Established in 1962 by eight women from the village of Stanton, Stanton Holly Trail is the longest established holiday house tour in New Jersey. A 501(c)3 charitable organization, Stanton Holly Trail has donated over $1 million to Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation and Stanton Reformed Church Outreach.
Stanton Holly Trail rings in the Christmas season annually with its tour on the first weekend in December. The Champagne Candlelight Tour begins the weekend of festivities at 5:00 on Friday. First guests are entertained at the elegant Ryland Inn with champagne, hors d’oeurvres, dinner, dessert and coffee. Well-fed and happy, guests are then escorted to small luxury buses where they enjoy the magic of Christmas by candlelight. The glow of each home can be seen from the street as guests catch sight of the luminaries lining each driveway. The bus waits for them while they tour the home and then whisks them off to the next home. For those choosing to enjoy the tour by day-light, festivities, the traditional tour begins Saturday at 8:00 am. The day time tour includes each of the five uniquely decorated homes, as well as a chef-inspired luncheon, bakery booth, and a Holiday Bazaar that features unique items from local vendors. Any guest with a sweet tooth will also be sure to visit the Candy House, which features a diverse selection of homemade chocolates, fudge, hard candies, and other holiday goodies. As a way of saying “Thank You” to our patrons, the Silver Tea house serves complimentary home-baked cookies and hot tea to all those attending the event.
Stanton Holly Trail’s Christmas house tour features five picturesque homes stunningly decorated by community volunteers. The homes are decorated with handmade crafts and ornaments, which are complemented with beautiful evergreen decorations, Christmas trees, and driveway luminaries. In previous years, the Tour has featured such area-famous homes as the Readington Buffalo Farm, the Holly Thorne House Bed and Breakfast, the Doric House. Each year the tour features a mix of old and new featuring many historical homes built in the 1700 and 1800s. Tour viewers have been delighted to enter a home built in 1740 which featured a different Christmas Carol theme in each of its historic rooms. Another tour home had been owned by Ted Danson, while another historical home was decorated with handmade lace angels, Victorian fans made out of paperback novels, and handmade flowers made from brown paper grocery bags. Homemade décor has always been the very center of the tour. Note-taking is encouraged and we hope every guest returns home filled with the Christmas spirit and bursting with ideas to use in their own homes.
Guests are bused from house to house, and are entertained by Bus Ambassadors who act as guides on each bus and can answer questions about the homes, Holly Trail and the local area.
Tickets for the Saturday tour are $40 and $15 for the indulgent luncheon. The Friday night Champagne Candlelight Tour tickets are $150 and are limited. All tickets must be ordered in advance; tickets are not available the day of the event.
Ten dollars of the Saturday tour ticket price and $75 of the Friday night tour ticket is a tax deductible charitable contribution to the extent allowable by law.