Our Area’s Own Christmas Teas and Decorated Homes

If You Haven’t Been There, Go! If You Have Been There, Go Again!

This year, the Mayowood Mansion Christmas tours will be held from November 7 to December 13, giving you ample opportunity to see this historic Rochester site like you have never seen it before.

The completely renovated mansion opens areas which have not been available to the public previously. The entrance on the back offers handicap accessibility and a unique view of the gardens and restored summer gazebo. The interior boasts new drapery, upholstery, furniture and a gallery of Dr. Mayo’s personal pictures.


“Christmas tours show the house at its very best,” assures Roxi Ziecina, interim director of the History Center of Olmsted County. “We have each decorator take on an individual room, and their creativity is amazing.” 

A nod to the past is emphasized with decorating taking on a historical flair. Entries, hallways, kitchens, bedrooms and living areas will be festooned in finery. The exterior will be inspiring as well.

Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday (except Thanksgiving) at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tours on Fridays and Saturdays are at the same times plus additional tours are given at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Adults are $15, 12 years and under are $10. Reservations are required. Please call the History Center of Olmsted County at 507-282-9447 or visit olmstedhistory.com.

Welcome to our Home

Come to Zumbrota on Saturday, December 5 and tour two historic homes and two newer homes, each decorated for the holidays. Tour hours are 12:30 to 4 p.m. The 16th annual tour benefits the Zumbrota Area Historical Society. For the list of homes, visit zumbrotahistoricalsociety.org or call 507-732-7333.

“We want people to appreciate historic homes and enjoy them decorated for the holidays, but we think it is important to feature newer homes as well,” says Shirley Hoyme, a tour committee member. “It gives people ideas they can adapt to their own home, regardless of its age.”

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the History Center and at each of the homes on December 5. Guests are invited to stop at the History Center located at 55 East Third Street after the tour for free admission and treats. The feature display will be historic linens representing over a century and a half of home fashions. The Center is also proud to display a drum used at Lincoln’s inauguration and funeral and many other items of interest. United Redeemer Lutheran will offer a luncheon and bake sale. Local businesses will be dressed for the holidays and offer specials.

Holiday Lunch, Tea, Tour and a Movie

The Spring Valley Historical Society invites you to enjoy a tasty lunch and tour of a fully decorated historic home on December 5 and 6 at 12:30 p.m. Located at 102 North Washington Avenue in Spring Valley, the Mlinar home has been in the family for five generations, and, “We are still here,” says Julie Mlinar with a smile.

Built in 1888, the three-story Victorian home will be decorated from top to bottom for the holidays. Guests come for lunch, then tour the home, including a short movie in the unique “E State Theatre.” Created from authentic seats, posters and other early movie memorabilia, the home theater is a testament and tribute to the family’s ownership of various theaters in the area. 

Bring your appetite; lunch in the formal dining room includes chicken salad croissant with a choice of homemade soup, dessert and tea or coffee. The cost is $10 per person, and seating is limited to 25 each day. Other times can be arranged for groups from December 1-6. For reservations and questions, email wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com, call 507-346-7659 or call the Mlinar home at 507-346-7726. Visit svhistoricalsociety.org for more information.

Debi Neville says, “Christmas teas and tours are part of our Christmas tradition.”