mangia in downtown Gulfport. According to the Pink Flamingo tour book, the home was rumored to feature drinking, gambling and prostitution during the depression.
Organizers said that this year’s tour was a great success, attracting over 800 people. The event is sponsored by the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce and proceeds benefit the chamber’s Welcome Center in downtown Gulfport.