Holiday Happenings

’Tis the season — for joyful and sacred music, dancing toy soldiers, Dickensian drama, candlelight tours of historic sites, afternoon tea parties, and entertaining strolls through Valley towns big and small

Holiday Houses

Dec. 4-5: The annual Open House Weekend takes place at the Pruyn House. Holiday greens adorn the 18th-century Dutch homestead. On Saturday, purchase decorations created by Blue Creek Garden Club members at the boutique (10 a.m.-4 p.m.). On Sunday, tour the house, hear seasonal music by the Recorders, and savor some refreshments (12:30-4 p.m.). Dec. 18: Visit the Pruyn House for the Childrens’ Annual Holiday Party. Get your face painted, have a snack, and hobnob with Mr. Claus. 1-3 p.m. • 207 Old Niskayuna Rd., Newtonville. 518-783-1435 or

Dec. 3-Jan. 2: Get into the holiday spirit at Olana. House tours show visitors what it was like to spend Christmas with the Churches: Hear son Frederic Joseph’s letter to Santa, and discover what other family members and visitors thought of their experiences at painter Frederic Church’s Moorish-style mansion. Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $9, $8 seniors & students, under 12 free. Dec. 5: Have a hands-on holiday — and go home with some traditional decorations — by taking part in the Victorian Wreaths & Kissing Balls class taught by Mary Hughes, caretaker of Olana’s flower garden (1-4 p.m. $10). Afterwards, warm up at the Annual Holiday Bonfire, which features music by the Merry Minstrels, who perform Victorian carols. 2-4 p.m. Dec. 11: The Family Tour explores the house, its paintings, and artifacts from a child’s perspective. 11:30 a.m. $9, $8 seniors & students, free under 12; reservations required. • 5720 Rte. 9G, Hudson. 518-828-0135 or

Dec. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 26-27: Florists and interior designers transform Wilderstein into a seasonal wonderland. Tour the Victorian manse at your own pace. Guides share fun facts and answer questions about the home and the Suckley family (relatives of Franklin D. Roosevelt) who lived there. 1-4 p.m. $10; $9 seniors & students, under 12 free. Dec. 11: Enjoy afternoon tea at Wilderstein, complete with finger sandwiches, homemade cakes, and cookies. 1 p.m. $25, $10 children; reservations required. • 330 Morton Rd., Rhinebeck. 845-876-4818 or

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Dec. 5: At the Vanderbilt Mansion Christmas Open House, guests hear traditional music, enjoy refreshments, and learn about the Vanderbilts’ December visits to their opulent estate. In the early 20th century, the family would present each child in Hyde Park with a gift for the holidays — often handed out by Louise Vanderbilt herself from her red velvet sleigh. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. • Albany Post Rd. (Rte. 9), Hyde Park. 845-229-7770 or

Dec. 4, 11, 18 & 26-31: Relive the joy of Christmas past during Locust Grove’s Decorated Holiday Tours. Each room of the lavishly decked-out, A.J. Davis-designed villa illustrates a passage from “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” 10 a.m.-5 p.m., last tour at 3:15 p.m. $10, $6 children under 12. Dec. 4: As part of the site’s Twilight Tour, guests can stroll through the house and grounds by candlelight, then enjoy a historically inspired four-course holiday meal. 5:30 p.m. $100. Dec. 5, 12, 19: During the Hunt for the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” children collect clues — three red hens, two turtle doves — related to the text of the classic song. After you’ve found them all, enjoy refreshments and a storytelling performance. 12-4 p.m. $10, $8 children. • 2683 South Rd. (Rte. 9), Poughkeepsie. 845-454-4500 or

Dec. 12 & 19: See the 18th-century Mount Gulian homestead — decorated by the Tioranda Garden Club and all aglow — during the Holiday Candlelight Tour. From 4-6 p.m. each day, living history performances by actors portraying historical figures James F. Brown (an emancipated slave) and Mary Anna Verplanck (mistress of Mount Gulian and Brown’s employer) give an added dimension to the tour. 3-7 p.m. $8, $6 seniors, $4 children. Dec. 29: Gather for some tea, crafts, and good cheer at the site’s Children’s Holiday Victorian Tea. Scones with jam, crustless sandwiches, and dainty desserts — along with an assortment of teas — are served on fine china. 12-2 p.m. $15, $12 children; reservations required. • 145 Sterling St., Beacon. 845-831-8172 or

Dec. 12: Spend the afternoon visiting more than a dozen Newburgh houses on the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands’ self-guided Candlelight Tour of Homes. Begin at the 1830s residence of Captain David Crawford, where you’ll receive an illustrated booklet and map of the sites on the tour (which includes seasonally decorated homes from several time periods). 12-5 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 day of the tour. • 189 Montgomery St., Newburgh. 845-561-2585 or

Dec. 4: During Cold Spring by Candlelight, you can visit gaily decorated historic homes and sites, listen to caroling, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and say hello to Old St. Nick. You’ll also enjoy discounts at local stores and restaurants in the quaint village; proceeds from the event benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities in Putnam County. 12-6 p.m. $25, $20 seniors, $12 children in advance, $30/$25/$15 on the day. • Cold Spring. 845-278-7272, ext. 287 or

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Thru Dec. 31: Feel at home for the holidays by touring Boscobel. The 19th-century neoclassical mansion is all decked out with fruit and flowers for the yuletide season. Docents entertain you with tales of Christmas traditions, and you’ll get a peek at what life was like so many years ago (daily except Tuesday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). On Dec. 31, museum guides don period costumes and share “inside stories” of the Dyckman family during the tour. 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. $16, $13 seniors, $8 children 6-14, under six free. On Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the month, the site hosts a Yuletide Tea after your tour. Sip tea from fine china while savoring a variety of miniature sandwiches and extravagant sweets. 1 p.m. $40, reservations required. Dec. 13: For kids ages 5-12 there will be a special Children’s Tea with snacks and surprises for the young ones. $20, reservations required. Call for time and additional information. • 1601 Rte. 9D, Garrison. 845-265-3638 or

sunnysideLighting the way: Lanterns lead visitors through the twilight to Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in Tarrytown

Dec. 11, 18, 26: Experience an 1850s holiday during a candlelight tour at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside. Visitors see the cottage decorated with holly, evergreens, and candles while being guided down a lantern-lit path. Christmas tales and Irving’s family letters are read, costumed guides sing holiday carols around the piano, and hot cider is served outdoors by a roaring fire. Tours begin at 4 p.m. $14, $6 children 5-17, free under 5; reservations required. • 89 W. Sunnyside Ln., Tarrytown. 914-631-8200, ext. 618 or

Dec. 11, 18, 26: Twelfth Night festivities are celebrated at Van Cortlandt Manor, the 18th-century home of one of the Revolutionary era’s wealthiest families. Holiday greens and fruit adorn the main house, which rings out with live music. Take a lantern-lit stroll through the orchard to the tenant house (where you’ll meet the Lord of Misrule, the overseer of holiday revelry). In the ferry house, guests are invited to dance, drink, and make merry. Tours begin at 4 p.m. $14, $6 for children 5-17, free under 5; reservations required. • 525 S. Riverside Ave., Croton-on-Hudson. 914-631-8200, ext. 618 or

Dec. 4-19: Bring the whole family for a wintery evening visit to Lyndhurst during its Fairy Tale Holiday gatherings. Enjoy hot cider and live music, and explore the rooms decorated with holiday spirit in mind. Sat. 4-7 p.m.. Sun. 3-6 p.m. $15, $6 children 6-12, under 6 free; reservations required. Dec. 27-31: Daytime guided tours of the seasonally decorated mansion are offered from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call for ticket information. • 635 S. Broadway, Tarrytown. 914-631-4481 or

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Dec. 5: Explore Glenview, the 19th-century home on the grounds of the Hudson River Museum, which is festively decorated and abuzz with holiday charm. Costumed interpreters describe the Victorian traditions of gift-giving and other holiday celebrations. 1-3 p.m. Afterwards, enjoy a performance by Treble in Paradise, an all-female a cappella group, which sings your holiday favorites. 3:15-4 p.m. Call for ticket information. • 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914-963-4550 or

» Next: Music & Dance, Theater, and Special Events

caramoorSeasonal strains: Members of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s perform Mozart’s music at Caramoor

Music & Dance

Dec. 4: The Albany Symphony’s Magic of Christmas concert features talented young performers from the Capital District Youth Chorale and the Cathedral of All Saints Boychoir (among other local groups). 7 p.m. $30, $15 children under 15. • Palace Theatre. 19 Clinton Ave., Albany. 518-465-4755 or

Dec. 18: On their Christmas reunion tour, the Irish Tenors perform all your holiday favorites — including “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas,” and “Silent Night” — along with a full orchestra. 8 p.m. $37-$77. • Palace Theater. 19 Clinton Ave., Albany. 518-465-3334 or

Dec. 5: The University at Albany music department presents a holiday concert featuring its five ensembles — the Chorale, Chamber Singers, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra — as well as two student groups. 4 p.m. $6, $3 seniors & students. Dec. 6: The college’s two percussion groups join forces for a holiday concert aptly named Twenty Drummers Drummin’. 7 p.m. $6, $3 seniors & students. • UAlbany Performing Arts Center. 1400 Washington Ave., Albany. 518-442-3997.

Dec. 11-12: The choral ensemble Albany Pro Musica performs holiday favorites (including some sing-along selections) at this concert. Sat. 8 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, Schenectady, Sun. 3 p.m. at Carondelet Hospitality Center, Latham. $25, $10 students. • 518-438-6548 or

Dec. 12: The irrepressible Canadian Brass usher in the holiday season at the acoustically superb Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. This all-brass quintet plays selections from classical to jazz to pop — as well as all the seasonal favorites. 7 p.m. $31-$38, $25 students. • 30 Second St., Troy. 518-273-0038 or

Dec. 11: Enjoy an afternoon of stories and songs as the quartet Nowell We Sing Clear performs a mid-winter pageant of carols on the accordion, banjo, and guitar. 3 p.m. $20, $5 children under 13. • St. John’s Lutheran Church. 142 Maple Ave. Altamont. 518-765-2815 or

Dec. 3-5: Ulster Ballet Company offers a choreographed version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. More than 60 dancers and actors tell the well-known tale using dance, special effects, colorful costumes, and elaborate sets. Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $15, $12 seniors & students. • Ulster Performing Arts Center. 601 Broadway, Kingston. 845-339-6088 or

Dec. 11-12: Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, The Nutcracker, is performed by the New Paltz Ballet Theatre (along with principal dancers from the New York City Ballet). Journey with Marie as she dreams of a fierce battle between giant mice and toy soldiers, and visits the land of the Sugar Plum Fairies. Sat. 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. $28, $25 seniors & students. • Ulster Performing Arts Center. 601 Broadway, Kingston. 845-339-6088 or

Dec. 5: Take part in a traditional Service of Lessons and Carols at the Vassar College chapel. Performing groups include the Vassar College Choir, Women’s Chorus, Madrigal Singers, and Capella Festiva Chamber Choir. 7 p.m. • 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie. 845-437-7294 or

Dec. 19: The Empire Brass plays holiday standards — as well as classical works and traditional carols — in a show called The Sound of Christmas. Special guest Elisabeth von Trapp (granddaughter of Maria and Baron von Trapp, made famous in The Sound of Music) joins the quintet for this performance. 3 p.m. Call for ticket information. • Lycian Centre. 1351 Kings Highway, Sugar Loaf. 845-469-2287 or

Dec. 19: Kairos: A Consort of Singers sings seasonal sacred music from the Renaissance to the present day during the Service of Lessons and Carols at the Holy Cross Monastery. 3 p.m. • 1615 Rte. 9W, West Park. 845-256-9114.

Dec. 12: Enjoy an afternoon of high-energy vocal music at Eisenhower Hall Theatre when platinum-selling recording artists the Ten Tenors take the stage. The group’s blend of thrilling arias, hard-driving rock classics, and seasonal favorites makes this a unique holiday concert experience. 3 p.m. Call for ticket information. • Eisenhower Hall Theatre, West Point. 845-938-4159 or

Dec. 4: Children’s singer/musician Sukey Molloy plays her award-winning music at this Winter Holiday Show. The little ones can sing and dance to holiday songs along with friends Sunny, Tick Tock, and Little Flame. 11 a.m. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. • Ritterhausen Theater, Old Nyack H.S. 131 N. Midland Ave., Nyack. 845-418-ARTS.

Dec. 5: For their season finale, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s performs A Holiday Chamber Concert featuring an all-Mozart program. 4 p.m. $40. • Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. 149 Girdle Ridge Rd., Katonah. 914-232-1252 or

Dec. 2: Often associated with the holidays, the spirited sounds of Johannes Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti fill the air when the Brandenburg All-Stars come to town. The ensemble is a collaboration between some of New York’s leading musicians. 3 p.m. $52.50. • The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College. 735 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase. 914-251-6200 or

Dec. 8: In A Rockapella Holiday, the powerful and soulful sound of the human voice — sans instruments — brings you joyful holiday music. 8 p.m. $35. Dec. 12: Cherish the Ladies, the popular all-female Irish-American group, performs A Celtic Christmas with vocals and instrumental arrangements appropriate for the holidays. 8 p.m. $29. Dec. 17: Brighten up the season with the music and humor of the Canadian Brass. The internationally renowned ensemble plays classical, traditional, and contemporary selections. 8 p.m. $35-$55. • Tarrytown Music Hall. 13 Main St., Tarrytown. 914-631-3390 or

» Next: Theater and Special Events


Thru Jan. 2: Holiday chuckles abound in A Christmas Story. Based on Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the 1940s, this stage adaptation of the classic movie concerns nine-year-old Ralphie and his quest to convince Santa Claus (and his parents) that he should receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Tues.-Sun. Call for times and ticket information. • Capital Repertory Theater. 111 N. Pearl St., Albany. 518-445-7469 or

Thru Dec. 12: Loosely based on the fairy tales “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Hansel and Gretel,” the PantoLoon’s LOST: The Grimm Years is a wacky, way-out show that combines songs, shtick, and loads of old-fashioned fun. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $15, $8 children under 12. • Ghent Playhouse. Rte. 66 & Town Hall Pl., Ghent. 518-392-6264 or

Dec. 5 & 12: Experience scenes from A Christmas Carol in a whole new way. The Inn at Stone Ridge hosts a unique dinner-theater show which allows guests to interact with Dickens’s characters while enjoying a four-course meal prepared by Chef Brian Murphy. 12:30 & 5:30 p.m. $100, reservations required. • 3805 Main St., Stone Ridge. 845-687-0736.

Dec. 3: Ebenezer, Marley, and Tiny Tim take center stage in a musical version of Scrooge. Dickens’s tale of a miser’s redemption is told through music and dance in this remaking of the New York Stage Originals production. 8 p.m. $39, $29.25 youth. • Lycian Centre. 1351 Kings Highway, Sugar Loaf. 845-469-2287 or

Dec. 1-26: Combining the traditions of both Halloween and Christmas, A Sleepy Hollow Christmas Carol is a new musical based on characters created by Charles Dickens and Washington Irving. Greedy businessman Scrooge is persuaded to mend his ways by three ghosts: Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle, and the Headless Horseman. Call for exact schedule and ticket information. • Westchester Broadway Theatre. 1 Broadway Plaza, Elmsford. 914-592-2222 or

» Next: Special Events

Special Events

Thru Jan. 2: For the 13th year, Albany’s Washington Park is aglow with dozens of holiday light displays during Capital Holiday Lights in the Park. Marvel at the scene while driving through the park, then enjoy refreshments — and meet Rudolph and other special friends — at the lake house. Sun.-Thurs. 6-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 6-10 p.m. $15 per car. • Madison & New Scotland Ave., Albany. 518-435-0392 or

Dec. 5: Enjoy fine chocolates, desserts, and other goodies at the annual Chocolate Expo and Holiday Gift Market. Shop for jewelry, artwork, and other gifts in the galleries while enjoying seasonal music. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. • New York State Museum. Empire State Plaza, Albany. 518-474-5877 or

Dec. 5: Watch the lighting of the state trees and shop at the holiday marketplace at the Capital Holiday Tree Lighting & Fireworks Festival. The event also features children’s arts and crafts and festive music. 1-6 p.m. • Empire State Plaza, Albany. 518-474-0538 or

Dec. 11: Get in that last-minute holiday shopping while enjoying the shops, bars, and restaurants on Lark Street at Winter WonderLARK. This year’s event features the Santa Speedo Sprint: watch — or join in — as runners dash down the street in their skivvies to support the Albany Damien Center. 12-5 p.m. • Lark St., Albany. 518-434-3861 or

Thru Dec. 18: Find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list at the Shaker Christmas Craft Fair. More than 50 regional crafters offer jewelry, apparel, ornaments, pottery, photographs, and accessories. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. • Shaker Heritage Society. Heritage Lane, Albany. 518-456-7890 or

Dec. 5: Visit the Collar City for the 28th annual Troy Victorian Stroll. The event offers more than 100 free attractions, from performers (dancers, musicians, storytellers) and rides to refreshments and a craft show. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. • Downtown Troy. 518-274-7020 or

Dec. 3: Bring the kids to the Hurley Heritage Society’s An Evening with St. Nicholas. Storyteller Karen Pillsworth entertains with tales of this famous Dutch figure; enjoy a snack, and make a holiday ornament to take home, too. 7-9 p.m., reservations required. $3 suggested donation. • Hurley Reformed Church. 11 Main St., Hurley. 845-338-7686.

Dec. 1-5, 17-19: Local performers take on the roles of Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and those mysterious ghosts in this rendition of A Christmas Carol at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. Dec. 10-12: Loosely based on Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Sugar Plums and Nutcrackers is a dance performance that incorporates classical ballet, jazz, rhythm tap, hip-hop, and other elements. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. Dec. 26: Celebrate the season with classical guitarist David Temple in a concert featuring tracks from his new CD, Winter Stillness [In Flight]. 3 p.m. Tickets for all performances are $20, $18 seniors & children. • 661 Rte. 308, Rhinebeck. 845-876-3080 or

Dec. 3: Kick off the holiday season with Poughkeepsie’s Celebration of Lights Parade & Fireworks. The parade features the Amerscott Highland Pipers, Hudson Valley Philharmonic brass ensembles, Arm of the Sea Theatre — and more than 200 local schoolchildren. The city’s holiday tree is lit, and Santa Claus makes an appearance on a fire engine (6:30 p.m. in downtown Poughkeepsie). Afterwards, catch a screening of the 1983 family movie A Christmas Story, and find out if young Ralphie gets the only gift he really wants for the holidays. 8 p.m. $5. • Bardavon Opera House. 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie. 845-473-2072 or

Thru Feb. 28: A holiday tradition for decades, the Historical Society of Rockland County’s 35th annual Miniature, Dollhouse & Art Exhibition showcases dolls, furniture, toys, and other pint-sized items that will charm children and adults alike. Tues.-Sun. 12-4 p.m. $7, $3 children. • 20 Zukor Rd., New City. 845-634-9629 or

Dec. 4: Tomaseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas recreates the joy of Christmas Eve in a farmhouse set in the west of Ireland, where neighbors gather around the fire to tell stories, play music, and dance traditional jigs and reels in hobnailed boots. 8 p.m. $20, $18 seniors & students, $13 children under 13. • Academic Arts Theater, Westchester Community College. 75 Grasslands Rd., Valhalla. 914-606-6262 or

Dec. 4: Take a break from shopping and laugh with comedian Kevin Meaney as he reminisces about his hilarious holiday memories. 8 p.m. $29.50. Dec. 21: Catch a screening of the 1954 classic film A White Christmas. Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney star in the story of love and show biz that takes place at a (snowless) Vermont ski lodge in December. 8 p.m. $7. • Tarrytown Music Hall. 13 Main St., Tarrytown. 914-631-3390 or

Dec. 1-31: Looking for a unique gift? Visit A Gift of Art Holiday Show and Boutique at the Mamaroneck Artists’ Guild. Affordable works of art are available, as well as boutique items such as jewelry, scarves, holiday decorations, and other crafts. Tues.-Sat. 12-5 p.m., closed Dec. 26. • 126 Larchmont Ave., Larchmont. 914-834-1117 or

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