Holiday Happenings

’Tis the season — for joyful and sacred music, dancing toy soldiers, Dickensian drama, candlelight tours of historic sites, afternoon tea parties, and entertaining strolls through Valley towns big and small


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Holiday Houses

Dec. 4-5: The annual Open House Weekend takes place at the Pruyn House. Holiday greens adorn the 18th-century Dutch homestead. On Saturday, purchase decorations created by Blue Creek Garden Club members at the boutique (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). On Sunday, tour the house, hear seasonal music by the Recorders, and savor some refreshments (12:30-4 p.m.). Dec. 18: Visit the Pruyn House for the Childrens’ Annual Holiday Party. Get your face painted, have a snack, and hobnob with Mr. Claus. 1-3 p.m. • 207 Old Niskayuna Rd., Newtonville. 518-783-1435 or

Dec. 3-Jan. 2: Get into the holiday spirit at Olana. House tours show visitors what it was like to spend Christmas with the Churches: Hear son Frederic Joseph’s letter to Santa, and discover what other family members and visitors thought of their experiences at painter Frederic Church’s Moorish-style mansion. Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $9, $8 seniors & students, under 12 free. Dec. 5: Have a hands-on holiday — and go home with some traditional decorations — by taking part in the Victorian Wreaths & Kissing Balls class taught by Mary Hughes, caretaker of Olana’s flower garden (1-4 p.m. $10). Afterwards, warm up at the Annual Holiday Bonfire, which features music by the Merry Minstrels, who perform Victorian carols. 2-4 p.m. Dec. 11: The Family Tour explores the house, its paintings, and artifacts from a child’s perspective. 11:30 a.m. $9, $8 seniors & students, free under 12; reservations required. • 5720 Rte. 9G, Hudson. 518-828-0135 or

Dec. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 26-27: Florists and interior designers transform Wilderstein into a seasonal wonderland. Tour the Victorian manse at your own pace. Guides share fun facts and answer questions about the home and the Suckley family (relatives of Franklin D. Roosevelt) who lived there. 1-4 p.m. $10; $9 seniors & students, under 12 free. Dec. 11: Enjoy afternoon tea at Wilderstein, complete with finger sandwiches, homemade cakes, and cookies. 1 p.m. $25, $10 children; reservations required. • 330 Morton Rd., Rhinebeck. 845-876-4818 or

Dec. 5: At the Vanderbilt Mansion Christmas Open House, guests hear traditional music, enjoy refreshments, and learn about the Vanderbilts’ December visits to their opulent estate. In the early 20th century, the family would present each child in Hyde Park with a gift for the holidays — often handed out by Louise Vanderbilt herself from her red velvet sleigh. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. • Albany Post Rd. (Rte. 9), Hyde Park. 845-229-7770 or

Dec. 4, 11, 18 & 26-31: Relive the joy of Christmas past during Locust Grove’s Decorated Holiday Tours. Each room of the lavishly decked-out, A.J. Davis-designed villa illustrates a passage from “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” 10 a.m.-5 p.m., last tour at 3:15 p.m. $10, $6 children under 12. Dec. 4: As part of the site’s Twilight Tour, guests can stroll through the house and grounds by candlelight, then enjoy a historically inspired four-course holiday meal. 5:30 p.m. $100. Dec. 5, 12, 19: During the Hunt for the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” children collect clues — three red hens, two turtle doves — related to the text of the classic song. After you’ve found them all, enjoy refreshments and a storytelling performance. 12-4 p.m. $10, $8 children. • 2683 South Rd. (Rte. 9), Poughkeepsie. 845-454-4500 or

Dec. 12 & 19: See the 18th-century Mount Gulian homestead — decorated by the Tioranda Garden Club and all aglow — during the Holiday Candlelight Tour. From 4-6 p.m. each day, living history performances by actors portraying historical figures James F. Brown (an emancipated slave) and Mary Anna Verplanck (mistress of Mount Gulian and Brown’s employer) give an added dimension to the tour. 3-7 p.m. $8, $6 seniors, $4 children. Dec. 29: Gather for some tea, crafts, and good cheer at the site’s Children’s Holiday Victorian Tea. Scones with jam, crustless sandwiches, and dainty desserts — along with an assortment of teas — are served on fine china. 12-2 p.m. $15, $12 children; reservations required. • 145 Sterling St., Beacon. 845-831-8172 or

Dec. 12: Spend the afternoon visiting more than a dozen Newburgh houses on the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands’ self-guided Candlelight Tour of Homes. Begin at the 1830s residence of Captain David Crawford, where you’ll receive an illustrated booklet and map of the sites on the tour (which includes seasonally decorated homes from several time periods). 12-5 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 day of the tour. • 189 Montgomery St., Newburgh. 845-561-2585 or

Dec. 4: During Cold Spring by Candlelight, you can visit gaily decorated historic homes and sites, listen to caroling, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and say hello to Old St. Nick. You’ll also enjoy discounts at local stores and restaurants in the quaint village; proceeds from the event benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities in Putnam County. 12-6 p.m. $25, $20 seniors, $12 children in advance, $30/$25/$15 on the day. • Cold Spring. 845-278-7272, ext. 287 or

Thru Dec. 31: Feel at home for the holidays by touring Boscobel. The 19th-century neoclassical mansion is all decked out with fruit and flowers for the yuletide season. Docents entertain you with tales of Christmas traditions, and you’ll get a peek at what life was like so many years ago (daily except Tuesday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). On Dec. 31, museum guides don period costumes and share “inside stories” of the Dyckman family during the tour. 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. $16, $13 seniors, $8 children 6-14, under six free. On Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the month, the site hosts a Yuletide Tea after your tour. Sip tea from fine china while savoring a variety of miniature sandwiches and extravagant sweets. 1 p.m. $40, reservations required. Dec. 13: For kids ages 5-12 there will be a special Children’s Tea with snacks and surprises for the young ones. $20, reservations required. Call for time and additional information. • 1601 Rte. 9D, Garrison. 845-265-3638 or

sunnysideLighting the way: Lanterns lead visitors through the twilight to Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in Tarrytown

Dec. 11, 18, 26: Experience an 1850s holiday during a candlelight tour at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. Visitors see the cottage decorated with holly, evergreens, and candles while being guided down a lantern-lit path. Christmas tales and Irving’s family letters are read, costumed guides sing holiday carols around the piano, and hot cider is served outdoors by a roaring fire. Tours begin at 4 p.m. $14, $6 children 5-17, free under 5; reservations required. • 89 W. Sunnyside Ln., Tarrytown. 914-631-8200, ext. 618 or

Dec. 11, 18, 26: Twelfth Night festivities are celebrated at Van Cortlandt Manor, the 18th-century home of one of the Revolutionary era’s wealthiest families. Holiday greens and fruit adorn the main house, which rings out with live music. Take a lantern-lit stroll through the orchard to the tenant house (where you’ll meet the Lord of Misrule, the overseer of holiday revelry). In the ferry house, guests are invited to dance, drink, and make merry. Tours begin at 4 p.m. $14, $6 for children 5-17, free under 5; reservations required. • 525 S. Riverside Ave., Croton-on-Hudson. 914-631-8200, ext. 618 or

Dec. 4-19: Bring the whole family for a wintery evening visit to Lyndhurst during its Fairy Tale Holiday gatherings. Enjoy hot cider and live music, and explore the rooms decorated with holiday spirit in mind. Sat. 4-7 p.m.. Sun. 3-6 p.m. $15, $6 children 6-12, under 6 free; reservations required. Dec. 27-31: Daytime guided tours of the seasonally decorated mansion are offered from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call for ticket information. • 635 S. Broadway, Tarrytown. 914-631-4481 or

Dec. 5: Explore Glenview, the 19th-century home on the grounds of the Hudson River Museum, which is festively decorated and abuzz with holiday charm. Costumed interpreters describe the Victorian traditions of gift-giving and other holiday celebrations. 1-3 p.m. Afterwards, enjoy a performance by Treble in Paradise, an all-female a cappella group, which sings your holiday favorites. 3:15-4 p.m. Call for ticket information. • 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914-963-4550 or

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