New England is full of historic mansions, and many of them host special programming during the final months of the year. Add a little luxury to your holiday season at one (or all) of these nine gorgeous properties.
These three already-fabulous Gilded Age mansions will be dressed to the hilt for the holidays from Nov. 17 through Jan. 1. Feast your eyes on dining rooms set with period silver and china, as other rooms burst with poinsettias and Christmas trees. Special programming will include tours, live music, and light refreshments. Oh, and you just may happen upon Santa Claus; he’ll visit The Breakers on Dec. 2, Marble House on Dec. 9, and The Elms on Dec. 16. (The Breakers, 44 Ochre Point Ave.; The Elms, 367 Bellevue Ave.; Marble House, 596 Bellevue Ave., Newport, R.I.)
Get in the holiday spirit on Dec. 9 at the Glen Manor House, a 1923 French chateau nestled on the banks of the Sakonnet River. Greenery, white lights, and burgundy and gold decorations will provide the backdrop for performances by local dance and ensemble groups and the local high school choir. A highlight of the event will be Santa’s arrival — the big guy will take photos with guests beginning at 2:45 p.m. (3 Frank Coelho Dr., Portsmouth, R.I.)
Gaze at Christmas trees decorated as they were in centuries past during a special holiday exhibit called “A Magical Christmas Eve at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.” It kicks off the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Jan. 6. You’ll see dozens of trees of all sizes from the 1850s through the 1930s and from today, as well as a lavish dining room decorated for a Christmas Eve feast. (295 West Ave., Norwalk, Conn.)
The exteriors and grounds of Naumkeag, a Gilded Age mansion in Stockbridge, and The Stevens-Coolidge Place, a Colonial Revival home in North Andover, will be aglow with thousands of holiday lights this season during the inaugural “Winterlights” event. On various nights, you can also take in performances by local choral groups, visits from Santa, children’s activities, and seasonal refreshments. The lights will shimmer Thursdays to Sundays through Dec. 30, beginning Nov. 23 at Naumkeag and starting Nov. 29 at The Stevens-Coolidge Place. (Naumkeag, 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge; The Stevens-Coolidge Place, 137 Andover St., North Andover)
Step back in time at Hildene: Once again, the 412-acre estate, built in 1905 by Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln, will be decorated for the holidays as it might have been in 1912, and various musicians will play the Lincolns’ 1908 Aeolian pipe organ and Steinway piano throughout the holiday season. While you’re there, explore 12 miles of walking trails by foot, on snowshoes, or on cross-country skis. (1005 Hildene Road, Manchester, Vt.)
Nine local designers have been hard at work since early November at Victoria Mansion, a 19th-century Italian Villa-style mansion, decorating the property’s rooms according to this year’s holiday theme: “Christmas through a child’s eyes.” You can see the decorations between Nov. 23 and Jan. 6. During Portland’s First Friday Art Walk on Dec. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m., you can tour the mansion for $5 (regular adult admission is $16). On that night, don’t forget to visit the mansion’s Carriage House Museum Shop, where you can see a special exhibition of student artwork inspired by the mansion and hear local student musicians perform. (109 Danforth St., Portland, Maine)