Christmas Eve 1912
From December 5 through January 1, it’s Christmas Eve 1912 at Hildene. The mansion’s windows are candlelit and there’s a fresh scent of balsam amidst floral flourishes and satin ribbon. The tree has been cut and brought in from the woods, its graceful boughs hung with ornaments and candles. The dining room table is set for dinner. The Lincoln grandchildren have hung their stockings from the parlor mantle. The sweet smell of apple and cinnamon wafts from the country kitchen and in the servant’s dining room a bowl of unstrung popcorn and cranberries speaks to the shared anticipation of all in the house. A selection of holiday tunes from the Lincolns’ collection of Aeolian pipe organ music fills the house.
The lights, sights, sounds and scents of the season abound at this historic place, Robert Lincoln’s ancestral home and home to three generations of President Lincoln’s descendants for 70 years. Whether guests choose to visit the Lincoln family’s home decorated for Christmas or to browse the Museum Store and Welcome Center in the carriage barn, Hxildene remains a special place to be during the holiday season. Admission fee is not required for visitors to the Welcome Center and the Museum Store.
From 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. daily, visitors can tour the home with staff and docents on hand to answer questions. On weekends local musicians bring the organ or Mary Harlan’s Steinway to life with their talents. Guided tours at 1 p.m. are offered with prior reservation. Guests can also visit the Rowland Agricultural Center at Hildene Farm or board the Pullman palace car, Sunbeam. Admission is $16 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 14. Members, volunteers and children under 6 are free. For more information, hildene.org.