The holiday season is abundant at the Hermitage through the Christmas season.

Young and old alike will delight in the myriad of activities planned at the former home of President Andrew Jackson.

Harvest wagon tours, holiday story time, fireside with Father Christmas and chocolate at the Hermitage cabin are just a few of the activities planned, according to Hannah Howard, director of public programs.

She’s entrenched in all things about the Hermitage and said this holiday season, the Hermitage broke out several inaugural activities geared to cheer in the season.

One sure to please all is the new holidays and harvest wagon tours. With the price of admission, plus $12 to the historic mansion, visitors can climb aboard an old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 22. Daily tours for children out of school for Christmas break will also be offered from Dec. 2-29.

“This is an expansion of our very popular wagon ride program,” said Howard. “This is the first year. We wanted to expand our story here at the Hermitage and tour all around the estate.”

An interpreter will usher the wagon rides, and the grounds will be treated up with themed holiday and harvest seasonal decorations. 

“What a lot of people don’t realize is this time of year in the South was the harvest season in Hermitage,” said Howard. “It was the height of the season, going right into Christmas, and cotton was harvested. Christmas didn’t really get big until around the time of the end of Jackson’s life. Christmas trees in the house were not the thing back then.”

Around 1845, Christmastime was a sad and mournful time for Jackson as his wife, Rachel, died around this season. 

“It was bittersweet at the mansion back then,” said Howard.

On the 30-minute open carriage tour that seats about 15 people, warm and fluffy blankets will be supplied, as well as warm beverages such has hot chocolate. The ride will be $12 per person with admission to the estate, and children younger than 5 can ride for free.

Afterward, families can visit the Hermitage Holiday Cabin as part of the experience.

“It’s an interactive history of chocolate station,” said Howard. “There’s a long history of chocolate with the Jacksons. Andrew Jackson’s favorite indulgence was chocolate. There’s a Nashville connection with our waterways, and chocolate was shipped in from all over the world.”

The Cabin by the Spring on the grounds is the place where children can take part in activities such as making handmade holiday cards with real quill pens and crafts such as paper poinsettias, tin punched ornaments and take-home Christmas ornaments. The cabin is open to visitors each Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

There’s also a chance to meet Father Christmas with a special reading and carols, plus pictures.

To get more details and other activities, visit thehermitage.com.

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