Have you always wondered how some of Pittsburgh's historic homes and stately mansions are decorated for the holidays? Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a number of Pittsburgh area holiday house tours and events give you that chance.
November 10 - Six beautifully decorated homes will open their doors this year for the annual Howard Hanna Mount Lebanon Holiday House Tour, followed by lunch at the Bower Hill Community Church. Tickets are $25 (includes admission to the homes and lunch), with proceeds benefiting the Children's Hospital Free Care Fund.
November 17 - The Butler County Symphony Association is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year for their popular self-guided Holiday Tour of Homes featuring six beautifully decorated homes. A cookie reception welcomes all tour attendees at the First United Methodist Church Ministry Center on E. North Street. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the tour.
December 8 - The Greensburg Garden Center is hosting a tour of five Greensburg area churches beautifully decorated for the holidays on the Greensburg Historic Holiday Church Tour. Pastors will be on hand at each church to talk about church history and architecture, plus enjoy musical entertainment. Tickets are $20.
November 18 - For one day only, historic Woodville Plantation in Bridgeville, PA, is open for special holiday candlelight tours. Learn about 18th century holiday customs and see a magnificent display of the "full table" feast celebrated during Twelfth Night. Candlelight tours will be held from noon to 8:00 p.m. Admission is $5 per person; free for children under 6.
December 7–8 - Experience Christmas as it was celebrated over 100 years ago at the annual Allegheny West Victorian Christmas House Tour. This popular tour features a number of restored Victorian homes, plus the historic Calvary United Methodist Church decorated in nineteenth-century Christmas style. A special brunch tour and dessert tour are also offered. Held Friday & Saturday in historic Allegheny West on Pittsburgh's North Side.
December 8 - Four of Ligonier's most beautiful and unique homes will be decorated in holiday splendor for the 9th annual Ligonier Holiday Home Tour sponsored by the Auxiliary of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley. This self-driving tour begins at the museum with holiday pastries, cookies and beverages. Admission is $25; tickets available at the museum (they often sell out early!).
December 9 - Cranberry Women's Club is sponsoring a Christmas House Tour of eight homes. You will need to drive to each of the homes on this unguided tour; a booklet with map and home histories is provided at registration at the Cranberry Township Municipal Building. Admission is $20 (presale only) and proceeds benefit local charities.
Ongoing Holiday Home Tours
Christmas at Old Economy Village offers a unique 19th century Christmas celebration, with demonstrations, children's activities, a traditional Christmas putz, and plenty of German food. In the holiday house tour theme, the village and its historic buildings are decked in period Christmas finery.
The holiday season is the only time that Clayton House, the restored home of Henry Clay Frick, is open to the public for both daytime and evening tours. This year’s Clayton holiday tours includes holiday decorations in the spirit of family events celebrated by the Fricks celebrated in December. As always, the home will be dressed in finery reminiscent of the Victorian period.
The Hartwood Mansion is especially beautiful all decked out in holiday splendor! Day time tours are held from November 16, 2012, through January 6, 2013. Evening candlelight tours will be held November 26–28, plus December 1, 3–5 and 10–12, 2012.