Day Trippin’ at the Iconic Stetson Mansion
A visit to the iconic Stetson Mansion in DeLand, Florida, is a fun holiday activity to put on your calendar. The Stetson Mansion was the Victorian architectural gem that was the winter home of cowboy hat mogul, John B. Stetson.
Tours are offered throughout the year with the Christmas tour being the most popular event. On your tour, a guide narrates and shares personal stories about the homeowners and the Stetson family while leading you through Florida’s grandest estate.
I was glad to share in the holiday festivities and witness the amazing decorations, featuring owner J.T. Thompson’s over-the-top sense of style and opulence.
A Festive Christmas Home Tour
My friend, Julie, and I reserved our trip online and paid cash at the door upon arrival. Debbie Pixley, our tour guide, started promptly and began in my favorite room of all, the reception room. On this year, the reception room was decorated as and referred to as the Northern Lights “Frozen” room.
The room sparkled and shone with flocked trees and pine branches, flickering live candles, blue and white lights, fur, feathers, and crystals. Meanwhile, a lovely player piano dueled up holiday tunes.
Many sponsors have helped the owners with the decorating and donated items. Their collaborative efforts are reflected in the detail of each and every room.
In the kitchen, we were welcomed by a “Christmas in Japan” celebration amidst the gorgeous cranberry colored Viking appliances. We peeked into the upstairs bathroom where Frosty seemed to be enjoying a bubble bath, then moved on to the bride and groom suites.
Room After Room of Holiday Cheer
The groom’s suite was decorated in a “Cowboy Fantasy Christmas” theme and included a guitar signed by Johnny Cash and of course, Stetson hats. The “Christmas Bride’s Suite” was Hollywood glam adorned with many delicate jewels, crystals, sparkles, and grandeur. The ladies on the tour actually swooned as they entered the room.
Back on the first floor, the dining room held flocks of birds, candles, and cages in a busy, but lovely display entitled “The Capturing of Christmas”.
The music room had been turned into “Mrs. Clause’s Christmas Quilting Workshop”; featuring a sewing display with vintage sewing machines and quilts.
There were holiday decorations in and on every surface. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this project, it took 9 hours to decorate a single fireplace mirror.
A Holly-Jolly Staff
Debbie was jolly and a terrific guide, sharing her enthusiasm for the owners and property as well. JT himself popped in our tour a couple of times and was just as friendly as could be; you can tell he loves his work.
JT’s partner, Michael Solari, has co-owned the 1886 Stetson Mansion since 2005. The pair has completely renovated the entire mansion and grounds on a shoestring budget.
The iconic Stetson Mansion includes a schoolhouse where the Stetson children had been tutored. The schoolhouse has been converted into a charming cottage. We also caught a glimpse of the inviting swimming pool and deck.
The Stetson Mansion tour was well organized. I can see why TripAdvisor chose this destination as the most popular attraction in Florida. The selection was based on quality, quantity, and relevance of received reviews.
A Christmas Must in Central East Florida
The town of DeLand where the Stetson mansion is located is a nice place to visit, too. I suggest stopping there on your way to or from the mansion tour.
Overall, this was a fun Christmas activity, a great bang for the buck, and a nice day trip to enjoy in sunny Florida.
The price of the Stetson Mansion is $25 plus tax and is available year round. The tour is not suitable for children under 5 years old. Tour lasts 75-90 minutes. Parking is free and onsite.
FYI: Do not forget to tip your tour guide and they welcome and appreciate all comments and feedback you may have.
Stetson Mansion History
In the 1880’s, the Stetson’s hosted affluent families such as the Astors, Mellons, Flaglers, Vanderbilts, and President Grover Cleveland, among many others. Another friend, whose treasures can still be shared at the mansion, was inventor Thomas Edison, who supervised the electric install at the mansion.
The Stetson home was one of the first in the world to be fitted with Edison electric. Some of the original light fixtures and electrical box are on display at the mansion.
The Stetson Mansion Photo Gallery:
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