Christmas is returning to Glensheen Mansion this month, and visitors will be able to see all the festive decorations starting Friday.
The historic mansion on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth goes all out for the holidays every winter, including adorning 25 lighted Christmas trees that are placed in nearly every room of the 39-room mansion, which was built between 1905-1908.
Visitors will be able to see the trees, as well as hundreds of feet of garland and 25 hidden elves, on the self-guided general admission tour.
These self-guided tours are family friendly, and the 25 hidden elves around the mansion give kids (and kids at heart) the opportunity to play I-spy throughout the home. At the end of the tour, kids who spot all the elves in the elf hunt can earn a prize.
The general admission tours are being offered daily starting at 9 a.m. Friday through Saturday, Jan. 9 (except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). You can buy tickets here.
Glensheen also offers candlelight tours, where visitors can tour the mansion at night to see the Christmas glow. This is also a self-guided tour, which allows people to see the lower level and first and second floors of the mansion.
The candlelight tour is being offered between 5-7 p.m. from Nov. 24-Dec. 27. You can buy tickets here.
Also at Glensheen this winter is the Spirit of the Lights outdoor light display, which is free but reservations will be required (more information here). It opens Tuesday, Nov. 24, on the estate's grounds. The Spirit of the Lights opened at Glensheen last year after Duluth resident Marcia Hales decided to stop putting up lights at her Park Point home, which she had done since 1998.
In addition to the Christmas tours and outdoor light display, Glensheen is doing a series of videos called "Christmas with Jane" in which Jane Pederson Jandl, Glensheen's marketing manager, shares stories about what it was like at Glensheen during Christmas when the Congdon family lived there.
For the Congdon family, who built the mansion, Glensheen was a special place at Christmas and was one of the few times the family all gathered together. Although they didn't have 25 Christmas trees like are featured at Glensheen today, they all made sure to come to their Duluth home for Christmas (they had homes all across the country).
COVID-19 safety measures in place
Glensheen is taking precautions to keep visitors and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the mansion's website, it is only open for self-guided tours – before the pandemic, it offered guided tours for groups – at a reduced capacity (admittance into the mansion will be staggered based on capacity). There will also be one-way traffic throughout the home.
Visitors can see the mansion by buying a ticket to a general admission tour or full mansion tour, and they're encouraged to buy in advance online to limit contact.
Glensheen requires masks (free ones are available) and has a physical distancing policy that requires guests to maintain a distance of six feet from those not in their household. It has a routine of cleaning and disinfecting.
Glensheen Mansion, at 3300 London Road, is owned and operated by the University of Minnesota-Duluth.