By Sally Yoder
The holidays are here and so comes the trimmings that mark the season. Not to be forgotten in the rush of parties, baking, shopping, and wrapping packages is of course the decorating–inside and outside. Here are some musts to visit and enjoy this season.
Heritage Village has a wondrous display with key houses decorated in the historic period of the structure. The village opened in late 1977 on 10 acres with two houses, the Plant Sumner House and the House of Seven Gables which was barged down the inland waterway from behind the court house in Clearwater. Along with these two, there was one museum building for exhibits and offices.
Today, 31 historic structures, many moved from various county locations, are nestled on 21 acres among tall Florida pines and palmettos. The House of Seven Gables, Union Academy, Walsingham House and the old McMullen House along with the H.C. Smith Store are decorated inside and out with beautiful holiday trimmings. Strolling the walkways throughout the village will put anyone in the holiday spirit. The display, at 11909 125th St. N. in Largo will be open from Dec. 9 through Dec. 31, Wed. through Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sun. 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Christmas. Go to pinellas-county.org/heritage.
Enjoy more than 1 million LED lights at Holiday Lights in the Gardens in the Florida Botanical Gardens at 2520 Ulmerton Rd., through Dec. 31 from 5 to 9:15 p.m. Good parking is available and there will be entertainment, music and other events to add to the holiday spirit. Monday nights are dog friendly, on Tuesdays visitors can participate in a photo contest and Wednesdays are ugly holiday sweater nights with prizes. See details at flbgfoundation.org.
Get the family in the car and scourer the old Northeast neighborhood of St. Petersburg, east of 4th Street North between 5th and 30th Avenues North. Many of the homes were built in the 1920s and ’30s and have been restored to their original state. Owners go all out to decorate these historic residences, home to many county and city pioneers. There is a variety of architectural styles, front porches have Christmas themes, sparkling lights reach upward on tall gable roofs and holly, garland, and Christmas Trees galore make the streets fun to drive through. Old fashioned Christmas with old fashioned homes make this area special to visit.
Further south, the Oakdale Christmas House will be adorned this year with more than 500,000 lights. In it’s 41st year, this free display has been rated one of the top- three Christmas lights displays in the U.S. by the “Today Show,” and has been featured on HGTV. It includes a 70-foot-tall Christmas tree and more than 700 animated or moving objects. At 2719 Oakdale St. S. it is open from 6 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 3. See more at christmasdisplay.org.