Standing on 70 acres of land, and consisting of five historic buildings and eight gardens, Stan Hywet is the 6th largest home in the United States that is open to the public. Every year in December, volunteers decorate the estate with Christmas decorations of all kinds, including over one million lights and a choreographed light show to various Christmas songs. If you’re ever near Akron, Ohio during the month of December, I highly recommend paying a visit!
- The Experience
I always loved seeing Christmas lights as I drove around town, but this was the first time I had gone somewhere specifically to see Christmas lights, and I was not disappointed.
The Christmas Tree Lighting
When I first entered Stan Hywet, I immediately made my way to the main Christmas tree where the lighting would be held. There, Santa and all the children gathered around and gave their “Christmas energy” to this small box that. With enough energy, this box would light the tree. However, the kids’ energy wasn’t enough, so all the adults/parents had to stretch out their hands and send their “energy” as well. Together, we were able to light the tree.
Choreographed Light Show – “Dazzle”
From there, we quickly made our way to “dazzle,” the choreographed light show. I’d seen some pretty awesome videos of choreographed light shows, but never in person, so I was quite excited for this.
As the name would suggest, this area was decorated with a “gingerbread man” theme. They had all sorts of gingerbread man cutouts surrounded by various props: houses, cars, etc. And of course, these decorations were surrounded by plenty of beautiful lights.
Right next to Gingerbread Land is the conservatory. This too was all decked out. The ceiling of the conservatory even changed colors. In the below picture its green, but it changed between green, blue, and purple. Inside, many of the plant life had been decorated with lights similar to the way you might cover a Christmas tree with lights.
The Grounds and Gardens
Much of the gardens and the grounds in general are closed off during this time. However, the path from the conservatory and gingerbread land is open and fully decorated. The path takes you through one of the gardens behind the manor house and ends at the front of the manor.
Inside the Manor
At the manor, there was a little bit of a line to get to the front door. The tour of the manor is included in your tickets. However there was still a line because they only permitted so many people to enter at a time. Thankfully, they had small heating lamps set up along the way so you could enjoy at least a little bit of heat while standing in line.
Inside the manor house, they had ropes set up so that you had to walk single-file through the house. Unfortunately, you didn’t have the freedom to walk around or set your own pace. Your pace was determine by the pace of the line. If there was something that wasn’t interesting to you, you couldn’t just move onto the next thing because you had to wait for the people in front of you. You also couldn’t linger in one particular spot, unless of course you want the people behind you to get mad at you for holding up the line.
In this particular scenario, I was actually thankful they had the ropes set up the way they did. The manor house was PACKED, and I can’t image what kind of chaos it would be if that many people were allowed to roam free. Besides, with me being so short, no doubt I would end up behind somebody taller than me and I wouldn’t really be able to see and appreciate the various displays. The way the ropes were set up kept people back and away from the displays, so everybody would be able to get a good look at things. Still, I would love to go back one day when the Deck the Halls event wasn’t going on and having more time to explore the manor.
Deck the Hall is generally held the entire month of December (there may be one or two dates that they are not open for various reasons, so make sure to check the schedule in advance).
The event runs every evening starting from 5pm (after it gets dark). The last admission is at 8pm and the estate closes at 9pm. In my opinion, you should plan on getting there closer to 5pm. The estate is quite large, so you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to walk around and enjoy everything without feeling rushed.
Only a few of the main attractions are at a set time. The Christmas tree lighting with Santa is held at 5:30pm, and the choreographed light show occurs every 20 minutes, so make sure you pay attention to the clock if you’d like to see those.
Also, be prepared for a little bit of a wait to get through the entrance. The main parking lots were full, so many people had to park at nearby establishments that were designated as overflow parking and catch a shuttle to the estate. Once we arrived at the estate, we also had a short wait in line to purchase tickets.
I’ll admit that when I first saw the ticket prices, I felt that they were a bit pricey. However, after visiting the estate, I definitely feel like it was worth the money.
Ticket prices as of December 2018:
|Adult (18yr+)(Stan Hywet member)||$14||$16|
|Youth (6-17yr)(Stan Hywet member)||$6||$7|
|Children (5 & under)||Free||Free|
What do you think of Stan Hywet? Have you ever been to their Deck the Hall even? Let me know in the comments below!
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