Candlelight tours light up area's holiday calendar


December 09, 1990|By Dorothy Fleetwood

Christmas candlelight tours predominate in the week's calendar. One such tour takes place next Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. in the 19th century village of Uniontown. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Uniontown is about six miles west of Westminster. On tour are four private homes, a 19th century bank, a one-room schoolhouse, a 19th century doctor's office, an operating blacksmith shop, two summer kitchens and two churches.

Homes range in style from an 18th century Colonial to a 19th century Victorian and feature such details as marbleized faux finishing, stenciling, stained glass and decorative woodwork and plaster. Strolling carolers will add to the festive spirit as will horse-drawn carriage rides through town. In one of the houses participants can enjoy mulled cider and homemade treats while listening to music by a flute ensemble.

Admission is $10 and proceeds will be used to continue restoration on the town's old bank and schoolhouse. To reach Uniontown take Route 140 (Reisterstown Road) north, then go left on Route 31 and right on Uniontown Road. For information, call (301) 775-7635 (evenings).


Gunston Hall Plantation, the home of George Mason in Mason Neck, Va., will offer "Carols by Candlelight" Friday through next Sunday. The mansion will be decorated for an 18th century holiday party using materials gathered from the grounds. Costumed docents will demonstrate open-hearth cooking in the outside kitchen house, while the 1st Virginia Regiment encamps on the lawn.

Following tours of the mansion, carol singing and refreshments will be offered in the Ann Mason Meeting Room. Musical entertainment is scheduled Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $4 for adults, $1 for students through grade 12. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Gunston Hall is 20 miles south of Washington and can be reached by taking Interstate 95 or the George Washington Parkway to U.S. 1. For information, call (703) 550-9220.


Stratford Hall Plantation, home of Robert E. Lee in Stratford, Va., will host its annual Christmas Candlelight Reception on Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

During tours of the festively decorated Great House two groups of carolers will sing and refreshments will be served in the Stetson Reception Center. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for ages 6 to 18, free for under 6.

Stratford Hall is just off Route 3 on Route 214, six miles north of Montross, Va. For information, call (804) 493-8038.


A Candlelight Christmas in Old New Castle, Del., will be presented Thursday through next Sunday. A tour of the town's decorated historic buildings will be featured along with performances of instrumental or choral music in two churches and the Read House. Shops will be festively decorated and offer complimentary refreshments.

Hours are 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased 1/2 hour before the tour at the Old Town Hall. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for ages 6 to 12, free for children under 6. For information, call (302) 322-8411.


"Colonial and Victorian Side by Side," presented by Historic Annapolis, contrasts an 18th century Christmas at the William Paca House, 186 Prince George St., and a 19th century Christmas at the Gassaway-Feldmeyer House, 194 Prince George St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Candlelight tours of both houses are scheduled 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, with Christmas greens demonstrations at the Paca House at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday and Colonial cooking demonstrations in the Paca kitchen on Saturday. Christmas music will be performed both days. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for ages 6 to 18, free for children under 6. Call 269-0432.

Simultaneous with this is an 18th Century Christmas Celebration at the Hammond-Harwood House, 19 Maryland Ave., with decorations, costumed hostesses, music, craft demonstrations and refreshments. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 18.

A combination ticket to both celebrations costs $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6 to 18. Call (301) 269-1714.


An annual Old Tyme Christmas Celebration is being held this weekend and next in Harpers Ferry, W. Va. From the lighting of the yuletide bonfire the town crier lights his candle and leads a procession through the narrow streets of town, stopping to light candles in shops and homes along the way. The town begins to glow with the light from hundreds of candles and luminaries that line the streets.

The music of carolers, bellringers, ensembles and choral groups enhance the holiday mood. Children can decorate the town tree with strings of popcorn and pine cone ornaments or enjoy sing-alongs, storytellers, a pinata party, a taffy pull and visits with Santa. There is a live nativity scene at St. Peters Church and next weekend visitors can take free carriage rides through town.

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