Candlelight House Tour A Nostalgic, Historic Newport Tradition

Designer Jan Girouard with her holiday table setting

The three nights after Christmas, with snow still fresh on the ground, curious visitors were invited to tour some of the most beautifully decorated and historic homes that grace Newport's many centuries of architectural history. The annual Christmas in Newport Candlelight Historical House Tour, in its 39th year, invited the public to come inside homes that are private for the other 364 days.


This year's tour included nine homes - some brand new to the program, and all ranging from the Colonial through the Victorian eras. Each of the evenings' tours featured three different houses, every house artfully decorated by its owners, who were identifiable by the patterned ribbons they wore, and who all seemed happy to answer visitors' questions about the history and decor of the structures.

Visitors, from the balcony of the J. Griffiths Masten House


Among owners spoken to by Newport Seen were interior designers Jan Girouard, owner of the J. Griffiths Masten House (1883) on Everett Street and Helen Harris, owner of Dimock and Burleigh House (1893) on Touro Street.  The homes showed imaginative, artful techniques of both restoration and renovation of historic buildings. Said Ms. Harris of her house, "Although now admired by so many, this house was described in archives of the Newport Historical Society as being 'architecturally uninteresting' I was determined to change that!"

The elaborate tree

Several of the homes featured actors in period costumes, which helped to give the atmosphere a nostalgic feeling of Christmases long ago. Colonial foot soldiers from the Newport Artillery Company in bright red coats "stood guard" and greeted guests as the entered the twinkling houses.

 A seating area

The tour is always a rare opportunity to catch a real insider's glimpse of Newport during a season where festive decorations can bring antique settings to life, and is a must for history buffs. All proceeds from the tour cover the administrative costs of Christmas in Newport's month-long programming.


The master bedroom

A boudoir

Tented ceiling

The tree, candles, and lighted staircase swags

Festooned painting


The exterior of 43 Everett Street

Designer Helen Harris and her tree

An Artillery Company guard

 A renovated bathroom

The vivid upstairs kitchen

Hallway décor

Richly imagined living space

Twinkling lights behind the downstairs kitchen sink

The table, set for Christmas dinner

Lower level of the home, done in warm hues

A flag at 73 Touro Street












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