Something about the traditions and nostalgia of the Christmas season seems to go hand-in-hand with getting out and seeing our historic places around the state dressed up and ready for visitors. In addition to the many downtown open houses encouraging shoppers to support their downtown historic districts (see the Mississippi Main Street calendar), a few communities have chosen Christmas as their time to show off their historic buildings. And some of these places are also on our MissPres 101 Places to See Before You Die. Here are a few events I’ve come across–let everyone know in a comment if I’ve missed an event in your town.
As always, these events have been helpfully placed on the MissPres calendar so you can add events you’re interested in to your own calendar and then you can see the event every time you habitually check your fancy smart phone while also having a conversation with your spouse and texting a friend.
Come and celebrate the Holidays in Port Gibson during Port Gibson’s Christmas Pilgrimage, December 8th & 9th. New this year the White House, former home of Chamberlain-Hunt Academy’s president (1904). The famous Allen Collection of photos of life in Port Gibson from 1906-1915 will also be featured at City Hall (c. 1838).
Other homes on tour will be the Gutherie Home (c. 1840) at 703 Church Street; Isabella’s (c. 1880) at 1009 Church Street; Tremont (c. 1840) at 1108 Church Street; Collina (c. 1835) at 100 Greenwood Street; and the Butler Home (2010) on Highway 61 North.
Churches included will be the First Presbyterian (1860) Chassed Synagogue (1891) with its combination of Moorish, Byzantine, and Romanesque architecture, St. James Episcopal Church (1884), St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (1851), First Baptist Church (1895) and Port Gibson United Methodist Church (1859).
DATES AND TIMES
Dates for this Christmas Pilgrimage will be December 8th and 9th with tickets sold ($20 for one-day pass) at the Port Gibson Chamber of Commerce at 1601 Church Street. Hours will be from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on the 8th and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on the 9th. For advance tickets, call the Port Gibson Chamber at 601-437-4351. Lunch will be available at Isabella’s (1009 Church Street) between the hours of 11:300 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both days.
As you may recall, I had the opportunity to spend time at last year’s Port Gibson Pilgrimage and I highly recommend the experience!
Christmas in Natchez boasts a number of events, several of them giving us the chance to see historic buildings often on tour in a different light.
Saturday, December 1st (1:00-4:00): 2nd Annual Brandon Hall Treasures on the Trace- a memorable family outing-for more information go to: http://www.brandonhallplantation.com/treasurestrace.aspx
Saturday, December 1st (4:00 pm-6:00 pm): Elms Court Landscapes through the Four Seasons
Sunday, December 2nd (7:00pm): Alcorn Choir performs at St. Mary’s Basilica
Thursday, December 6th (5:30 pm): Choir at the Eola Hotel
Thursday, December 6th (11:30 am): Victorian Luncheon at Magnolia Hall
Sunday, December 9th (1:00-4:00): Auburn’s 200th Anniversary and Salute to 1812—Annual Christmas Open House
Sunday, December 9th: Alcorn Choir at St. Mary’s Basilica
If you’re in or around Jackson next week, make time to head to the Old Jackson Christmas by Candelight, which this year features the Welty House for the first time. Or experience some of our area’s choirs singing in the Old Capitol–the rotunda’s acoustics are great!
On Friday, December 7, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Mississippi State Capitol, Old Capitol Museum, Eudora Welty House, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building will be decorated for the seventeenth annual Old Jackson Christmas by Candlelight Tour. Free transportation will take visitors from site to site, with parking available at the Old Capitol, state capitol, and Winter Building for those who prefer to drive their own vehicles. The Candlelight Tour begins at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 8:30.
Carols and other holiday songs will fill the Old Capitol rotunda for “Sounds of the Season.” Woodville Heights Elementary will perform on December 7, Wells United Methodist Church on December 8, Port Gibson Middle School on December 14, and John Hopkins Elementary School Youth Choir on December 15. All groups will begin at noon. For more information about events at the Old Capitol, call 601-576-6920 or email email@example.com.
As always, the Possum Ridge train exhibit–a great favorite of kids of all ages–will be up and running throughout December:
The trains of Possum Ridge and the Christmas tree and toy displays at the Winter Building will remain in place from December 4 through 21. Hours are Mondays noon–4:30 p.m., Tuesday–Friday 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Tours for school groups are available by reservation Tuesday–Friday, December 4–21, 9 a.m.–noon. For information call 601-576-6800.
The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood association is holding its annual Candlelit Christmas, which includes tours of historic homes and horse and buggy tours of the candlelit neighborhood:
Hattiesburg’s Victorian Candlelit Christmas
Take a step back in time during the 36th Annual Victorian Candlelit Christmas, presented by the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association, Saturday, Dec. 8th and Sunday, Dec. 9th. Experience a simpler time as you travel along streets lined with more than 15,000 luminaries and more than 400 homes and businesses, in a 24 block area, decorate their porches and store fronts with garlands of greenery trimmed with bright bows and twinkling lights.
The Annual Victorian Candlelit Christmas is a longtime holiday favorite event that draws hundreds of visitors from throughout the region, featuring the popular horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday tour of historic homes and strolling carolers throughout the district.
The center of activities will be The Walthall Center at the Walthall Condominiums, one block west of Bay Street on Rebecca Avenue, between Court and Walnut streets. The carriage rides and trolley shuttle will leave from this location. All entertainment, refreshments, and tickets for both the carriage rides and Tour of Homes will be available at Walthall Center from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. each night. Tickets for the carriage rides will be $5 and will be sold only at the Walthall both days. Tickets for the Tour of Homes will be $10 and they will be available for sale at the Walthall on Saturday from 5-9pm and Sunday from 5-7p.m.
This year’s Holiday Tour of Homes will run Saturday and Sunday from 5:30pm until 8:30pm. The tour will feature both Historic homes and Apartment living in the Hattiesburg Historic District. Condominiums in the Walthall will showcase great apartment living in this restored historic landmark.
For more information call 601 270 1373 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you feel like going farther afield, don’t forget that New Orleans has its Holiday Home Tour next weekend, December 8-9. I took this trip a couple years ago, and like Port Gibson, found it well worth the effort and a good time.
Don’t be a Scrooge–get out and see some sights before heading home for hot chocolate by the fire!