Fairmount Park is a gorgeous place for anyone to admire no matter what time of year it is. However, this December the mansions of Fairmount Park are going to be the to-see destination as they host A Very Philly Christmas on certain days throughout the month.
The historic houses of Lemon Hill Mansion, Laurel Hill, Woodford Mansion, Cedar Grove, and the Historic Strawberry Mansion have all been transformed into a winter wonderland, offering a variety of activities as well as enjoying the holiday décor.
I was able to walk through the Lemon Hill mansion and experience some of the exquisite Christmas décor for myself. I couldn’t help but linger in each room as the opulence of the historic home was carefully and creatively adorned by talented local garden clubs. And seeing is believing because I’m sure that every kid (and kid at heart) will adore the floor-to-ceiling Christmas trees or the quintessential holiday trains that were made by a Philadelphia-founded company, Bachmann Trains—and the best part, they actually run!
In honor of this year’s theme, there will be four days of special events showcasing what makes Philadelphia a very special place, including music, Family Day, Neighbor’s Day, and Flavors of the Season.
While I sought out what each room beheld, every corner of the house was filled with the sounds of music. I love jazz, and so I was in luck that the Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts Student Ensemble was playing live, lifting up spirits as much as the decorations brought holiday cheer.
Along with enjoying the sights and sounds within the walls of this beautiful 18th and 19th-century homes, the Very Philly Christmas will be host to special events and happy surprises along the route. Some of which include a Lemon Tree Ice Sculpture (with real lemons hanging from it!) and the likeness of Philadelphia’s own Gritty carved out of Cabot Cheese!
If you need a break from the tours of Christmas decors, you are in luck! For the first time ever, the Historic Houses of Philadelphia will delight guests with a cool new experience on its 47th year: Lemon Hill Mansion will debut Ice Bar.
For 6 days only, Ice Bar will serve beers and cider from Evil Genius and Original XIII Ciderworks, along with rotating line-up of food trucks, comfy Adirondack seating, and firepits. Then on Friday nights, they will have specialty cocktails created by Nathan Weigert, a local mixologist and Brand Educator for Revivalist Gins.
So when you’re looking for a picturesque way to celebrate the holiday season, you can participate in “A Very Philly Christmas” which took place on this past weekend and again December 7–December 9.
All of this captivating scenery was brought to you through the promotion and programming for the historic houses, which are supported through a partnership between Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy, and various stewardship groups. Proceeds from the events support the ongoing stewardship, maintenance, and promotion of these treasures.
Amaris Pollock is a freelance writer and photographer covering the local restaurant scene. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for requests.