Can you believe it’s that time of year again, when celebrations, outings with family and friends, and plans to visit landmarks fill itineraries? While everyone gets busy observing the season with children’s school events, religious activities, social engagements, and of course shopping, long-established institutions are preparing for holiday visitors, too.
PHOTO GALLERY: Wolcott House dressed for season
When Christmastime at the Wolcott House in Maumee opens to the public on Nov. 14, it will be decorated in the theme of one of the season’s most treasured stories: The Night Before Christmas, said Marilyn Wendler, curator. And as the Maumee Valley Historical Society looks forward to celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2014, Ms. Wendler said the open house has been held for at least 50 years.
Indeed, there will be plenty to remind Wolcott House visitors that as the nights grow longer, many homes will display the season by lighting up on the inside. This year, visitors will see gorgeous gowns and dresses on mannequins in the historic house, where the dining room will boast the Victorian age, with fancy stands for cakes and tarts. Of course, the excitement that Christmas is rapidly coming will boost youngsters’ wonder about gifts from Santa, and speaking of Santa, antique images of the perennially jolly old guy will decorate Wolcott House, as will antique toys and images of Thomas Nast prints.
The Wolcott Open House will run through Dec. 29. It will close for Christmas from Dec. 22 to Dec. 26 when it reopens. For group tours, make appointments by calling 419-893-9602; leave contact information if there is no answer. The one-hour tours are weekdays at 12:30 and at 2:30 p.m. Tours cost $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, and $1.50 for students.
Also reminding area residents of the region’s wonderful history is the annual Tours de Noel, sponsored by Women of the Old West End, from noon to 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, when the public can view six historic homes and the Mansion View Inn. Gifts and lunch will be available for at First Congregational Church, 2315 Collingwood Ave., also the site of the annual Arboretum Cookie Walk.
On this year’s tour are the Milmine-Stewart House Toledo History Museum at 2001 Collingwood Blvd.; Kaufmann-Vinnedge Spitulski Home, 2110 Scottwood Ave.; Forrester-Stambaugh Home, 2636 Parkwood Ave.; Hallenbeck-Illenden Home, 2702 Parkwood Ave.; Hixson-St. Clair Home, 2333 Scottwood Ave., and the Ann Manor-Alexander Home at 2200 Scottwood Ave.
But wait – there’s more than just the annual house tours that weekend in the Old West End. On Nov. 30, the Tours de Noel Santa Parade begins at 2 p.m., at Islington Street at Scottwood. It will travel to Commons Park at Robinwood Avenue and Bancroft St., where Santa will greet guests at 4 p.m. Then at 4:30 p.m., the tree lighting occurs and will be followed by prizes awarded to residents who best their neighbors for having the most spectacularly decorated houses and yards.
Tour de Noel tickets are $15 per person (or $12 if bought in advance), $10 for persons age 55 and older, and $5 for one house tour. Children age 13 and younger with an adult can tour free. Tickets can be purchased at each house during the tour or in advance by calling 419-244-4921, by visiting this Web site: womenoftheoldwestendinc.com, or at any of the following businesses: Lily’s on Main, Levis Commons; Georgettes Grounds & Gifts, 311 Conant St., Maumee; Downtown Latte, 44 S. St. Clair St., downtown Toledo; Schramm’s Flowers in Cricket West at 3157 W. Central Ave.; Color Concepts, 6725 W. Central Ave., Sylvania; Black Kite Coffee & Pies, 2499 Collingwood, or Brooks Florest, 5739 N. Main St., Sylvania.