Many great historic houses are now museums, national treasures that are open to the public. I've enjoyed visiting many of them in the UK and US. They are often run by foundations and "Friends of" groups and volunteers. And they need to pay the bills to keep the lights on and the tours running, which means tickets and gift shops (which are often full of delightful and pricey merchandise.)
A good way to keep people coming is by designing elaborate shows and decorations, particularly at Christmas. A couple of weeks ago we visited Longwood Gardens, a du Pont estate just west of the Delaware state line in Pennsylvania.
The grounds and conservatory are magnificent, and for a few more days splendid with holiday decorations. Above left is the hall entrance to the main conservatory, with pillars and flamboyant chandeliers.
There are many other such gorgeous places. My sister and a friend had lunch at Greenbrier, a legendary estate in North Carolina, and she said it was wonderful.
Several years ago we visited Winterthur, another legendary du Pont estate in Delaware. (We passed it on the way to Longwood Gardens–they're not far apart.) It's the fifth largest house in America and has a major collection of Americana. I liked the splendid table setting just awaiting the guests.
Have you visited any such holiday presentations? If so, where? And do you have a favorite historic house that you visit?
Mary Jo, who loves showing pretty pictures of houses for Christmastide!