It’s dark. There’s no electricity. It’s cold.
The perfect time and conditions for you to celebrate December’s holiday season.
Sully Historic Site is lighting up December’s dark with holiday spirit and inviting you to party with the shadows cast by a house aglow with candlelight.
The one-time home of Richard Bland Lee, Northern Virginia’s first representative to Congress, is the centerpiece of Sully, and during the holidays there’s much to do, highlighted by the site’s annual candlelight tours. This year’s themes include a Civil War Christmas on Dec. 14, a Jane Austen Christmas on Dec. 15, and Victorian era holidays on Dec. 21. There are special tour times set aside for groups and scouts.
Register online in advance for the tour and associated events.
The candlelight tour programs, in the low light of sense-heightening evening, reach beyond the house and present 18th century life at night and Christmas customs of several different time periods.
Visitors will meet costumed characters of a past century in the house, strolling on the lawn, or at any of the outbuildings – a kitchen with open hearth cooking, a laundry, a connecting walkway, a smokehouse, a dairy and a representative slave cabin. You’ll have a chance to chat with folks who’ll convince you that you’ve stepped back in time into a small, Victorian street market lit by cresset torches, metal baskets on poles filled with burning wood that cast substantial light.
The evening is lit mostly by candlelight because that’s the way Lee’s family lived. Candlelight creates a leisurely, engaging, personal mood. You’re dropping in on friends, not watching a performance. Your volunteer hosts are experts in history, architecture, the Lee family, period clothing, candle making or period cooking.
It’s a leisurely evening that, depending on the night, could include a puppet show, dancing, music or visits with soldiers encamped in the yard.
It’s a festive scene at a festive time. Sully has stories to share from Christmases dating back to the early 1800s — more than 200 years of holidays that you’re invited to join this holiday season.
Come out this December to Sully Historic Site and be part of the third century of celebrations that turn gloomy winter skies into days filled with holiday spirit. Sully is located at 3650 Historic Sully Way in Chantilly, Va.
Co-author Barbara Ziman is the events coordinator at Sully Historic Site, and
David Ochs is the manager of Stewardship Communications in the Resource Management Division of the Fairfax County Park Authority.