His­toric homes open for hol­i­day tours

Fes­tive decor and river­boat cruise make season bright

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Travel & Life - By Doreen Chris­tensen Sun Sen­tinel

Even with­out snow, th­ese once-ayear hol­i­day dis­plays at South Florida’s his­toric homes will help you get into the spirit of the season.

Hol­i­day River Tours at Strana­han House Mu­seum

Take a do­cent-led, Vic­to­rian Christ­mas-themed tour at Fort Laud­erdale’s most his­toric ad­dress, fol­lowed by a char­tered cruise along the New River to ad­mire spec­tac­u­lar dec­o­ra­tions along the water­front.

De­tails: 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 16-23 at 335 SE Sixth Ave. Cost is $35, reser­va­tions re­quired.

Info: 954-524-4736; Strana­hanHouse.org

Hol­i­day Magic Tours at Bon­net House Mu­seum & Gar­dens

Take a self-guided tour of the 35-acre es­tate built in 1920 on a se­cluded spot just off Fort Laud­erdale beach. It’s a true South Florida trea­sure. Nightly en­ter­tain­ment is sched­uled, in­clud­ing a con­cert by the the Yule­tide Car­ol­ers out­fit­ted in Vic­to­rian cos­tumes on Dec. 7.

De­tails: Tours are 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 1–7 at 900 N. Birch Road, Fort Laud­erdale. Cost is $20 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for kids younger than 6.

Info: 954-563-5393; Bon­net House.org

Holi­days at White­hall at Henry Mor­ri­son Fla­gler Mu­seum

Once a year, the 100,000square-foot man­sion built in 1902 by the Florida East Coast Rail­way mag­nate opens for evening tours. En­joy the 16-foot Christ­mas tree in the Grand Hall as hol­i­day tunes play on the mas­sive pipe or­gan, and learn about Gilded-Age Christ­mas tra­di­tions on a do­cen­tled tour. There will be a lec­ture by Carlo DeVito on "Dick­ens & Twain: The Yule­tide Writ­ings and Tra­di­tions of the World's Great­est Writ­ers” at 2 p.m. Dec. 2.

De­tails: Tours will be at 6:45, 7 and 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 19-20, and

6:45, 7, 7:15 and 7:30 p.m. on Dec.

21-23 at 1 White­hall Way, Palm Beach. Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for kids younger than 18; ad­vanced pur­chase is re­quired.

Info: 561-655-2833; Fla­gler Mu­seum.us

Hol­i­day Evening at Viz­caya

The halls are decked as Viz­caya throws open its doors on Dec. 19 to mem­bers to cel­e­brate the season. Lis­ten to the cus­tom 1917 pipe or­gan play­ing hol­i­day mu­sic and wan­der the 24 rooms of the Ital­ian-in­spired mas­ter­piece built by in­dus­tri­al­ist James Deering, who co­in­ci­den­tally moved in more than a cen­tury ago, on Dec. 25, 1916.

De­tails: 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 19 at 3251 S. Mi­ami Ave., Mi­ami. Cost is $55 and in­cludes an an­nual mem­ber­ship; ad­vanced pur­chase is re­quired.

Info: 305-860-8423; Viz­caya .org

His­toric hol­i­day decor at the Deering Es­tate

The his­toric manse, built by Chicago in­dus­tri­al­ist Charles Deering (James’ brother), in 1900, is decked out in turn-of-the­cen­tury style by Al­fredo Brito, the es­tate’s de­signer in res­i­dence, and other noted South Florida in­te­rior de­sign­ers. Five rooms of the stone house are dec­o­rated in Gilded Age splen­dor while and the Rich­mond cot­tage evoked a pioneer hol­i­day. There also will be a Fes­ti­val of Trees evening stroll on Dec. 12.

De­tails: Tours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 4 (ex­cept Dec. 25) at 16701 SW 72 Ave., Mi­ami. Cost is $15 for adults and $7 for chil­dren 4-14.

Info: 305-235-1668 ext. 233 or Deer­ingEs­tate.org.

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DEERING ES­TATE PHOTO

Turn-of-the-cen­tury style hol­i­day decor at the Deering Es­tate

SUN SEN­TINEL FILE

The White­hall man­sion boasts a 16-foot Christ­mas tree in the Grand Hall. The man­sion is open for evening tours Dec. 19-23.

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