Marriottsville/Sykesville/Woodstock: Catch the holiday spirit with a tour of Waverly Mansion

Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to the official start of the holiday season! As you can imagine, the community calendar is bursting with seasonal activities next weekend.

Over at Waverly Mansion, 2300 Waverly Mansion Drive, in Marriottsville, the Howard County Council of Garden Clubs has been gearing up for the site's annual holiday makeover. Each club decorates a different room with natural materials and man-made finery to create a stunning display, and then offers holiday tours to the public, complete with refreshments and seasonal music by Die Liedersänger Madrigals.

Tours are self-paced and family-friendly, and docents are available in each room. Since the mansion is historic — it was once owned by Maryland Gov. John Eager Howard, for whom our county is named — it is not handicapped accessible.

This year's tours will take place on Sunday, Dec. 2, 1-4 p.m. (refreshments and music), Monday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-noon (refreshments only) and 6:30-9 p.m. (refreshments, music, and luminaries).

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children 12 and under. Holiday greenery and hand-made crafts will be available for purchase in a heated tent, and proceeds will support the garden clubs' community service projects. For instance, last year, the council purchased a teak bench for the Enchanted Garden at the new Miller Library.

For more information, go to, or call 443-812-2410.

The Howard County Conservancy will host its annual Natural Holiday Sale on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. Ease into the holiday spirit with beautiful music, a cup of tea and refreshments as you browse the vendor tables for local, handmade crafts and gifts. Additionally, children of all ages may create their own "critter crafts" from seed pods and other natural bounty.

The Conservancy lies between Woodstock Road and Bethany Lane, at 10520 Old Frederick Road (Route 99), in Woodstock. To learn more, go to, or call 410-465-8877.

Next weekend, Historic Main Street Sykesville promises a full slate of merriment, beginning with "12 Hours of Christmas," from Friday, Nov. 30, at noon, through Saturday, Dec. 1 at midnight. During that time, shoppers can take advantage of special sales and coupons while listening to live music and noshing on refreshments.

"Merry Main Street" activities will take place later on Saturday, from 2 to 9 p.m. Families can enjoy carolers, kids' crafts (including reindeer cupcakes), ice sculpting demonstrations, model train displays, and opportunities to meet the Grinch and write letters to Santa.

Of course, the highlight of the day will be Santa's arrival at 6 p.m. to light the community Christmas tree!

For more information about Sykesville events, go to or, or contact Main Street Manager Ivy Wells at or 410-795-8959.

This holiday season, the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department is teaming up with the Marriotts Ridge High School National Honor Society to serve as Toys for Tots collection sites. Donated toys should be new, unwrapped and appropriate for children ages newborn to 12.

Drop off your toys by Tuesday, Dec. 11, either at the front office of the school during school hours or at the main entrance foyer of the fire station, at any time. Learn more about the program at

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