Christmas at Carter Mansion set for Dec. 2 & 3

Published 10:05 am Monday, November 28, 2016

Star File Photo  The annual Christmas at the Carter Mansion gives visitors a look at what Christmas celebrations were like in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Star File Photo
The annual Christmas at the Carter Mansion gives visitors a look at what Christmas celebrations were like in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Next weekend step away from the hustle and bustle of a busy holiday season and step back in time to the 18th century to enjoy a colonial Christmas with some of the area’s first families.
Visitors are invited to join Colonel John Carter, the Carter family, and all their friends for a glimpse into simpler time, when Christmas was the grandest celebration of the entire year. In colonial America the Christmas season was celebrated as a month long array of merriment and festivities signaled by caroling, feasting, dances, foxhunts, and the firing of Christmas guns. Christmas on the colonial frontier would have been much different though, with only the simplest of pleasures being offered by the humble backwoods settlers. However, in contrast, the Carters would have displayed an opulence only seen in the finest homes of Williamsburg or Philadelphia.
The annual Christmas at the Carter Mansion is set to take place on Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3, from 6-9 p.m. each evening. A new tour starts every 20 minutes beginning at 6 p.m. The last tour will depart from the visitor’s center at 8:40 p.m.
When visitors arrive, they will be treated to hot cider and refreshments at the visitor’s center before embarking on their tour of the candlelit home.
“Their guide will lead them up to the house by lantern light,” said Chad Bogart, historic interpreter for Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, which maintains the Carter Mansion. “When they step inside the house they will be stepping back in time to 1780.”
In the parlor, Col. John Carter and his wife Elizabeth McLin Carter will greet their visitors before welcoming them to tour the rest of their home.
“They will go through the different rooms and meet people from the Watauga Settlement,” Bogart said, adding visitors will meet such individuals as John Sevier and his wife Bonnie Kate and the Carter’s neighbors, Mary and Isaac Lincoln.
And, what is a Christmas celebration without the telling of tales. Lydia Bean will be in one of the upstairs bedrooms hosting a Christmas storytelling.
Saturday evening will also feature special music provided by the Smith Brothers, who hail from Jonesville, Va. “They are awesome musicians and singers,” Bogart said. “They are real delightful boys.”
Last year, the event was a sellout, but Bogart said slots are still available for this year’s event. Tickets are $5 for ages 13 and up while ages 12 and under are free. Tours are limited to 15 persons per group, Bogart said. Advance registration is required.
Tickets and reservations are available at the Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park visitor’s center in person or by telephone at 423-543-5808.
New this year, Bogart said, visitors can make their registrations and ticket purchases online by visiting and choosing “Upcoming Events” from the menu located on the left side of the screen.
The Historic John and Landon Carter Mansion is located at 1031 Broad Street in Elizabethton at the entrance to Lynn Valley. For more information, contact the Park at 423-543-5808.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox