From the cobbled streets of Fells Point to the antiques town of New Market, yuletide events abound in Maryland.
The spirit of the season is captured in a series of memorable scenes: a luminary-lit battlefield, a gristmill filled with poinsettias, Dickens read by a fireside, horse-drawn carriage rides, a candlelit ferry tavern and madrigals sung in the old State House of 1676.
Here is a preview of what can be seen at the many holiday happenings throughout the state this weekend and in the days ahead:
THROUGH DEC. 8
Christmas Tours at Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster. " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and all through the farmhouse, scenes from this classic tale are brought to life. Santa pays daily visits from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There are also open-hearth cooking and crafts demonstrations in outbuildings, Christmas carolers, wagon rides and holiday foods. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Admission: $3 for adults, $2 for ages 6 to 18 and 60 and over, free for under age 6 with adult. Details: (410) 876-2667.
DEC. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15
Winter Holiday Open House at Rockville Civic Center Mansion, 603 Edmonston Drive. Sixteen rooms of this 19th century mansion have been decorated by community groups. Dec. 1: House tours concert and tree lighting. Dec. 7: Children's open house with Santa. Dec. 8: House tours, musical groups perform every hour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15: Open house with musical entertainment. Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Details: (410) 309-3001.
Candlelight Tours at Montpelier Mansion, Route 197 and Muirkirk Road, Laurel. The atmosphere of the 18th century prevails with traditional greens in each room and the mansion lit by candles. Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 4-6, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7. Live Christmas music each evening; light refreshments available. Admission: $3 for adults, $1 for children. Details: (410) 953-1376.
Holiday Candlelight Tour, 10440 Falls Road, Brooklandville. Traditional candlelight tour at the Cloisters Children's Museum of Baltimore features lavish decorations, wassail and gingerbread, musical entertainment. Hours: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission: $5, free for members. Reservations suggested. Details: (410) 823-2550.
DEC. 6, 7
State House by Candlelight, Annapolis. Open house candlelight celebration with holiday music. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free. Details: (410) 974-3400.
DEC. 6-8, 13-15
Ballestone Manor Holly Tour, Rocky Point Golf Course, Back River Neck Road, Essex. Costumed guides lead candlelight tours through the manor house, followed by homemade cookies and hot cider by the fireside; Civil War soldiers in full-dress uniform act as escorts both weekends; an exhibit of 19th century festive clothing; Civil War encampment (second weekend only); visits by Santa and holiday music. Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission: $2.50 for adults, free for under 14. Details: (410) 887-0218, (410) 687-3945.
Christmas Madrigal Evenings, St. Mary's City. Dine on festive holiday fare in the decorated Reconstructed State House of 1676, accompanied by madrigals and other 17th century Christmas entertainment. Admission: $40. Reservations limited and available on first-come, first-serve basis. Details: (410) 862-0960.
DEC. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22
Candlelight Christmas in Fells Point, Baltimore. Shops and houses in this waterfront historic district are decorated for Christmas; a town crier announces the events of the evening: A lamplighter tour by actors from the Vagabond Players; fireside readings from Dickens with hot refreshments at the Admiral Fell Inn; tours, Colonial music and refreshments at Robert Long House, Baltimore's oldest home; horse-drawn carriage rides; pipers and drummers; caroling and refreshments at area inns; a children's breakfast with Old St. Nick and a holiday musical for children. Daytime hours vary; evening hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Most events are free. Details: (410) 327-8360.
Christmas at Mount Clare Mansion, Carroll Park. Ride the special trains from the B&O; Railroad Museum to Carroll Park to see the 1760 home of Charles Carroll, dressed in its Christmas finery and illuminated by candlelight; 18th century music and dancing. Decorations remain through Dec. 31. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Closed Mondays, and Dec. 25. Admission: $2 for adults, 50 cents for children. Round-trip train fare: $1. Details: (410) 837-3262.
A Family Holiday Celebration, 201 W. Monument St. The Maryland Historical Society presents "A Winter's Day in Maryland," an afternoon of music, magic and merriment.
Christmas crafts, magic show, seasonal music and dance, antique toys, a gingerbread house and teddy bear making demonstration, holiday readings, a visit by Santa and an original Maryland Christmas garden display. Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $4 per child, free for accompanying adults. Space limited; registration required. Details: (410) 685-3750, Ext. 334, 335, 336 or 337.
Antietam National Battlefield Illumination, Sharpsburg. The battlefield glows with light from 23,110 luminaries in remembrance of the casualties of the battle in 1862. Hours: 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Free. Details: (301) 733-7373.
Christmas at Rose Hill Manor, 1611 N. Market St., Frederick. A holiday program for children from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations requested. Evening candlelight tour, 18th century classical and folk music, Colonial crafts demonstrations, light refreshments. Hours: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Donations requested. Details: (301) 694-1648.
DEC. 7, 8
Christmas in New Market. Stroll the picturesque streets of Maryland's antiques capital and enjoy the Colonial decorations and music by Williamsburg troubadour John Durant, carolers and other musicians; take a horse-drawn buggy ride through town; shop at the more than 30 antique shops and wind up in the town park for the tree lighting ceremony, Christmas story and music featured each afternoon; complimentary refreshments and entertainment Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; food and baked goods at the Fire Hall and the New Market Grange; live Nativity scene; and a Colonial Christmas at Rossig's Log House. Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Details: (301) 865-3319 or 865-3083.
Christmas in St. Michaels. An action-packed weekend of holiday fare includes a house tour from noon to 5 p.m., Santa, an Alpine Christmas village, Christmas parade, bazaar, Christmas dinner, caroling at the harbor at 5:30 p.m. followed by a parade of lighted boats and Christmas concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday. House tour: $15. Details: (410) 745-9295.
Child's Colonial Christmas at London Town Publik House, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater. Program for elementary school-age children features Colonial crafts, a storyteller, Christmas music, children's tour of the house, light refreshments. Hours: noon to 4 p.m. Reservations required. Admission: $4.50 for adults, $4.25 school-age children, $4 for senior citizens. Details: (410) 222-1919.
Christmas on the Susquehanna, 461 Quaker Bottom Road in Susquehanna State Park, Havre de Grace. The farmhouse at Steppingstone Museum is dressed for a Victorian Christmas; period activities include Christmas carols accompanied by an antique pump organ, Christmas stories for children, hot mulled cider and cookies, outside tree for children to decorate for birds and wildlife. Hours: noon to 4:30 p.m. Free. Directions: Take Interstate 95 north to Exit 6 and follow to Susquehanna State Park. Details: (410) 939-2299.
Frostburg by Candlelight, Frostburg. A tour of four houses, dating from 1850s to 1970s; surprise visit by Santa at one of the houses; exhibit by local artists; bazaar, musical entertainment and refreshments at St. Michael's Catholic Church. Hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tour ticket: $6. Available at the church. Details: (301) 689-8829.
A Farmhouse Christmas, Aviation Boulevard and Andover Road, Linthicum. A celebration featuring Christmas traditions in Anne Arundel County with refreshments and music at the Benson-Hammond House, a restored 19th century farmhouse. Hours: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission: $1 donation requested. House will be open to public Dec. 9-21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Details: (410) 768-9518.
Christmas Candlelight Tour, Havre de Grace. Annual Christmas tour of historic town features six private houses, ranging from new waterfront condos to historic houses, and several buildings, including the the Susquehanna Museum Lockhouse, Concord Point Lighthouse, Decoy Museum, Jobe's Decoy Shop, Havre de Grace Presbyterian Church, two Victorian B&B;'s and the old Opera House. Concert by Harford Choral Society at 2:30 p.m.; refreshments at the lockhouse. Hours: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: $8. Benefits the Susquehanna Museum Lockhouse. Details: (410) 939-3947.
Holiday Happening, Baltimore City Life Museums (Carroll Mansion, Center for Urban Archaeology, 1840 House and the Courtyard Exhibition Center, 800 E. Lombard St.). Costumed characters celebrate a 19th century holiday with Victorian parlor games, storytelling, dancing, open-hearth cooking and children's craft activities. Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Details: (410) 396-3279.
Union Square Christmas Cookie Tour, Baltimore. Tour of 25 Victorian houses, including the H. L. Mencken House, with refreshments at each. Noon to 5 p.m. Admission: $10. Details: (410) 945-1497 or (410) 233-3168.
Holiday House Tour, Oxford. Yuletide tour of nine handsome homes begins with a reception and wassail at Robert Morris Inn and concludes with a holiday dinner at the Oxford Community Center and a performance of holiday chamber music. Tickets: $20 by reservation. Details: (410) 226-5904 or (410) 822-3352.
Inns of the Blue Ridge Christmas Tour. Eight area bed and breakfasts and two country inns are decorated for the holidays; light refreshment and entertainment offered by several innkeepers. 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: $12.50. Benefits the Hospice of Frederick County. Details: (301) 865-5055.
DEC. 8-12, 15-19
Candlelight Pub Crawl, Annapolis. Guides in Colonial attire lead lantern-lit walks through historic streets of Annapolis combined with progressive seasonal feast, spirits and entertainment. 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations required. Admission: $60. Details: (410) 263-5401.
DEC. 10-14, 17-20
Victorian Christmas at History House, 218 Washington St., Cumberland. Victorian town house with downstairs rooms dressed in period trim, decorated doll house displayed in an upstairs bedroom. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Candlelight tours: Dec. 13, 17 and 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Christmas party with refreshments on Dec. 20. Admission: $2. Details: (301) 777-8678.
DEC. 11-15, 18-22, 26-29
Christmas at Miller House, 135 W. Washington St., Hagerstown. "Christmas through The Years" sets the theme for this year's decorations with 11 areas of this federal period town reflecting Christmas holidays from the Colonial period to modern times. Hours: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays to Fridays, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. Admission: $2 for adults, $1 for senior citizens, free for students. Details: (301) 797-8782.
DEC. 13, 14
Solomons Christmas Walk, Solomons. A walk through this Chesapeake Bay village illuminated by candlelight both evenings, live Nativity scene, children's Christmas art exhibit and visits with Santa at Calvert Marine Museum. Saturday's events include breakfast with Santa and a parade of lighted vessels through the harbor from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Free shuttle service available. Details: (410) 326-2549.
18th Century Christmas Celebration at Hammond Harwood House, 19 Maryland Ave., Annapolis. Traditional decorations in the Colonial manner by garden clubs from the Annapolis area, costumed hostesses, musical entertainment in the drawing room, hot wassail and cookies, craft demonstrations and decorations and greens for sale. Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Admission: $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 18. Details: (410) 269-1714.
Historic Annapolis Foundation Christmas Celebration, Annapolis. Preparations for a Christmas wedding is the theme for this year's holiday event at the William Paca House, 186 Prince George St. The celebration also includes an open house at the James Brice House, 42 East St. Both houses will be decorated with greens, dried flowers and festive foods. Different musical entertainment both days, refreshments, greens demonstration and sale on Friday, discussion of festive 18th century foods in William Paca House and 18th century dance performance at James Brice House on Saturday. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. James Brice House, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. William Paca House (candlelight tour 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission: $7 for adults, $4 for ages 6 to 18, free for under 6. Details: (410) 269-0432.
Christmas at an English Country House, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton. Lavishly decorated manor house, home of the late Harvey S. Ladew, with tours of house and grounds, featuring topiary hedges. Musical entertainment, free light refreshments, greens sale on the lawn, gift shop and cafe open. Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $4 for adults, $1 for children. Directions: 14 ,, miles north of Beltway Exit 27B on Jarrettsville Pike between Jacksonville and Madonna. Details: (410) 557-9466.
Christmas Candlelight Tour of Princess Anne. A walking tour of 19th century houses and buildings in Princess Anne with costumed hostesses, communitywide door decorating contest, carolers, candle-dipping, music and refreshments at the Teakle Mansion. Hours: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: $5. Details: (800) 521-9189 or (410) 651-2968.
Christmas Light Parade of Yachts, Annapolis Harbor. Annual nighttime parade of 60 yachts decorated with thousands of lights in Annapolis Harbor and Spa Creek. 6 p.m. Dockside activities begin at noon. Free. Details: (410) 268-8836.
Christmas in Historic Chestertown. Annual Christmas tour of 18th, 19th and 20th century houses and public buildings from noon to 5 p.m., refreshments at Emmanuel Church. Admission: $12.50 in advance, $15 after Dec. 6, $5 for children under 13. Tickets on sale at Emmanuel Church. Details: (410) 778-0866.
DEC. 14, 15
Union Mills Homestead's Poinsettia and Greens Open House, 3311 Littlestown Pike, Westminster. Several rooms of the 1797 Homestead will be decked out for an Old-Fashioned Christmas by Alloway Herb Gardens, refreshments of hot mulled cider and cookies, Santa. Poinsettias, Christmas trees and greens in Grist Mill. Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free. Call (410) 848-2288.
Victorian Christmas by Candlelight at Surratt House, 9110 Brandywine Road, Clinton. Decorations and traditions of a mid-19th century Christmas with displays of greenery, tours by costume guides, Civil War soldiers as sentries, antique toys, refreshments and a visit by Father Christmas. Hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 16. Admission: $1 for adults, 75 cents for senior citizens, 50 cents for students. Details: (410) 868-1121.
Christmas Candlelight Tour at London Town Publik House, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater. Scenarios involving William Brown, the original owner of the tavern, his family and fellow townspeople; Colonial decorations; 18th century music; complimentary refreshments. Hours: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission: $4.50 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $2.50 for ages 6 to 18. Details: (410) 222-1919.
Christmas Candlelight tour, Centreville. Tour of eight private houses and five historic buildings, including Tucker House and Wright's Chance; display of dolls, doll houses, quilts and trains at new senior center. Hours: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission: $10 for adults, $3 for children, includes high tea at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Tickets on sale at Town Office or senior center. Details: (410) 758-1836.
Christmas House Tour, Taneytown. "Christmas in the Country" is the theme of this Christmas house tour; most of the houses are in the Francis Scott Key area of Keysville and Keymar; complimentary refreshments. Hours: 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: $8. Details: (410) 756-2134.
Crumpton Candlelight Tour. Several houses in the Upper Eastern Shore village of Crumpton open their doors to the public; refreshments at each house. Hours: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: $5 for adults, $2.50 for ages 6 to 12, free for under 6. Tickets and shuttle service available at the old schoolhouse on Route 290. Details: (410) 928-5287 or (410) 778-9489.
Christmas in Galesville. Tour of old and new houses in the Anne Arundel County village of Galesville. Hours: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets: $7 for adults, $6 for over 65 and children under 12. Details: (410) 867-7441.