Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Victorian Christmas in Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville's Christmas Tree
If you're looking for a charming place to have an old fashioned Christmas, Louisville Kentucky is the place for you. Christmas time here is an absolute delight. Louisville is a charming city with row upon row of historic Victorian houses which, when dressed for the holidays, look like a page out of a Charles Dickens novel. There's nothing more picturesque. And, if you're thinking about staying for a few days, the many bed and breakfasts here will be delight you. Along with treating you to southern hospitality and serving the very best in gourmet breakfasts, the Innkeepers go all to decorate their beautiful Victorian mansions, both inside and out.

Christmas is one of the loveliest and most charming time of the year to visit is Old Louisville. Everything is so festive and there is so much to do. A family tradition of many is to drive around in December in search of the best Christmas lights Louisville house displays. However, as the years go by, the best neighborhoods for Christmas light displays change. If you haven't rented a car, You could always take a taxi to look at Christmas lights. Most of the drivers know the best neighborhoods

There are a few houses on Mile of Sunshine Drive in Okolona that go above and beyond. They are worth a stop for sure, and donations go to the Home of the Innocents. Freeman Lake Park in Elizabethtown, about an hour from Louisville has a drive-thru Christmas lights display, as well as the Mega Caverns under the Zoo. Then, of course, most of Old Louisville is pretty well decorated and lit up for the holidays. "My family goes to Christmas By The River in Brandenburg Kentucky every year. The lights are beautiful, and the grand kids love it." (Guest - ) Michelle

 You might enjoy midnight mass at the cathedral of the assumption downtown. If you go, get there early and you might just get a seat. Also check out some holiday plays at actors theater or Huber's farm over the river. I think they have a holiday show..  And a really fun and interesting thing to do is glassblowing an ornament at Glass works.

Another fun thing is the Holiday Cruise with Santa that the Bell of Louisville has on the Spirit of Jefferson, December 19th this year from 2-4 pm. You board downtown at the 4th St. wharf. Call 502-574-2992 or (toll-free) 866-832-0011 for information, to make a reservation, or to check the status of the cruise. [for more details]

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a visit with Marie, her Nutcracker Prince  and that nasty rascal the Rat King. You can be a part of all the magic and wonder new Brown-Forman Nutcracker has to offer. The choreography is by Val Caniparoli and the music by Peter IlyichTchaikovsky. The performances run December 4-19 down town at the Center for Performing Arts.

Also at the Kentucky Performing Center for the Arts will be The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, December 11-19. and performances of the classic It's A Wonderful Life all though out December. Check out the Kentucky Center  for The Arts on the Internet.

Our wonderful Actor's Theater will also be getting in on the holiday fun with performances of and A Christmas Carol, December 7-23, again down town Louisville on Main Street. Call 502-584-1205. Adapted by Barbara Field from Charles Dickens and directed by Sean Daniels, this  music-filled holiday celebration is Louisville’s biggest and best holiday tradition—the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and th e spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, brought to life with visual splendor and the warmth of holiday music. 

Another Louisville holiday tradition is "Light Up Louisville" which was November 26th. It is held in in Jefferson SquarePark  in downtown Louisville (6th St & Park) and ushers in the magic of the holiday season with a fifty foot tree, lights, fireworks and music which transforms downtown into a fantasy land aglow with the spirit of the holidays. The fun of Light Up Louisville will continue through the holiday season with displays and lights featured nightly. Called Lou-minations, it's a 14-minute display of lights and music on Metro Hall presented by GE. Paired with a carriage ride and dinner at one of Louisville’s many great restaurants and you have the makings for a very special holiday experience.
There are many other holiday activities you might enjoy during the month of December. You can check on line or wait until you get here and visit out two visitors centers: Old Louisville Visitors Center and the Louisville Visitors Center. Here are a few more suggestions:
Westport Villiage Xmas lights
Where: Westport Village
What: This annual Westport Village Christmas lights unveiling event includes the holiday tradition of pictures with Santa, horse-drawn sleigh rides, an outdoor Christmas concert, local choirs, and Christmas carolers.

First Friday Trolley Hop

When: December 4th Where: Downtown Louisville What: A tour of dozens of galleries in Downtown Louisville’s art district, taking participants to several different art galleries located on the Main, Market, and Fourth Street strips.

2009 Hollydays Art and Gift Market

When: December 4-6 Where: Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center What: Art Fair and Christmas Sale

Santa Safari

When: December 5-6
Where: The Louisville Zoo
What: Eat and make cookies with Santa and other North Pole characters while enjoying a full day of animal-watching at the Zoo.

Olde Tyme Christmas on Frankfort Avenue
When: December 5
Where: Frankfort Avenue
What: This Louisville Christmas event features the Santa Sprint Run and Stroll, festive Dog Walk, Good Neighbor Awards, holiday refreshments, photo opportunities with Santa at the Louisville Water Company, and trolley, horse, and carriage rides.

Old Louisville Holiday House Tour

Come and explore the country’s most extensive collection of Victorian mansions and picturesque homes at the 34th Annual Old Louisville Holiday House Tour and Festival, an absolute must for architecture buffs and history enthusiasts alike. In keeping with the rich tradition of Southern hospitality, homeowners in the nation’s premier Victorian neighborhood invite you and yours inside their charming residences to get a unique glimpse of life from a bygone era – a slower time when elegant women rushed about in bustles and corsets and when dapper gentlemen donned tails and ties for dinner. Good cheer and tidings of the season abound as visitors to this one-of-a-kind national historic preservation district tour eight neighborhood dwellings that have been lovingly decked in Old-World finery and festive holiday décor. Enjoy the spirit of the yuletide at this matchless holiday event in the heart of Kentucky’s largest city and see why people are talking about America’s Victorian Gem, Old Louisville.

When: December 4th and 5th, 2010
Where: St. James Court
What: This tour of Old Louisville showcases seven historical Victorian homes, both inside and out, that are decorated for Christmas.
The 2010 Holiday House Tour begins with complimentary parking at Cochran Elementary School, 5th & Lee Streets, with shuttle van transportation to the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum, 1402 St. James Court, where all tickets are picked up.
     Shuttles run continuously between all of the house tour homes and bed and breakfast inns and The Chapel of St. Philip.
    The Holiday Gift Boutique is open during the tour. It offers unique craft items and a holding area for packages.
    Ticket sales, will-call tickets, and the Holiday Gift Boutique are located directly behind the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum on Magnolia Ave.
     During the tour, The Conrad-Caldwell House Museum will host a high Victorian Tea at the Inn at the Park, 1332 South Fourth Street, each day with seatings from noon until 4 pm. The Tea will feature English teas and a tasteful sampling of savories and sweets reminiscent of holiday teas in the 19th century. The food will be prepared by David Dominé, The Bluegrass Peasant, and served by the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum Volunteers. Entertainment will be provided by harpist, Nancy Stagner. You may order tickets to the Victorian Tea by calling the Old Louisville Information Center at 502 635-5244. Tickets to the Victorian Tea are $20 each and may also be purchased during the tour at the door of The Conrad-Caldwell House or at the Inn at the Park. (
If you come: Be sure to book you accommodations early. Not all of the bed and breakfasts will be taking guests on Christmas and New Year's Eve. But be sure to check them out before you make your final plans. For information, check out the Old Louisville Information Center phone: 502 635-5244 email: olnc at

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