Celebrate Christmas in the spirit of the Congdons
Glensheen’s Self-Guided Christmas Tour is the largest indoor light display in Duluth. With 15 Christmas Trees, 500 feet of garland and 5,000 lights, the 39-room mansion is quite a dazzling display for the holiday season.
The Christmas Tour experience starts in the ticket house where you will be greeted by the smell of evergreen from the real Christmas Tree. Then you will make your way to the Carriage House where (free) hot cocoa and coffee from Duluth Coffee Company awaits.
Here in the Carriage house, you will also have a great photo opportunity with the replica Portland Cutter sleigh. This sleigh is very similar to the sleigh that the Congdons used. Take a seat in the sleigh and snuggle up!
Your tour guide will then escort you up to the front door of the mansion. Just like the Congdon’s chauffeur- James Roper, who may have brought you by carriage or sleigh (like the one pictured above). Exactly as the Chauffeur would have done a hundred years ago, your guide will leave you in the capable hands of the home’s Butler, who will welcome you inside at the front door.
Once inside Glensheen, your self-guided portion of the tour begins. Glensheen was a special place for the Congdon family during Christmas and was one of few gathering times of the family. As you make your way through the fully decked out mansion, you will read various oral history stories of how the Congdon’s celebrated Christmas.
One of the traditions of the family was to grow Poinsettia plants in the Greenhouse attached the Gardener Cottage. Eventually they would be all over the home. The head gardener, Bob Wyness, would start getting ready in September to deliver around 150 plants as gifts to friends and business associates around the region during the Christmas season.
Along with the spectacular decorations and Congdon Christmas stories, there will be a live pianist in the living room, playing Christmas music on the Congdon’s very own, Baby Grand Steinway piano. And in the kitchen you will get a taste of Clara Congdon’s short-bread cookie recipe that she baked during the holiday season.
Christmas would not be complete without a little Christmas magic. Throughout the mansion are 12 elves, hidden in nooks and crannies of the mansion. See if you can find them all. The little ones will be bursting with excitement on their elf treasure hunt. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult.
Not only is Glensheen a sight to see with 15 Christmas trees, over 500 feet of garland and 5,000 Christmas lights. But also, the Glensheen Christmas tour truly feels authentic, celebrated in the Congdon spirit. The walls have been decked and the stockings hung.
Glensheen welcomes guests of all religious faiths and practices with open arms and are invited to experience the history of a Glensheen Christmas in the spirit of the Congdons.
Glensheen’s Self-Guided Christmas Tours kick off Saturday, November 29th and will run through January 4th. Christmas Tours offered Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 a.m. — 2:00 p.m. To learn more and purchase tickets, go to https://glensheen.wp.d.umn.edu/tours/christmas-tour/