Home for the Holidays at the Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden

Twas the week before Christmas…the Phelps-Hatheway House is bustling with holiday preparations! Children are busy with games and crafts. Mantles are overflowing with flowers. Wreaths and trees sport lavish decorations. Ribbon and paper are unfurled for wrapping presents. Cakes are ready to be baked and hats decorated. But tea is ready so join us, December 1st through 3rd and experience the season's splendor at the Phelps-Hatheway House decorated by the Suffield Garden Club. Everything looks and smells grand – fresh flowers and spices scent the air!

Gorgeous rooms are staged in the theme of holiday anticipation. Delight in the millinery work as adornments are being bundled high atop festive hats. In the kitchen, the pastries are golden brown and cooling all around. Behind closed doors the men are taking a cigar and port break while they wrap presents. For now the presents are safe from the children – their attention is on the fine spread of candy in shimmering dishes. Everyone passes in the hall that is gilded with sprays of flowers, greenery and glistening snowflakes. The atmosphere at the Phelps-Hatheway House is sweet and joyful!

The weekend begins with an Opening Night Preview Party, Cocktails at Hatheway, on Friday, December 1st from 6 to 9 pm where attendees will enjoy catered hors d’oeuvres, wine, a champagne toast, and a silent auction. Individual tickets for Cocktails at Hatheway are $60/$50 for CTL & SGC Members; Patron Tickets are $100. All proceeds benefit the Phelps Hatheway House & Garden. For tickets, contact Jamie-Lynn Fontaine Connell at (860) 247-8996 x 23 or visit www.ctlandmarks.org.

On Saturday and Sunday, December 2nd and 3rd from 1 to 4 pm, enjoy tours of the festively decorated House, children's activities and light refreshments. Weekend Tour tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for children ages 6-18 (5 and under free). Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling 860.247.8996 x 23.

On Saturday, December 2nd, bring your beloved bear for a sweet treat and celebration of all things Christmas with a special children’s Teddy Bear Tea Party at 11 am and 1 pm. Christmas cookies and a tasty herbal tea will warm the heart and body, and a short story dedicated to the bear you love will finish our time together. Tea Party tickets are $5 per child, $10 per adult, or $20 for families (2 adults & children). Reservations requested, call (860) 668-0055 or email phelps.hatheway@ctlandmarks.org to register.

The Suffield Garden Club was established in July 1934. The club’s purpose is to promote the knowledge and love of gardening and the art of flower arranging, the protection of trees, plants and birds, civic beautification and respect for the environment.

The club’s presence is felt in all aspects of Suffield life; the members proudly maintain public gardens throughout town. Since 1965, the organization has also presented every fourth grade student in the Town with a tree sapling on Arbor Day. Members guide elderly and challenged individuals in the art of floral design, provide library flowers, and hold an annual May Market outside the Phelps-Hatheway Barn.

The Phelps-Hatheway House has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Suffield Garden Club. Since 1963, club members have been instrumental in the planning, planting and maintenance of the formal beds, the peony and rose collections and the herb garden. They have generously donated funds to restore the Summer House and to purchase benches for public seating. On Monday and Tuesday mornings, from May through October, dedicated ladies of the organization gather to tend to the beds, which were designed to reflect the late 18th-century English and French garden design.

Each December, club members turn their attention to the interior of the Phelps-Hatheway House as they decorate for the annual Home for the Holidays celebration. Using local plant natural materials, they transform the first floor of the historic museum and the exterior into a Christmas wonderland. Proceeds from this gracious endeavor directly benefit the museum's maintenance and programs. Arrangements created for the event will be sold on site.

The Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden is located at: 55 South Main Street in Suffield, CT and is open for regular tours from May – October. For hours and more information, visit www.ctlandmarks, www.facebook.com/PhelpsHathewayHouseAndGarden, or call (860) 668-0055.

About Connecticut Landmarks

Connecticut Landmarks’ mission is to inspire interest and encourage learning about the American past by preserving selected historic properties, collections and stories and presenting programs that meaningfully engage the public and our communities. For more information, please visit www.ctlandmarks.org.

Photo by Defining Studios, courtesy of Connecticut Landmarks.

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