Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ghosts in the Basement: Clermont Gets Ready for Legends by Candlelight

Clermont State Historic Site’s basement is full of ghosts! Volunteers and staff are getting their corsets and tricorn hats ready to play historic spirits in the Legends by Candelight Spook Tours. I've already spent several afternoons digging down through boxes of petticoats or borrowing from near and far to be sure that every spirit has just the right costume (I have to say that the costumes are one of my favorite parts).

The Legends by Candlelight Spook Tours are the highlight of Clermont’s fall season. Guests who come to Clermont for the tours will find themselves welcomed into a 1921 Halloween party complete with fortune telling and a reproduction 1916 Ouija board. When the séance goes wrong however, the lights go out, and the house is filled with ghosts from Clermont's history. This year, we are highlighting characters from the 18th century. You can look out for Margaret Beekman Livingston (who died suddenly in our dining room, according to the family story), Nancy Shippen Livingston, Chancellor Livingston and his wife, and even bump into some more threatening characters from the same period (I won't spoil all the surprises). Ladies lament and soldiers prowl the land. You never know who you will find around the next corner!

These very popular tours are geared towards adults and children 7 years and up. Visitors on the Spook Tours will tour the mansion at its creepiest and meet ghosts from Clermont’s history. Tours run every half hour from 6:00 to 9:30 on Fridays and Saturdays, October 22, 23, 29, and 30. Rain or (moon)shine tickets are $10 for adults and $4 for children (12 and under) and go on sale October 1. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Advanced purchase is available. Call (518) 537-4240 or visit for more information.

This is a rare “Clermont After Dark” tour that will take guests through the mansion and out onto the grounds for a lamp-lit adventure along the Hudson River. If you can't make it at night, try visiting us during the daytime to see the decorations. As you know from following my blog, they are inspired by the 1920s, the “golden age” of Halloween and meticulously researched from period magazines and design manuals. See a real old-fashioned Halloween or just get ideas for your own decorations this year!