Three Historic Homes on Route 9 Get in the Holiday Spirit

Lyndhurst, Tarrytown

This December, several manors on Route 9 are dressing their grand historic halls to the nines in celebration of the holidays. Historic Hudson Valley offers costumed and candlelit tours of Sunnyside and Van Cortland Manor, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation lights up Lyndhurst with storybook themes sure to inspire childlike wonderment.

Travel to Tarrytown early in the morning for some one-of-a-kind antique or boutique gift shopping on Main Street. Grab a pint at the Set Back Inn, a coffee at Coffee Labs Roasters, a leisurely locavore meal at Sweet Grass Grill or enjoy some of the best Greek food north of Astoria at Lefteris Gyro.

Bring the family or a date to the Hudson Valley on a memorable holiday trip that includes free cups of cider by a bonfire, caroling, parlor games, and lantern-guided tours through orchards and ye olde homes.

Sunnyside candlight tourEvening Candlelight Tours at Sunnyside

Where: 9 West Sunnyside Lane, Irvington, NY

When: Saturdays, December 18 and 26; timed-entry tours available from 4-8 p.m.

Why: The charming cottage that once belonged to author Washington Irving welcomes visitors with candlelit costumed tours, bringing a mid-19th century Christmas to life. Evergreen garlands decorate the hearths, excerpts are read from seasonal letters Irving wrote to friends and family, and a pianist encourages the crowd to participate in a holiday carol. Go early in the evening and you’ll have light enough to appreciate the exterior of the home and its gorgeous views of the Hudson River. Enjoy a free cup of cider near a bonfire in the kitchen yard.

Cost: Adults, $14; children 5-17, $6; children under 5, free.

How to get there: Take Metro-North’s Hudson Line express train to the Tarrytown station (just under 40 minutes from Manhattan) where cabs wait to meet trains.  The ride to Sunnyside is approximately 5 minutes.

snow queen decor at lyndhurstA Fairy Tale Holiday at Lyndhurst

Where: Lyndhurst Museum Lane, Tarrytown, NY

When: Saturdays, December 18 and 26; timed-entry tours available from 4-7pm.  Sunday, December 19, timed-entry tours available from 3-6pm.

Why: The stunning gothic revival mansion once home to Gilded Age railroad magnate Jay Gould is decorated in must-see style with each room boasting holiday decorations inspired by fairy tales. In addition to Christmas trees and twinkling lights galore, you’ll find Jack’s beanstalk, a bathroom influenced by The Little Mermaid, and Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf tucked into a gorgeously carved bed for the night. A pianist and harpist are on site to perform and free cider is available downstairs just off of the gift shop.

Cost: Adults, $15; children 3-12, $6; children under 3, free.

How to get there: Take Metro-North’s Hudson Line express train to the Tarrytown station (just under 40 minutes from Manhattan) where cabs wait to meet trains.  The ride to Lyndhurst is approximately 5 minutes.

Van Cortlandt ManorEvening Candlelight Tours at Van Cortlandt Manor

Where: Croton-on-Hudson, NY

When: Saturdays, December 18 and 26; timed-entry tours available from 4-8 p.m.

Why: The historic home of one of the most prominent families of post-Revolutionary era New York, Van Cortlandt Manor welcomes the season with a late 18th-century style recreation of “Twelfth Night.” A guide ferries you through the old orchard by lantern, fielding questions and introducing visitors to the celebration’s Lord of Misrule. Anticipate costumed tours of candlelit rooms decorated with holiday greens, a parlor game or two and maybe even participate in a period dance to the tune of a fiddle. Toast your journey back in time with a free cup of cider by a roaring fire.

Cost: Adults, $14; children 5-17, $6; children under 5, free.

How to get there: Take Metro-North’s Hudson Line express train to the Croton-on-Hudson station (about an hour from Manhattan) where cabs wait to meet trains. The ride to Van Cortlandt Manor is approximately 5 minutes.

Photos: Courtesy of Amy Lee Pearsall and Historic Hudson Valley

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    Please Note: Photos of Van Cortlandt Manor and Washington Irving’s Sunnyside are by Anthony Pellegrino (www.flickr.com/badtones)