Celebrations planned throughout region

DAYTRIPPING

December 06, 1992|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Staff Writer

Holiday celebrations are in full swing as yuletide fever sweeps through the region.

The historic houses of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia are open and welcoming visitors through Wednesday. Seven houses that were once the homes of prominent Philadelphians have been decorated by area garden clubs in the holiday traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries. This year's theme, "A Christmas Party," depicts a holiday festivity in each of the houses: a Christmas wedding, Victorian tea, Christmas banquet, New Year's Eve and others.

The houses are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for children. Tickets include admission to the Horticulture Center, decorated as a "Winter Wonderland" with a cafe, holiday boutique and poinsettia display. The park trolley stops at the Visitor Center, 16th Street and JFK Boulevard, the west entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and all eight tour sites.

For the first time, this year candlelight tours are being offered Monday through Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The tours are by reservation and cost $25. Proceeds benefit the Fairmount Park Houses and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Call (215) 787-5449.

Rockwood Museum open

Rockwood Museum, a 19th-century country estate in Wilmington, is open for holiday tours through Jan. 2. At the manor house you see how one family celebrated Christmas at the turn of the century. A tree is covered with Victorian ornaments, cornucopias and real lead tinsel; the dining table is spread with rich holiday food, and upstairs the family's best clothing is laid out on beds. Tours are offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults; $4.50 for seniors, and $2 for ages 5 to 16.

Evening tours are scheduled Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. A program of Christmas music on harpsichord and flute will be performed by faculty and students from the Wilmington Music School. Costumed guides will conduct tours of the mansion, and hot cider and sweets will be served at the conclusion of the evening. Tickets cost $12 and reservations are required. Rockwood is at 610 Shipley Road in Wilmington. Call (302) 761-4340.

Historic B&B tour

Nine historic bed and breakfast inns will be decked out for the holidays during the annual Inns of the Blue Ridge Christmas Tour next Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is the sixth year for the self-guided driving tour, which is held for the benefit of the Hospice of Frederick County. Each inn is decorated in the manner of its period. Many will offer refreshments, while others provide musical entertainment or exhibits. The list includes the National Pike Inn and Strawberry Inn in New Market; Tyler-Spite House and Spring Bank Inn in Frederick; Newel Post in Uniontown; Beaver Creek House near Hagerstown, Piper House at Antietam National Battlefield; Antietam Overlook Farm in Keedysville, and the Thomas Shepard Inn in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Nearby, the 1732 Thomas Shepherd Grist Mill will also be open to tour participants. Tickets cost $12.50. Call (301) 694-6444.

Gunston Hall celebrates

Gunston Hall, the colonial home of George Mason in Lorton, Va., will celebrate an 18th-century Christmas next weekend. During "Carols by Candlelight," costumed actors will portray members of the Mason family in rooms arranged for a holiday party. A fiddler will play during each program in the candlelit hall, and handbell ringers or choral groups will perform on different days. There will be open hearth cooking demonstrations in the outside kitchen, and guests can enjoy refreshments and carol singing in the meeting room. Gifts and greens will be for sale. Hours are 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; $1.50 for students through the 12th grade. Take the Lorton/Gunston Hall exit off U.S. 1 or Interstate 95. Call (703) 550-9220.

Civil War Christmas

A Civil War Christmas will be celebrated at Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site in Alexandria, Va., during an open house on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The fort was built to protect Washington from possible Confederate invasion. A small Christmas camp depicts Santa visiting the troops and an officer's hut containing a gift box from home and decorated with a small tree and other artifacts. Soldiers and civilians in period dress will welcome visitors to an afternoon of recorder music, 19th-century holiday decorations, and hot mulled cider and homemade sweets. If weather permits, soldiers will give guided tours of the fort. Admission is free. The fort is at 4301 West Braddock Road in Alexandria. Call (703) 838-4848.

Princess Anne event

A holiday celebration is planned on Saturday in Princess Anne. The all-day event begins with breakfast with Santa at St. Andrew's Parish House, followed by a Christmas parade at 11 a.m. That afternoon a holiday festival, featuring crafts, pony rides and baked goods, will be held in Manokin River Park.

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