If you are looking for that jolt to kick you right into the Christmas Spirit, Ticonderoga's Hancock House"Festival of Trees" is exactly what you need. On Sunday, December 9th between 1 and 3 PM the Hancock House, located at 6 Moses Circle in Ticonderoga (right at the Liberty Monument) will host its 22nd Annual Open House and "Festival of Trees". Be prepared to be swept away with that nostalgic holiday sensation. You will escape the typical chaos of December and emerge filled with that seasonal glow.
The building itself is an historic reproduction of the original Hancock House (think John Hancock, who signed the Declaration of Independence) which stood on Beacon Hill in Boston. From the outside, the Georgian exterior is very imposing. However, during December the twinkling lights from every window beckon you inside and seem to soften its stately appearance. Once inside, you are welcomed by the sights, sounds and scents of the Christmas season.
During the annual "Festival of Trees" holiday decorating permeates every room and adorns the majestic staircases. The four floors of the Hancock House contain a research library, museum, gift shop and art gallery and all are a must see during this event. Around every corner you will discover a unique Christmas tree; in every size and shape. School groups, civic organizations, Ticonderoga Historical Society Board Members and others have all donated amazing effort and creativity to fashion a holiday tree in a meaningful theme. Themes include birds, the Adirondacks, America's veterans and even one honoring the nursing profession, but I cannot give them all away. You need to see for yourself to appreciate the clever imagination involved and the magic each holds within this setting. Each will individually enchant you as well as inspire and challenge your own holiday decorating.
Today I entered through the lower level, adjacent to the parking lot, directly into the Ticonderoga Arts Gallery level. Normally open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 until 4, the gallery will be open during the Festival of Trees Open House. Again, Sunday, December 9th from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.
As I entered the gallery I thought "Oh my!" I was overtaken by what amazing talent we have in the Lake Champlain Region! It is apparent how much of the inspiration comes from our own nature and scenic beauty. This gallery is filled to the brim with incredible art in every form created by local artists; photography, oil, watercolor, woodworking, pottery, jewelry, glass and more; and of course, there were Christmas trees! I had a difficult time leaving this gallery, but I did vow to return assured that I would find a unique gift here for everyone on my list, despite my meager budget. Nevertheless, three more floors were waiting with surprises for me to discover.
What fun I had as I continued my exploration climbing up three more floors and finding Christmas trees twinkling at me from every available space. Surrounded by historic furnishings and artifacts, each tree appears fairy-tale-like, having its own story to tell. Some are serious, some are whimsical, but all are captivating and not to be missed. You get the feeling you have stepped back in time and have entered a holiday wonderland. Time will escape you.
Eventually winding down from the fourth floor I still continued to make more discoveries; among them the museum's Gift Shop. A shopper at heart, particularly this time of year, I made mental notes and check marks on my gift list as I surveyed a fantastic collection of historical books, china, and decorative items all pertinent to the setting and region. The shop appears filled with those "hard-to-find" items.
The Hancock House is operated by the Ticonderoga Historical Society, all volunteers. The Annual Open House and "Festival of Trees" is their holiday gift to the area. Santa will be on site should you need to get in a last minute gift wish and holiday refreshments will be served to further entice you. What a delightful gift indeed! Be sure not to miss it!