• The Vanderbilt Mansion returns with grand decorations and a free open house on 12/3, 10 am – 8 pm. See gifts the Vanderbilts gave to their staff.
• Locust Grove’s lavishly decorated mansion opens for tours Thanksgiving Weekend, 10 am – 5 pm. December Sundays mean scavenger Holiday House Hunts. Kids follow a poem to search for the tiny homes of elfin residents, and hear storyteller Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi.
• Staatsburgh State Historic Site hosts A Gilded Age Christmas, with sumptuous decorations and craft and children’s programs. The mansion’s lavish decor evokes a turn-of-the-century style. Each December Sunday, children become detectives to solve a “history mystery” by talking with costumed interpreters, getting clues to discover “whodunit.”
• Franklin D. Roosevelt's Home and Eleanor’s Val-Kill are decorated in the traditions of the Roosevelt Family, and host historic Hyde Park Christmas open houses with free tours on 12/9.
• FDR Presidential Library & Museum’s Children’s Reading Festival & activities also 12/9.
• Florists and designers transform Wilderstein (FDR’s cousin Daisy’s Rhinebeck home) into a magical holiday wonderland!
• Christmas at Clermont kicks off the holiday season with guided tours, candlelight receptions and children's activities. The simple elegance of the colonial era lends itself to Candlelight Tours at Mount Gulian in Beacon and Pawling's John Kane House. Look for holiday programs at the Elmendorph Inn in Red Hook and Van Wyck Homestead in Fishkill.
Holiday Shopping: Our museum & estate shops stock stylish, unique gifts. Visit Dutchess Handmade pop-up shop at Arts Mid-Hudson. Arts & craft fairs at Van Wyck Homestead Museum, Dutchess Community College & Arlington High that yield distinctive gifts AND support artists. Give locally made food and beverages from the Taste NY Market.
Make Your Own Holiday Ornament at Beacon’s Hudson Beach Glass. Spend 15 minutes to create an ornament lasting a lifetime!
Tree Lightings: Feeling nostalgic? Check out town tree and Menorah lighting ceremonies. The Celebration of Lights Parade & Fireworks in Poughkeepsie is Friday, Dec. 1, followed by “The Princess Bride” at the Bardavon. Stay for Sinterklaas Rhinebeck, a village-wide Dutch celebration, with music, activities and the Starlight Parade on Sat., Dec. 2.
With hundreds of events, Dutchess isn’t far from Whoville. Let visions of sugarplums dance in your head this season.