There are plenty of automotive-themed things to do and see in Detroit if you’re a car enthusiast or history buff. But it doesn’t take a gear head to enjoy touring the elegant mansions of the pioneering families of the auto industry — and they’re especially magnificent around the holidays. Schedule a trip to the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House or Meadow Brook Hall this month for the manors’ holiday events.
Ford House (Edsel & Eleanor Ford House)
The Ford House in Grosse Pointe has a full schedule of holiday events in December, all celebrating one of the great automotive aristocrats.
The Winter Wonderland events (Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17) display everything the house has to offer. You can stroll beneath a canopy of lights covering the grounds, visit Candy Cane Lane or Santa’s Workshop, or take a tour of the interior of the house decorated for the holidays. You’ll find storytellers, roasting fires, carolers, a Short’s Brewery beer garden and other activities.
New this year, you can end 2016 on a high note at the adults-only Winter Wonderland After Hours Dec. 30. Tickets for After Hours are $40, which includes two drink tickets.
If you prefer a daytime outing, stop by Dec. 4, 12 and 15 for the afternoon Holiday Tea & Tour with sandwiches, pastries and tea.
Ticket prices vary depending on which event you choose. Winter Wonderland is $20 for the house and the grounds (get them in advance), or $10 if you just want to walk around outside. After Hours and Holiday Tea & Tour tickets are $40 and could possibly sell out.
Tips for going:
- Remember that much of the decoration on the estate grounds is outdoors “” so dress for the weather (or plan to warm up with hot cocoa).
- Be ready to walk about a mile if you plan to see the entire estate.
- Parking is free, but be prepared for a crowded lot.
Meadow Brook Hall
North of Detroit, Rochester’s Meadow Brook Hall is decked out for the holidays now through Dec. 22 with special exhibits celebrating “treasures of childhood.” The Tudor-revival Hall was built in the 1920s by Matilda Dodge Wilson, the widow of auto pioneer John Dodge, and her second husband, Alfred Wilson. The 1,500-acre estate is now situated on the grounds of Oakland University, which the Wilsons founded.
For the Meadow Brook Hall Holiday Walk, the manor’s elaborate rooms are donned with festive decorations, and the Knole Cottage hosts a Mother Good Adventure. Danny’s Cabin transforms into Santa’s Workshop.
Self-guided tours are available daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and evening tours are available Dec. 18-21 until 9 p.m. With either option, be sure to arrive at least an hour before closing.
Admission is $20 for adults or seniors and $5 for kids 17 and under (kids 2 and under are free). But if you’re an Oakland University student, alumni or staff, you’ll get a discount.
Tips for going:
- Give yourself about 1.5 hours to tour the entire estate (that includes the Hall, Knole Cottage and Danny’s Cabin).
- Be sure to take plenty of mental pictures of the Hall “” photography is not permitted inside. But if you purchase a tour, you can snap as many as you’d like outside the building or in the gardens.
- This is a great last-minute activity to plan, as reservations for the Holiday Walk Tour are not required.