It’s Christmas Eve 1912 at Hildene, the Linclon Family Home
For guests who visit Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home, December 2 through January 2, it will feel like they’ve stopped by as presidential son, Robert Lincoln, and wife Mary prepare their Vermont home for a family Christmas, just as they did more than 100 years ago. 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. Over nearly four decades, a visit to Hildene during the holidays has become a tradition for many families. The sounds of Christmas resonate throughout the home from the Lincoln’s Aeolian player organ and its more than 900 pipes. On many weekends, area musicians bring the organ and Steinway piano to life by playing of period music. To see the schedule and to learn about these guest musicians, visit hildene.org.
Whether guests choose to visit some or all of the Lincoln family’s estate, touring the home, visiting the goat dairy and cheese-making facility, and boarding a Pullman palace car, they will find holiday spirit aplenty. The Museum Store in the carriage barn, now the Welcome Center, is also a popular destination for holiday shoppers. On Saturday, and Sunday, December 3 and 4, the store hosts its annual open house, offering items inspired by Lincoln family history, the estate’s natural environment, gardens, life on the farm and Vermont products. An expanded student focused section features new choices for children with activity-oriented books, games and project kits on diverse topics from bees and bugs to environmental science, recycling, and sustainability. Hildene is open From 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $20 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 14. Members, volunteers and children under age six are free. Those who purchase the required admission receive a sticker that identifies them to staff across the many Hildene venues. Guided tours for an additional $7.50 per person are offered daily at 1 p.m. with an advance reservation. (Admission is not necessary for visiting the Welcome Center and The Museum Store.) Hildene is closed December 24, 25 and 26. Hildene is located off Main Street/Route 7A south, Manchester.