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Best Historic Holiday Home Tour (2021)

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Ever wondered how George Washington spent his holidays or how exactly Elvis "decked the halls"? These historic houses pull out all the stops for their holiday tours. 

  • Graceland

    Graceland
    Memphis

    "You don’t have to love Elvis to spend an afternoon in his grand house," says 10Best contributor Melanie Reffes. "Make time to peruse the gift shop." Every year, more than 600,000 people go to Elvis Presley’s former estate in Memphis. The Christmas season at Graceland kicks off with a lighting ceremony mid-November, after which visitors can tour the home decorated for the season with traditional lights, a live-size nativity scene and Santa. Presley family Christmas artifacts are on display during this special time of year.
    Photo courtesy of Elvis Presley's Graceland

  • The Stetson Mansion

    The Stetson Mansion
    Deland, Fla.

    One of Florida’s grandest estates, Stetson Mansion was built in 1886 for American hat maker John B. Stetson as his winter retreat. The High Victorian mansion is known for its parquet wood floors and original leaded glass windows. Each holiday season, the mansion is decorated with different trappings sourced from around the world.
    Photo courtesy of Sue Hopkins

  • Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

    Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
    Akron, Ohio

    Stan Hywet Hall, Akron, Ohio's first and largest National Historic Landmark, is the nation's sixth largest historic home open to the public. The Tudor mansion was built by Goodyear Tire & Rubber co-founder F.A. Seiberling between 1912 and 1915. In 1957 the Seiberling children gifted Stan Hywet to Akron. On select days throughout the holiday season, Deck the Hall showcases the first floor of the manor house and grounds adorned with nostalgic decorations and more than a million holiday lights.
    Photo courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

  • The Breakers & The Elms

    The Breakers & The Elms
    Newport, Rhode Island

    Holidays at the Newport Mansions offer the chance for visitors to see two historic estates – The Breakers and The Elms – decked in holiday splendor.  "One of New England's most breathtaking and memorable holiday experiences, a must for history and architecture buffs," says 10Best contributor Eric Grossman.
    Photo courtesy of Newport Mansions

  • Biltmore

    Biltmore
    Asheville, North Carolina

    On Christmas Eve of 1895, George Vanderbilt officially opened his 250-room French Renaissance chateau in Asheville to family and friends. Vanderbilt passed away in 1914 at the age of 51, but Biltmore is still owned by his descendants and is the largest privately owned home in the U.S. A variety of tours offer a glimpse into America's Gilded Age, with special emphasis this time of year on Biltmore Christmas traditions. 
    Photo courtesy of Biltmore

  • Crane House and Historic YWCA

    Crane House and Historic YWCA
    Montclair, New Jersey

    Israel Crane built Crane House and Historic YWCA for his wife in 1796. After a century as the Crane family home, the estate was purchased and transformed into headquarters for the African American YWCA. Visitors can experience the period decorations (designed by the Garden Club of Montclair) and learn about the holidays from the 1700s to the 20th century during a candlelight tour. Visitors can also register for a private tour or see the house on a virtual tour.
    Photo courtesy of Diane Israel, Manager of Audience Engagement MHC

  • Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

    Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
    Norwalk, Connecticut

    The historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum opens this holiday season with an exhibit celebrating antique toys, dolls and trees. Christmas Playtime at the Mansion will recreate what the holiday season was like for children during the Victorian era.
    Photo courtesy of Alex Rosenfeld Photography

  • Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour

    Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour
    New Orleans

    The Preservation Resource Center’s Holiday Home Tour features multiple historic New Orleans homes. You don’t have to be in NOLA to tour these homes either. "Take advantage of the rare opportunity to see beautiful Garden District homes festively decorated," suggests 10Best contributor Gerrish Lopez.  
    Photo courtesy of Liz Jurey/Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans

  • Wildwood Manor House

    Wildwood Manor House
    Toledo, Ohio

    This historic Georgian Colonial home, once owned by Toledo philanthropist R.A. Stranahan, is now a public park in Toledo. A team of volunteers decorate the 30,000-square-foot estate during Holidays in the Manor House. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the house and Shipman Garden where they’ll find 32 seasonal displays.
    Photo courtesy of Wildwood Manor House

  • Brucemore

    Brucemore
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    During the holiday season, Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, Iowa gets decked with thirteen trees and numerous garlands spread across its four floors. Holiday Mansion Tours take visitors through the historic home to see it as it would have looked for Christmas, including a feast laid out in the dining room, mantle arrangements and other seasonal cheer.
    Photo courtesy of Brucemore

The top 10 winners in the category Best Holiday Historic Home Tour are as follows:

  1. Graceland - Memphis
  2. The Stetson Mansion - Deland
  3. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens - Akron
  4. The Breakers & The Elms - Newport
  5. Biltmore - Asheville
  6. Crane House and Historic YWCA - Montclair
  7. Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum - Norwalk
  8. Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour - New Orleans
  9. Wildwood Manor House - Toledo
  10. Brucemore - Cedar Rapids

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning home tours!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Allison Taylor

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nicky Omohundro

Nikky J

Nikky J

Nikky J
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