MANCHESTER- December 25 marks the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln family’s 1912 Christmas at their Vermont getaway and the home is looking as it should as presidential son Robert Lincoln and his wife Mary prepare for the holiday. The mansion’s windows are candlelit and there’s a fresh scent of balsam amid floral flourishes and satin ribbon. The tree has been cut and brought in from the woods. Its graceful boughs are hung with lovely period appropriate ornaments and candles. The grandchildren have hung their stockings from the parlor mantel, the sweet smell of apples and cinnamon wafts from the country kitchen, and in the servants’ dining room a bowl of unstrung popcorn and cranberries speaks to the shared anticipation of all in the house. Festive holiday tunes from Lincoln’s collection of Aeolian pipe organ music fills the house. Lights, sights, sounds, and scents of the season abound at Hildene from now through January 2.
As it has been for decades, Hildene remains the place to be during the holiday season. All visitors check in at the welcome center, located in the historic carriage barn, also home to the museum store. An admission fee is not required for the center or store. From 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily, visitors can tour the home with docents and staff on hand to answer questions. On weekends local musicians bring the organ or Mary Harlan Lincoln’s Steinway to life with their talents.
Guided tours are offered for an additional fee with a prior reservation. Guests can also visit the Rowland Agricultural Center at Hildene Farm or experience 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. The historic Lincoln site is closed December 24 and 25.
For more information on the holidays at Hildene visit www.hildene.org.