The first weekend after Thanksgiving ushers in a flurry of activity starting with a truly spectacular light show you can view through January. Drive through Albany’s Washington Park to see Capital Holiday Lights in the Park. Over 125 displays and scenes light up the night. At the end of your drive, the Washington Park Lake House welcomes you with costumed characters, crafts, and refreshments. Even Santa will be present through December 23.
On a smaller scale, the Village of Suffern celebrates its Holiday Lighting with a festive, old fashioned Christmas tree lighting on Thursday, December 3rd. Music of the season, refreshments, and a visit with Santa will send you out into the night with a warm glow.
Hudson River houses lit by candles capture the essence of Christmas with gorgeous decorations in every room. Cold Spring by Candlelight is a delightful way to experience this charming Hudson River village on December 5th. A tour of private homes in all their holiday finery will give you marvelous ideas on how to decorate your own home. Along the way, stroll the village and find gifts for everyone on your list.
That same evening in Poughkeepsie, Locust Grove hosts its Twilight Holiday Tour and Dinner with a tour of the mansion as evening approaches. Tour the grounds by candlelight, and return to the Pavilion to enjoy a four-course dinner recreated from recipes found in the home’s archives.
You can also visit the Historic Bevier House Museum on the 5th for their Holiday Candlelight Tours in Marbletown. Both floors of this unusually large stone home are lavishly decorated with all the splendor of a Victorian Christmas. Costumed docents celebrate the holidays with guests, children can create their own ornaments, and refreshments are served.
The next day on December 6th, travel to the Victorian Stroll in downtown Troy where A Celebration of Light illuminates Monument Square with a dazzling 2,700 LED light display. The lights will remain on throughout the holiday season as families enjoy the events, shops and restaurants during the Stroll.
The following weekend on December 11th through the 13th, the Zadock Pratt Museum in Prattsville celebrates A Golden Christmas. In celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary, every room is beautifully decorated and lit by candles. Gingerbread houses and seasonal music add to the festive atmosphere in this remarkable mansion.
The Village of Kinderhook opens its doors on December 11th with its Candlelight Night. Local businesses open their doors to receive guests and visitors of all ages. Celebrate the season with Santa, wagon rides, music, lights and food. It’s a sparkling fun-filled evening for the whole family.
More than your heart will be warmed December 12th, 19th, and 26th at Van Cortlandt Manor in Tarrytown where Evening Candlelight Tours illuminate this charming home. The night begins with a tour of the decorated Manor House, featuring a harpist in the formal parlor. A guide carrying a candlelit lantern brings visitors to the site’s Ferry House, where the Lord of Misrule leads the festivities. Visitors are encouraged to dance to fiddle music and toast the season with cider and cookies near the warmth of a bonfire.
More candlelight awaits you in Newburgh on December 13th where the Candlelight Tour takes you to ten private homes and five public spaces that are rarely open for viewing. Newburgh is rich in architectural history, and inside glimpses of these lavishly decorated homes will be a highlight to your season. Included is a tour of the old railroad station where a 24-foot model train set will bring out the kid in every adult.
Light up your holidays at these special events in the Hudson Valley. You’ll catch the sparkle not only at our holiday sites, but also in the eyes of the friends and family you bring along.
Capital Holiday Lights in the Park, Albany. (518) 434-1217, www.albanycapitalholidaylights.com or www.albany.org
Holiday Lighting, Suffern. 845-357-7943, www.suffernvillage.com
Cold Spring by Candlelight, Cold Spring. 845-278-7272 ext 287, www.PutnamARC.org
Locust Grove Twilight Holiday Tour and Dinner, Poughkeepsie. 845-454-4500 x17, www.lgny.org
Holiday Candlelight Tours. Bevier House Museum, Marbletown. 845-338-5614, www.bevierhousemuseum.org
A Celebration of Light, Troy. 518-274-7020, www.victorianstroll.com
A Golden Christmas, Zadoch Pratt Museum, Prattsville. 518-299-3395, http://www.prattmuseum.com
Candlelight Night, Village of Kinderhook. 800 724-1846, www.columbiacountytourism.org
Evening Candlelight Tours, Van Cortlandt Manor, Tarrytown. 914-631-8200, www.hudsonvalley.org
Candlelight Tour, Newburgh. 845-561-2585, www.newburghhistoricalsociety.com
Hudson Valley Tourism, Inc. is the 10-county region designated by I LOVE NEW YORK to promote tourism for the area. Counties include Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester. Regional information can be obtained from any of the county tourism offices, the Hudson Valley Tourism website, www.travelhudsonvalley.com, or by calling 845-615-3860.