While many of us love to drive by homes decked out with holiday finery, a special castle in Connecticut will take on a Victorian Christmas theme.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, DEP, has recently announced that they again will have the Gillette Castle open this holiday season decked out with Victorian Christmas style decorations.

The 24-room mansion atop the southernmost of seven hills on the east bank of the Connecticut River was once the home of William Gillette, the famous actor who played Sherlock Holmes.

Visitors will learn about Gillette’s home located on River Road in East Haddam.

The DEP usually has the castle open for tours between Memorial Day and Labor Day while the rest of the park is open daily.

All rooms normally open to the public will be decorated with Victorian Christmas decorations.

The 184-acre park consists of various walking trails with wooden bridges, some of which were the former rail line of the Seven Sister railroad, Gillette’s personal railroad around his estate.

The park also includes a visitor’s center with historical exhibits centering on Gillette’s life, including a recently restored steam locomotive, multi-purpose room for special events, small gift shop, concession stand, picnic tables, restrooms, and free parking.

For the holiday event, the park and castle will be open weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas including Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Those who want to tour the castle and see the Victorian Christmas decorations must buy tickets at the visitor center and prices are $5 for adults and $3 for children age six to twelve.

The event will include a bonfire and hot cider for sale and the concession stand will be open.

Officials indicate that the visitor’s center will be completely open for viewing of the historical exhibits and that the gift shop will be open to get that special, one-of-a-kind gift bearing the Gillette Castle State Park name.

Since much of the event takes place indoors, do not let cold or inclement weather stand in your way of having a good time.

Two musical performances have been scheduled: the South Windsor High School will perform Saturday, Dec. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the Stafford High School will perform Saturday, Dec. 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

I have been to the Victorian Christmas display in past years and was not disappointed. It definitely is different Christmas decorations than you see driving through your neighborhoods because it is all vintage decorations.


Gillette Castle Photo Credit: George Bekris by CC via Wikimedia