It’s the season when Virginia decks the halls and opens its doors to visitors, with historic home tours across the Commonwealth. Luckily, many of these tours are in places that are served by Amtrak, so you can skip the traffic jams and parking wars and pull right into town. Here’s a sampling of Virginia holiday tours and events that are within a short walk or Lyft ride from an Amtrak station.
Take the train into Williamsburg, walk south a few blocks and enter the setting for an 18th century Christmas. During Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, you can see the town dressed for the holidays, hear musical performances on stages throughout the historic area, and watch a spectacular display of fireworks. No event tickets are required to walk the streets, but you’ll need one to enter buildings.
Just a 10-minute stroll from the train station, this tour winds through the picturesque streets of Fredericksburg, and into homes adorned by professional decorators, designers and artists. Event tickets are $15-$30.
A quick Lyft ride takes you from either of Richmond’s two Amtrak stations to the beautiful Fan District. This year, you can tour 11 historic homes in a variety of architectural styles -- and one of them was used in the filming of Homeland. Free trolleys will run along the tour route. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the tour.
Petersburg’s Poplar Lawn Historic District is about an 8-minute Lyft ride from the Amtrak station -- and this year, you can tour a number of this neighborhood’s beautifully decorated homes and public buildings. If you’re up for it after the walking tour, you can walk about 27 minutes (or Lyft it) to Battersea Villa for live music, a bonfire, historic re-enactors and holiday refreshments. Tour tickets are $25 in advance.
To book your train ride to any of these tours, go to the Amtrak website. You’ll get free Wi-Fi, a large seat and views of Virginia you can only see on Amtrak. And if it snows while you’re on board, well, that’s the perfect start or finish to any holiday tour.