With the approach of the yuletide season, the Lee-Fendall House (614 Oronoco Street) in Alexandria has decked out the home in full 19th century regalia for candlelight tours.
“Celebrate the holiday season with evening candlelight tours of the Lee-Fendall House decked out in Victorian splendor,” the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden said on Facebook. “Our antique toy exhibit will also be on view.”
The home was originally built in 1785 on land purchased by Major General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee.
The tours are offered every half hour starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. The museum warned that space is limited and reservations will be required. Face masks and social distancing will also be required for tours.
Tickets for the holiday tours are $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-13.
Photo via Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden
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After months closed during the pandemic, the Lee-Fendall House and Garden (614 Oronoco Street) in Alexandria has reopened with new tours planned to focus on women and minorities throughout the home’s history.
The house, built in 1785, is a museum dedicated to covering the history of the families that owned the home and the slaves and servants that worked there over the years. In recent years, that has meant a renewed focus on learning more about the slaves that were forced to work at the house for the Lee family.
“As we work to reopen, we are re-dedicated to telling a fuller story,” Martha Withers, Executive Director of the Lee-Fendall House said in a newsletter. “The violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the ensuing protests are reminders of how our nation struggles with racism and injustice born in the past and harbored in the present. We have an obligation not to ignore the racism experienced every day by African Americans and other Americans of color. We must use our knowledge of the past to shed light on these ongoing problems.”
Tours at the facility are limited to ten people or less, with all participants required to wear face masks.
“[The museum] will sanitize high-touch surfaces between each group of visitors and maintain social distancing of six feet during tours,” the museum staff said in the newsletter. “Volunteers, staff, and visitors wear masks in accordance with state regulations.”
The next tour for the house is Under the Same Roof: Enslaved and Free Servants at Lee-Fendall scheduled for Saturday, July 25. Tickets for the program are $10 and must be purchased in advance.
“As we work to broaden this story, we want to become a place where people can engage in historical understanding relevant to current issues,” Withers said. “To that end, we will continue to expand programs and exhibits that examine the lives of enslaved and free African Americans connected to our site, telling a more diverse story from the days of the early Republic through the upheavals of the 1960s.”
Photo via Lee-Fendall House
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If you’ve waited until the last minute to put together your Halloween plans, here’s your guide to events around the area.
The Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Avenue) is planning it’s annual party called Raven’s Night on Saturday, Nov. 2. The “unique soirée” features belly dancing, live music and a pre-show carnival. This year’s theme is “Creature Feature,” an homage to classic iconic movie monsters. Tickets are $25. Doors for the show open at 5 p.m.
Other Halloween events around town include:
Tonight (Oct. 30)
- Costume Halloween Shindig in Ivy Hill Cemetery (2823 King Street): Ivy Hill Cemetery is hosting a costume party tonight at 6:30 p.m. that will include a visit to the cemetery’s vault, ghost tours, moonshine tasting and costume awards. The event is also scheduled to include a reading from Maribeth Decker, a “local intuitive animal communicator,” who will be available to check in with pets living and deceased if the attendee brings a photo of their pet. Tickets are $35 per person and include food and drink.
- The Haunting of Hill House at The Little Theater of Alexandria (600 Wolfe Street): The Little Theater of Alexandria is hosting a performance of The Haunting of Hill House, a play based on the 1959 gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson. The plan is running every day this week starting at 8 p.m. and Wednesday (Nov. 7) through Saturday (Nov. 9).
- Halloween at Cafe 44 (44 Canal Center Plaza): Cafe 44 on the Alexandria waterfront is hosting a Halloween party tonight. The event is scheduled to include champagne, costumes, an dlive music from acoustic band Sleeper Car. Festivities are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
Tomorrow (Oct. 31)
- Halloween Bar Crawl in Carlyle: The Carlyle Council is hosting a bar crawl across the Carlyle neighborhood. Participating restaurants include Tequila & Taco, Trademark Drink and Eat, Sweet Fire Donna’s and Whiskey & Oyster. Checking into each restaurant earns a ticket to a raffle to win a dinner at Taste of Carlyle. Those who wear costumes can get discounted drinks.
- Halloween at Sonoma Cellar (207 King Street): The Sonoma Cellar is celebrating Halloween with an all-night happy hour. All night, the restaurant will have $2 off all wine and appetizers and $1 off all beers. Cigars and mulled wine in the garden are planned after 8 p.m., with blankets and patio heaters for a cozy atmosphere.
Friday (Nov. 1)
- Grief and Ghosts at the Lee-Fendall House Museum (614 Oronoco Street): This weekend, the historic Lee-Fendall House will host a series of tours on Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. that explore death and mysteries from the home’s history, as well as a look at Victorian mourning traditions. The event page says such customs include draping the mirrors after death, hair jewelry, and séances. Tickets are $10 and frequently sell out, so advance purchase is recommended.
- 10th Annual Columbia Firehouse Halloween Bash (109 S. Saint Asaph Street): The Columbia Firehouse is hosting it’s annual party, with trick or treating for kids and prizes for the best costume.
Photo via The Birchmere/Facebook