It isn’t too early to start making plans to visit seasonally bedecked historic houses to gain some design inspiration for your holiday season. If you want to get a glimpse inside some lived-in interiors, the annual Candlelight Tour of Homes in Newburgh offers a chance to mix some history and design.
Sponsored by the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands for over 30 years, the self-guided tour Candlelight Tour of Homes features Newburgh spaces, both public and private, decorated out for the holidays. From mansions to new construction and everything in between, this year the tour offers a chance to get inside thirteen spots. There’s even a structure in the midst of rehabilitation on the tour. The exact locations of the spaces are kept under wraps until ticket buyers pick up their tour booklets on the day of the tour, December 8.
Perched overlooking the Hudson, Newburgh is an architectural treasure of a town. It was strategically important during the Revolutionary War, and Washington’s headquarters is now a New York State Historic Site. The town was a hub of commerce in the early 19th century, its waterfront a stopping point between Manhattan and Albany. Business owners and ship captains built up the small town with mansions and warehouses.
In the 19th century, Newburgh was the center of an architectural scene with a group of designers who would have a lasting impact on the American home — including hometown boy Andrew Jackson Downing, a designer and horticulturalist, along with architects Alexander Jackson Davis, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Clarke Withers.
Newburgh remained a shipping and industrial center through the early 20th century, but by the 1960s changes in transportation and other economic forces hit the city. While urban renewal projects demolished blocks of buildings, the town also worked to document its significant architectural legacy. It established a historic district in 1973, which includes building styles from the 18th to the early 20th century.
The annual candlelight tour begins at one of those historic sites, the Captain David Crawford House. The grand Federal-style mansion was constructed in 1830 and has been the headquarters of the historical society since 1954. When not spruced up in seasonal decor, the house showcases a collection of 19th century furnishings and decorative arts, and hosts exhibits and lectures.
How to Visit
Address: The Candlelight Tour begins at the Captain David Crawford House, 189 Montgomery Street, Newburgh, N.Y.
Hours: The event takes place on Sunday, December 8 from 12 to 5 p.m.
Admission: $30 per person purchased in advance, $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at the event page and turned in for tour booklets the day of the tour at the Captain David Crawford House.
Directions: By car, Newburgh is about two hours from Brooklyn via the Palisades Parkway.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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