Historic homes open for holiday tours
Festive decor and riverboat cruise make season bright
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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Turn-of-the-century style holiday decor at the Deering Estate
The Whitehall mansion boasts a 16-foot Christmas tree in the Grand Hall. The mansion is open for evening tours Dec. 19-23.