The holiday season is fast approaching. Searching for festivities that will spark some holiday spirit? Step inside an old stone home! We’ve rounded up our top six Christmas home tours and holiday events, sure to warm your heart.
1. Firelight Festival, Henry Whitfield State Museum, Guildford, CT
On December 4, from 4 to 8 p.m., Connecticut’s oldest home, illuminated by outdoor fires and luminaria, will be open for a holiday home tour. Popcorn, marshmallows, s’mores, hot cider and hot chocolate will be served and a special reading of “The Night Before Christmas” are among the planned festivities. Guests are encouraged to view the Holidaze exhibit and try their hand at natural holiday ornaments crafts.
2. Holiday Candlelight Tours, Mount Vernon Hotel, New York, NY
On December 4 and 5 at 6:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. nightly, one of Manhattan’s oldest stone structures, a circa-1799 carriage house, and, later, a posh vacation retreat for wealthy New Yorkers, will be open for holiday tours. Visitors will be treated to holiday and period music as well as traditional holiday refreshments and reenactments.
3. Holiday Candlelight Tours, Kip’s Castle, Verona, NJ
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during December, this circa-1905, 9,000-square-foot stone castle, inspired by the design of medieval Norman structures, will be open for nighttime tours. The home, originally that of a textile baron and later used as a monastery, will be adorned in circa-1920s holiday finery. The history of the home as well as its Tiffany windows will be shared during tours.
4. Christmas City Stroll, Bethlehem, PA
This holiday season, surround yourself by old stone homes and structures in the historic town of Bethlehem, a mission community established by Moravians in 1741. Running through January 10, certified guides, dressed in period costumes, will lead visitors on tours of Bethlehem, highlighting town history, colonial and Victorian architecture and holiday decorating traditions, including candles in windows and the Bethlehem star. The tour route is part of Bethlehem’s National Historic Landmark District, designated by the Secretary of the Interior in 2012.
5. Midnight Madness, Ellicott City, MD
On December 4, beginning at 6 p.m. and running through 12 a.m. on December 5, the historic town of Ellicott City, founded in 1772, will be alive with holiday spirit. The historic district, replete with old stone structures, will be open all night for shopping and dining, as carolers stroll through the streets and Santa pays a surprise visit. Shop windows will be decorated for the holidays with a contest crowning the best decked.
6. “Christmas Around the World” Tours, Belle Grove, Middletown, VA
How did early American’s celebrate the holiday season? Find out at Belle Grove Historic Plantation, which will be open for tours from Friday, December 4, through Wednesday, December 30. The Shenandoah Valley manor home, built by Major Isaac Hite and his wife Nelly Madison Hite, sister of President James Madison, will be adorned with themed decorations provided by regional garden clubs. A grand Christmas tree will be on display in the historic parlor and spiced tea and cookies will be served by the warming fire of the kitchen’s expansive open hearth.