Natural elements such as fresh greenery will be a common decoration when Stonewall Manor opens Sunday for a series of docent-guided Christmas tours.

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Natural elements such as fresh greenery will be a common decoration when Stonewall Manor opens Sunday for a series of docent-guided Christmas tours.

Mansion greets holiday visitors

From Staff Reports

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Stonewall Manor will throw open its doors this month for a series of afternoon and evening tours through the Christmas-decorated antebellum mansion.

The docent-guided tours run from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, and 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, Dec. 17 and Dec. 20, a release says.

Instead of modern trappings, though, the 181-year-old mansion will take a historical view of the holiday.

“For Christmas, Stonewall will be decorated with all of the natural elements that would have been used during the 19th century to make its ambiance that of the period,” the release says, referring to the Civil War period.

Details for the tours still are coming together, said Lauren Filliettaz, a volunteer with Friends of Stonewall Manor, the group that owns the home. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops are being surveyed to see if they would be interested in setting out luminaries, weather permitting. Free apple cider, hot cocoa and cookies already have been lined up for guests, and displays of period Christmas foods also will be set up.

“We’re hoping to have the Tar River Dulcimers play a couple of the evenings,” Filliettaz said.

Setting the mansion up for the tours has been a joint, far-ranging effort.

“The house is decorated by our membership at Stonewall as well as by the docents who help give the tours of the home,” she said. “We always use natural elements from all over Nash County. ... We might use dry okra, cotton, artichokes and pomegranate, things that make the house look beautiful and smell natural.”

The simplicity of the decorations reflects the austerity sparked by the Civil War.

“Homes would have been decorated top to bottom in fresh greenery,” the release says. “Decorations would have included red berries, pine cones and other natural elements in addition to crocheted ornaments and personal pictures and effects.

“All of these items combined to create the setting for a Christmas that didn’t necessarily come with the spirit that it deserved due to the trying times that the country was going through.”

Tour tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children. For details, call 904-0744 or go to stonewallmanornc.org or facebook.com/stonewall.manor.