Historic holiday tours around the Valley

Plan now to enjoy all the festivities!

Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2009
The Hudson Valley is home to some of the most majestic historic houses in the country. At holiday time, these homes are elaborately dressed with trees, lights and period decorations that are a sight to behold. Plan now so you can see them all! Enjoy your holidays!

Clermont State Historical Site                                      

Clermont State Historical Site in Germantown was designated a United States National Historic Landmark in 1973. Clermont is also an anchor in the Hudson River National Landmark District (designated in 1990), a twenty-mile stretch of riverfront land in northern Dutchess and southern Columbia counties. It’s restored to its early twentieth-century appearance, Clermont’s furnishings and airy pastoral landscapes and vistas reflect the continuum of a unique and vanishing way of life along the Hudson River.

Every year, Clermont administrators select a different theme to encourage visitors who have been here in the past to return to this breathtaking historical site. This year's theme is the Bounty of the Hudson and will focus on the rich natural resources of the area.

Holiday tours and Christmas celebrations for children begin in December. On December 5 and 6, A Child’s Christmas will be held for children 3-11 ($12 per child, adults $2) at 10am. On December 13, from 3pm to 6pm, candlelight tours of Clermont will be held and a roaring fire will be lit at 3pm ($5 adults/ $4 seniors; children under 12 free). On December 19 and 20, from 11am-4pm, the Christmas at Clermont Open House will be held (One Clermont Avenue, Germantown, 518-537-4240;

                                                         Boscobel House and Gardens

Completed in 1808 for the States Dyckman family, Boscobel House is regarded as one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the country. It contains an extensive and important collection of Federal-period furniture and decorative arts, many of which were crafted by premier New York cabinetmakers Duncan Phyfe and Michael Allison. Take one step onto the property of Boscobel on Route 9D in Garrison, and the view will take your breath away. Enjoy the expansive views overlooking the Hudson Valley at Boscobel and then follow it up with a Yuletide Tea, held Wednesdays & Sundays in December.

Enjoy a festive Afternoon Tea in Boscobel’s Exhibition Gallery, merrily decorated for the season. Your choice of teas, served in fine china, will be accompanied by a selection of dainty sandwiches and extravagant sweets and will feature a speaker presentation on a variety of historic topics. Prior to the Tea, a guided tour of the House will be offered. Tour begins at 1pm and Tea is at 2:30pm. Reservations required, $40. A children’s tea will be held on December 13. Be sure to check the website for up-to-date information (1601 Route 9D, Garrison; 845-265-3638, www.boscobel.org).

Locust Grove                                                                               

The Samuel Morse Historic site is a 180-acre estate located on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie. Their calendar is jam-packed with holiday activities. Splurge on a holiday party December 5 at 5:30pm, when Locust Grove hosts the opening day of their holiday season. Tour the mansion at twilight, stroll the grounds by candlelight, and eat a historically-inspired four-course holiday dinner, presented by Chef Charlie Fells from the Artist’s Palate.

The all-inclusive cost is $100 per person or $700 for a table of 8. Looking for something to do with your grandkids? Children and their families are invited to Locust Grove on Sunday afternoons for this holiday special which features the classic tale ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. With your own unique book in hand, collect the clues to the tale as your travel through the mansion’s decorated rooms. Can you find the sleeping mouse, the children’s stockings, and father’s sleeping cap? After you have found the clues, you’ll hear the tale of of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas as well as other Christmas favorites. Sundays, December 6, 13 and 20, (12pm-4pm); $7/child, $10/adult (2683 South Rd., Poughkeepsie, 845-454-4500; www.lgny.org).

Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site

This Georgian-style Ellison House served as the headquarters for several of the Continental Army’s key generals during the American Revolution. Enjoy candle light tours of this elegant 1754 Ellison mansion decorated for the season in 18th-century fashion. Hear period music throughout the evening. House staff will be dressed in period clothing. 6pm-8pm. Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site, New Windsor. Forge Hill Rd., Vails Gate, 845-561-5498; www.nysparks.com).

Museum Village

Through educational programs, hands-on-exhibits and special events Museum Village is dedicated to exploring and interpreting 19th century rural life as well as inspiring an appreciation for the evolution of industry and technology in America. They will be holding Dickens’ Christmas Carol Living Vignettes. Experience the Victorian holidays and the true holiday spirit through Ghosts of the Past, Present and Future. Check the website for date and times. Museum Village, 1010 Route 17M, Monroe;
845-782-8247; www.museumvillage.org.

Newburgh Historical Society Candlelight House Tour 

On December 13, take a tour of private homes in and around Newburgh. This annual tour highlights the best of Newburgh’s rich architectural history, 12pm-5pm, advance tickets, $20. Crawford House, Newburgh. 845-561-2585; www.newburghhistoricalsociety.com.
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