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Holiday house tours herald the season

An annual holiday dinner is held at the

An annual holiday dinner is held at the historic Vanderbilt Mansion, which is decked out for the season. Credit: Handout

The next few weeks offer a number of holiday house tours being organized by historical societies, community organizations and nonprofits across Long Island. Many highlight historic properties and offer classic, homespun ways to get into the holiday spirit.

Nov. 30-Dec. 1

The Three Village Historical Society 34th annual Candlelight House Tour will showcase six homes in Old Field South that, at one time, were all owned by Ward Melville. The homes will be dressed in their holiday best by a volunteer team of local decorators and will be staffed by docents available to answer questions on both the decorating and architecture of the homes. The Friday evening tour includes wine and hors d'oeuvres at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages in Stony Brook. Saturday's tour includes the option of breakfast at the Old Field Club. Tickets range from $40 to $100 and can be purchased at the society's historical center, 93 North Country Rd. in Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit

If you're anything but "Bah, humbug" about holiday decorating, head to Port Jefferson Village's 17th annual Dickens Festival on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2. The annual celebration of Charles Dickens, author of "A Christmas Carol," features a lantern-lit tour of Victorian homes from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce at 631-473-1414, or visiting the office at 118 W. Broadway.

Dec. 1

The Mutual Concerns Committee of Sea Cliff's 11th annual Holiday House Tour will include homes of varying styles. The self-guided tour is from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and children 12 and older, and include a light lunch prepared by local chefs. Children under age 12 are not permitted. There also will be a holiday boutique and raffles. For tickets and information, call 516-671-1717 or visit Sherlock Homes Realty, 305 Sea Cliff Ave.

Seven Amityville homeowners will bring out the holiday finery for the Friendly Bay Village Holiday Homes Tour. Sponsored by the Bay Village Civic Association, the tour will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Seven homes on Bennett Place will be decorated for the season. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Johnson's Florist, 86 Broadway; Bella Maison, 137 Merrick Rd.; Amityville Acupuncture and Wellness, 320 Merrick Rd.; Self Image Salon, 180 Broadway; and the Lauder Museum, 170 Broadway. On the day of the tour, tickets can be purchased at any of the homes or at the firehouse annex on Bennett Place. During the tour, vendors offering crafts, ornaments, gifts and baked goods will gather at St. Mary's Church, an 1888 historic landmark at 175 Broadway. Local businesses also will be offering discounts to tour patrons. Proceeds from the tour will be donated to the renovation of the Amityville Beach playground. Email or call 631-691-8435 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Dec. 2

The Huntington Historical Society tour will provide an inside look at five private historic homes, including houses once inhabited by the community's founding families. This year's tour, which takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 2, will feature the circa-1840 Rogers House, situated on a street that at one time was called Rogers Lane. The tour starts at the Conklin House Museum, 2 High St. Tickets are $35 for members, $40 for nonmembers; they are limited and should be purchased in advance. A ticket and map, along with a brochure describing the houses, will be mailed the week before the tour. Call 631-427-7045, ext. 401, or visit

The Historical Society of Islip Hamlet will conduct its 19th annual holiday house tour from noon to 4 p.m. Several historically or architecturally significant homes will be decorated for the holidays, and tours will be given by guides in period dress. The tour includes a reception in one of Islip's historic churches with light refreshments, entertainment, a raffle and an auction. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour for ages 16 and older. They can be purchased from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the Nook & Cranny Gift Boutique, 469 Main St. Only cash or checks will be accepted. Payment also can be mailed to the historical society at P.O. Box 601, Islip, NY 11751. For more information, call 631-245-0675.

Dec. 5

The North Shore Holiday House, a residential camp for girls ages 7 to 11, will live up to its name on Dec. 5. The camp's seventh annual "Deck the Halls" house tour and benefit will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include lunch at Honu Kitchen & Cocktails in Huntington. Tickets are $75 in advance, $100 the day of, and are available by calling 631-427-7630 or by visiting

Dec. 8

Historic homes of Orient and East Marion will be on display at the Oysterponds Historical Society's annual holiday house tour. Check-in will take place at the Orient Congregational Church, 23045 Main Rd., where visitors will receive tickets, maps and home descriptions. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. To buy tickets in advance, mail a check to: Oysterponds Historical Society, P.O. Box 70, Orient, NY 11957. Checks should arrive by Dec. 5. All tickets will be held at the door of the church. For more information, email

See the grand Vanderbilt Mansion, one of Long Island's most celebrated homes, decorated for the holidays at the popular holiday dinner. The evening includes cocktails, a tour of the decorated mansion, dinner in the glassed-walled Northport Porch overlooking the harbor and dessert in the Lancaster Room. Seatings will be at 6 and 8 p.m. The cost is $100 a person. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 631-854-5579. The reservation deadline is Nov. 26. For those who miss out on dinner, twilight tours of the decorated mansion will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 26 through 28. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for students and seniors 62 and older, and $5 for children 12 and younger. Hot chocolate and cookies are included.

Dec. 16

Actors dressed in period garb will lead guests through three homes from the 1800s at the Yaphank Historical Society's annual house tour. There also will be carolers and tours of a restored gas station from the 1920s. St. Andrew's church, built in 1851, will feature a live nativity scene and display of antique nativity scenes. The tour, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m., also will include cider and light refreshments. Admission is $10 and can be paid at the Hawkins House, 2 Yaphank Ave. For more information, call 631-924-2241 or visit


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