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Best Holiday Historic Home Tour (2019)

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Ever wondered how Thomas Jefferson spent his holidays or what a Gilded Age Christmas tree might have looked like? These 10 historic houses – voted best in the U.S. by our readers – pull out all the stops for their holiday tours.

  • Graceland

    Graceland
    Memphis

    Graceland is one of the most-visited private homes in the nation. 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 Graceland

  • Wildwood Manor House

    Wildwood Manor House
    Toledo, Ohio

    Volunteers decorate the 30,000-square-foot Wildwood during the annual Holidays in the Manor House event. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of 32 seasonal displays, stroll through the decorated Shipman Garden or make s’mores in the welcome tent.
    Photo courtesy of Wildwood Manor House

  • 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 Stetson Mansion

  • Filoli Historic House and Garden

    Filoli Historic House and Garden
    Woodside, Calif.

    Filoli was built for prominent San Franciscan William Bowers Bourn and his wife in Woodside, Calif. in 1917. The unusual name was created by combining the first two letters from the key words of Bourn's credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.” The iconic mansion houses 17th and 18th century English antiques in a rich setting. The annual celebration offers the sounds and scents of Christmas and includes a Christmas Marketplace.
    Photo courtesy of Patricia Dennis / Filoli Historic House and Garden

  • 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 one of Ohio's most popular holiday traditions with Santa visits, music, hot cocoa and other treats included in the festivities.
    Photo courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

  • Meadow Brook Hall

    Meadow Brook Hall
    Rochester, Mich.

    A National Historic Landmark, Meadow Brook was built by Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of auto pioneer John Dodge. Constructed in Rochester, Mich. between 1926 and 1929, the 110-room Tudor mansion houses original family art and furnishings. Holiday Walk Tours feature seasonal décor, special exhibits and treats for children. Throughout December there will be ongoing events including visits with Santa, bonfires, live carolers and kid-friendly Cleo's Candy Adventure tours.
    Photo courtesy of Meadow Brook Hall

  • 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

  • Glessner House

    Glessner House
    Chicago

    Glessner House, designed by American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and today a National Historic Landmark in Chicago, ranks among the country’s most architecturally important residences as its design helped to revolutionize domestic architecture as a whole. Docent-led Christmas Candlelight Tours show off thee house in all its holiday finery – period decorations including a live tree and a dining table set for a 19th century feast.
    Photo courtesy of Glessner House

  • The Mount

    The Mount
    Lenox, Mass.

    The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts celebrates the season in the style of the Gilded Age during their holiday house tours. See how Edith Wharton might have celebrated, as the historic home is adorned with decorations from the Lenox Garden Club.
    Photo courtesy of The Mount

  • Webb Deane Stevens Museum

    Webb Deane Stevens Museum
    Wethersfield, Conn.

    This historic house museum in the center of Connecticut’s largest historic district takes visitors back to 18th and early 19th century New England. While drop-in tours are not available during the winter months, the museum participates in the Three Centuries of Christmas tours that show how the beloved American holiday has evolved over the past three centuries.
    Photo courtesy of Webb Deane Stevens Museum

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

  1. Graceland - Memphis
  2. Wildwood Manor House - Toledo, Ohio
  3. The Stetson Mansion - Deland, Fla.
  4. Filoli Historic House and Garden - Woodside, Calif.
  5. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens - Akron, Ohio
  6. Meadow Brook Hall - Rochester, Mich.
  7. Brucemore - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  8. Glessner House - Chicago
  9. The Mount - Lenox, Mass.
  10. Webb Deane Stevens Museum - Wethersfield, Conn.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning historic homes!

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Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

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Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton

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