The Christmas season is approaching and many of our local historic sites are getting ready for the festivities.
A quick hint: Most of the history happenings in December take place during the first two weekends.
Christmas in the Country at Exchange Place Living History Farm will be held on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. Fresh greenery and handcrafted wreaths will be a major feature of this festival, along with unique folk arts and handcrafts created by a wide variety of local and regional artisans. The celebration also features hands-on experiences for all ages and demonstrations of wintertime activities on the 19th-century farmstead. The joyous day concludes with a free yule log ceremony, complete with traditional carols sung around the bonfire. This year all activities will take place outdoors, and CDC and health department guidelines will be observed. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12. For more information, call (423) 288-6071, or go to www.exchangeplace.info.
The following weekend on the opposite side of Kingsport, Netherland Inn will hold its 1818 Christmas on Dec. 10 and 11 from 6-8 p.m. and Dec. 12 from 2-4 p.m. Join the fine folks at the historic inn for elegant Christmas decorations, music, hot cider and the popular Civil War re-enactors. The inn, cabins, and Bank Barn will be beautifully decorated by local garden clubs, in keeping with the inn’s vintage nostalgia.
Admission is $10 with children under 6 admitted free. Tickets will be on sale at the door and in the gift shop.
The folks at Sycamore Shoals will hold their Overmountain Christmas open house on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Join the festivities at the park’s visitors center and enjoy historically dressed carolers, Christmas stories, the Watauga Valley Art League’s annual Winterfest Art Show, and more. There will be a special activity/project for the whole family. Do some Christmas shopping in the new gift shop and bookstore.
HISTORIC CARTER MANSION
The Christmastide Tours of the Carter Mansion, affiliated with Sycamore Shoals, will take place on Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.; Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.; and Dec 5 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Step back in time as one of the park’s historical interpreters guides you through the festively decorated rooms of Tennessee’s oldest frame house, as it would have been in 1780, with beautiful greenery for the holiday season. As you enjoy learning about the Christmas customs and traditions of our colonial ancestors, learn about the historically significant Carter family and the role they played in the early settlement of Tennessee.
The Carter Mansion is located at 1031 Broad St., Elizabethton, and is accessible only by stairs. Admission is $10 adults and $6 for ages 17 and under. Pre-registration is required, as the tours are limited to eight people. Register at www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals. Please note that this tour sells out very quickly.
Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site will present “Visions of Christmas: 1862” on Dec. 4 from 2-6 p.m. You are invited to be a guest of the Haynes family and friends as they begin their celebrations for the holiday season. Experience what it was like for this family with the glow of oil lamps and the smell of greenery. Re-enactors will be in period clothing and re-creating the atmosphere of the late months of 1862. They will also celebrate the 205th birthday anniversary of Landon Cater Haynes, who was born on Dec. 2, 1816. Enjoy family fun as you play parlor games with the Haynes family and enjoy holiday snacks and drinks prepared over the open hearth in the cabin.
While waiting for your tour, Mountain Boys Kountry Kitchen will be in the visitor center selling holiday pastries. Kids can make their own holiday craft. The Watauga Historical Association will be on hand to assist anyone wishing to learn how to research their family lineage. A display will allow visitors to view objects of a Revolutionary soldier.
Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children 12 and under. As always, members of the Tipton-Haynes Historical Association receive free admission. Please call (423) 926-3631 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation for the 1862 Christmas candlelight tour or for more information. Tours begin at 2:15 p.m. and continue every 20 minutes until the last tour at 5:55 p.m. Reservations are strongly suggested prior to Dec. 4 as space will be limited. Tipton-Haynes is located at 2620 South Roan St. in Johnson City.