It’s the season when Virginia decks the halls and opens its doors to visitors, with historic home tours across the Commonwealth. Luckily, many of these tours are in places that are served by Amtrak, so you can skip the traffic jams and parking wars and pull right into town. Here’s a sampling of Virginia holiday tours and events that are within a short walk or Lyft ride from an Amtrak station:
December 1: Culpeper’s Historic Holiday Tour of Homes
Pull into this charming town via Amtrak and take a 7-minute walk to the city’s South East neighborhood, where seven historic homes are open for touring. The tour includes the Italianate style Hill Mansion, built in the 1850s. Tickets are available online for $20 or $25 cash in several locations.
December 2: Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination
Take the train into Williamsburg, walk south a few blocks and enter the setting for an 18th century Christmas. During Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, you can see the town dressed for the holidays, hear musical performances on stages throughout the historic area, and watch a spectacular display of fireworks. No event tickets are required to walk the streets, but you’ll need one to enter buildings.
December 8 & 9: Fredericksburg’s 48th Annual Holiday Candlelight Tour
Just a 10-minute stroll from the train station, this tour winds through the picturesque streets of Fredericksburg, and into homes adorned by professional decorators, designers and artists. Evening tours on Dec. 8; daytime and evening tours Dec. 8th and 9th. Event tickets are $15-$30.
December 8 & 9: Richmond Fan District’s Holiday House Tour 2018
A quick Lyft ride takes you from either of Richmond’s two Amtrak stations to the beautiful Fan District. This year, you can tour 11 historic homes in a variety of architectural styles — and one of them was used in the filming of Homeland. Free trolleys will run along the tour route. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the tour.
December 9: The 2018 Historic Petersburg Holiday Homes Tour
Petersburg’s Poplar Lawn Historic District is about an 8-minute Lyft ride from the Amtrak station — and this year, you can tour a number of this neighborhood’s beautifully decorated homes and public buildings. If you’re up for it after the walking tour, you can walk about 27 minutes (or Lyft it) to Battersea Villa for live music, a bonfire, historic re-enactors and holiday refreshments. Tour tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day-of.
To book your train ride to any of these tours, go to the Amtrak website. You’ll get free Wi-Fi, a large seat and views of Virginia you can only see on Amtrak. And if it snows while you’re on board, well, that’s the perfect start or finish to any holiday tour.
Now’s the time to plan for a year of exploration.
The year 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of one of the most pivotal moments in American history. In recognition of this milestone year, the Commonwealth of Virginia and several key partners will launch American Evolution, a statewide series of events, educational programs and summits that will build awareness of Virginia’s role in the creation of our country. Learn more about American Evolution, and book your Amtrak tickets to the destinations for these enlightening events now. By booking at least 14 days in advance of each event, you can save 25% on your train ticket.