It’s a Downtown Christmas

Published 8:29 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Open House to kick off season

It may be Thanksgiving, but plenty of people are already looking ahead to the Christmas season.

Downtown Suffolk merchants, restaurants, galleries, museums and venues are joining to present the second annual Downtown Holiday Open House from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Shoppers will find discounts and holiday specials, free refreshments, live entertainment, crafts, dining incentives, workshops, afternoon tea, visits with Santa and more.

One of the biggest events happening that weekend is the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society’s 36th annual Candlelight Tour.

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Set for Dec. 1-2, the event aims to spotlight historic buildings in Suffolk while raising money for and bringing attention to the historical society.

Every year, the tour opens a handful of privately owned homes and other historical buildings to the public, allowing visitors to get into the holiday spirit while being transported to the Christmas seasons of yesteryear.

A theme — usually a neighborhood or historic event — connects the houses. This year, during the 150th anniversary year of the Union occupation of Suffolk, guests will visit two houses whose early owners dealt with the occupation in 1862-1863, and then two houses that represent the post-war return to prosperity.

The first two are the Prentis House, 321 N. Main St., and the Britt-Woodward House, 227 N. Main St. Those representing the post-war period are the Richard Seth Eley-Duggan House, 251 N. Main St., which has been in the same family since 1878, and the Phillips-Dawson House, 137 Bank St., which serves as the headquarters of the historical society.

Festive tablescapes by regional merchants will adorn tables in each of the homes. Downtown churches will participate in an Advent Bell Ring at 5 p.m. both days of the tour. In addition, the 1885 Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, 326 N. Main St., which is owned and managed by the historical society, will be open during the tour.

The Sugar Plum Kitchen, selling all manner of baked treats and candies, will be open at the Phillips-Dawson House.

The Candlelight Tour will be held Dec. 1-2 from 2 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person and are on sale at the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum and the Suffolk Visitor Center. For more information, call the historical society at 539-2781.

Separately, a free trolley will loop through downtown from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2. A downloadable event brochure is available online at For more information, call 514-4130.

The following businesses and venues are participating in the Holiday Open House:

  • Amici’s Italian Restaurant
  • Baron’s Pub
  • C3 Vino
  • C-Fit Studio
  • Cordially Invited
  • Embroidery Etc.
  • Harper’s Table
  • Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront
  • Jester’s Gallery Gifts
  • Mosaic by Holland’s
  • Richardson & Nash Clothiers
  • Riddick’s Folly House Museum
  • Rosa’s Coffee Cantina
  • Seaboard Station Railroad Museum
  • Serendipity Hair Salon
  • Shooting Star Gallery
  • Suffolk Art Gallery
  • Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
  • Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society
  • Suffolk Visitor Center & Gift Shop
  • The Plaid Hatter Tea Room & Bistro
  • The Plaid Turnip
  • UniquelyLeo’s