Home for the holidays: Explore 10 historic houses decorated for the season

Revel in the pretty lights, Christmas trees and decor found at these historic, NoVA properties during their public holiday events.

Photo courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Northern Virginia is home to dozens of historic homes and parks. With the holiday season right around the corner, these 17th- and 18th-century properties are joining the celebrations with special, festive tours. Make sure to add these 10 holiday home and garden tours to your bucket list this season.

For more home and things to do content, subscribe to our newsletters.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight
Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7, 13-14 & 22, times vary
Take a candlelight tour of Mount Vernon as George and Martha Washington guide you through their home. Along the way, visit other Mount Vernon residents as they share their stories of Christmases past. After the tour, visitors can participate in 18th-century dancing, visit Aladdin the Christmas camel and taste some delicious cider and cookies. // George Washington’s Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon; $18-$26

Holiday Open House
Nov. 30-Dec. 22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kick off the holiday season with a tour of Sky Meadows’ historic houses. For the holidays, the historic area is full of costumed interpreters telling stories of the past and a delicious aroma of baked goods rolls over the fields from the log cabin.  // Sky Meadows State Park: 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane; free

Holiday Open House
Dec. 1, 4:30-7 p.m.
Travel back to the 18th century with a candlelight tour of the Mary Washington House. Enjoy the simple Christmas decor of the time while sipping on hot cider and sampling Washington’s own gingerbread recipe. // Mary Washington House: 1300 Charles St., Fredericksburg; free

Candlelight Open House at the RST
Dec. 6, 5:30-8 p.m.
Get a look inside the Rising Sun Tavern this holiday season at the annual tour. Learn about tavern life, while enjoying 18th century tunes and seasonal treats, including Glasgow Punch. This tour will be at timed intervals. // Rising Sun Tavern: 1304 Caroline St., Fredericksburg; free

Herndon Holiday Homes Tour
Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Get in the holiday spirit with this timeless tradition in Herndon. Each year, select residents of the town decorate their houses for the holidays and open their homes to the community. Homes on the tour are selected based on historic, architectural or community interest. // Throughout the Town of Herndon; $15-$20

Gardeners’ Holiday Open House
Dec. 8, noon-4 p.m.
Skip the usual house tour this year and take a tour of Green Springs Garden. Walk around the seasonal displays dispersed in the garden as live music echoes throughout the park. Make sure to bring the kids for a special holiday puppet show. // Green Springs Garden: 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria; $5

A Victorian Christmas
Dec. 14 & 15, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Enjoy a traditional Victorian era Christmas at the 18th century Lee-Fendall Home. Visitors will be astonished by the traditional decor as they savor holiday treats and create holiday crafts. Bring your children along as Santa Claus is scheduled to make an appearance. // Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden: 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria; $8-$12

Yuletide by Candlelight
Dec. 14, 5-9 p.m.
Celebrate the holidays with a tour of the historic sites throughout Alexandria. Enjoy the seasonal views while learning about the city’s holiday traditions and participating in festive activities. Tickets include admission to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House Historic Park, Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden and the Alexandria Black History Museum. // Gadsby’s Tavern Museum: 134 N. Royal St., Alexandria; $8-$30

49th Annual Holiday Candlelight Tour
Dec. 14 & 15, times vary
Stroll downtown Fredericksburg for a beautiful candlelit tour of Caroline Street. Each home on the tour is professionally decorated by designers and artists for the holidays. Take your tour in the evening and receive an exclusive invitation to a festive cocktail party at Brock’s Riverside Grill. // 1300-1500 blocks of Caroline Street, Fredericksburg; $15-$60

Holiday Open House at Liberia
Dec. 15, 1-4 p.m.
Take a tour of the historic Liberia Plantation House. See how the wealthy used to live in the 19th century as the former Civil War headquarters and newly renovated home will be decked out in holiday decorations. // Liberia Plantation House: 8601 Portner Ave., Manassas; free

Loading cart ...