Family Time: Want to experience Christmases of the past?

November 29, 2018

Take a step back in decorated-for-the-holidays time at the Mayowood Christmas Tours. Open to family members of all ages, the tour takes guests through Mayowood Mansion on a trip back in time.

“Mayowood Mansion was home to three generations of the Mayo family,” said Grace Curry, a Mayowood Christmas Tours tour guide. “The Christmas Tour gives today’s families a feel for Christmases of the past.”

The tour starts at the History Center.

“We start with a video at the History Center. Then it’s into the Crawford room for Christmas treats and a history of the Mayo family,” said Curry. “We’ll talk about when the property was purchased, the first house that was built on the property, the eight farms that used to operate on the property, the sulky track, the zoo with exotic animals and the dragon tooth wall that lines the property.”

Then it’s onto a trolley for a narrated ride up to Mayowood Mansion, where participants will enter the side of the house for a 50-minute tour.

“Every single one of the 42 rooms is decorated for Christmas, by decorators who spend two weeks decorating using their own decorations. They do a phenomenal job,” said Curry. “This year we had an exciting decorators’ party. Young Dr. Charlie was there, he’s 88 years old. He brought two of his sons, Charlie and Andrew, and Andrew and his wife Cindy decorated a room. We’ve never had a Mayo family member decorate a room. You’ll have to take the tour to find out which one.”

Built in 1911 by Dr. Charles H. Mayo, Mayowood is now owned by Mayo Clinic. Regular tours (April through October) and Christmas tours are organized and provided by the History Center of Olmsted County staff and volunteers.

“If you could see the children’s faces. They light up. They are so overwhelmed by the beauty of the house and the decorations,” said Curry. “Grandparents, parents, children — we want everyone to enjoy this beautiful house.”

Tickets are $25 for ages 12 and older, $10 ages 5 to 11, and free for children ages 4 and younger. Not recommended for very young children. Reservations are required, by phone.

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