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New York historic houses to visit this season

During the holiday season, history comes alive.

Step back into time with these five historic houses, built between the 1600s and 1900s, which offer seasonal tours, concerts, craft workshops, scavenger hunts and more, all within an hour and a half from Manhattan.

LYNDHURST

Originally built in 1838, this Gothic Revival mansion's
Photo Credit: Lyndhurst Mansion via Facebook

Originally built in 1838, this Gothic Revival mansion's best-known inhabitant was Anna Gould, daughter of industrialist Jay Gould, who became the Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord through her second marriage. She lived at Lyndhurst only three weeks a year but left her unmistakable stamp on the property. "We have all her hats, her clothes, her lingerie -- all by the most famous designers of the time," Lyndhurst Executive Director Howard Zar says.

$18 tours, Fri. - Sat 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Sun, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., 635 South Broadway, Tarrytown, New York, 914-631-4481, lyndhurst.org

PHILIPSE MANOR HALL

This historic state site is just 15 miles
Photo Credit: Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site via Facebook

This historic state site is just 15 miles from the city and a block from the Yonkers Metro-North station. The original building was built around 1682 by Frederick Philipse. In 1776, it was put up for public auction when his grandson, Frederick III, a King of England loyalist, fled the colonies. Over the years it's served as the Yonkers Village Hall and City Hall. Today the historic house museum is open to the public for guided tours year-round.

$5 adults, $3 students and seniors, free for children under 12; Visit Tues. - Sat 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. for self-guided tours 29 Warburton Ave., Yonkers, New York, 914-965-4027, nysparks.com

LOCUST GROVE

Built on a bluff high above the Hudson
Photo Credit: Locust Grove Archives

Built on a bluff high above the Hudson River in 1850, this Italianate-style home was the summer retreat of painter and inventor Samuel F.B. Morse. When the house became just too expensive to maintain, Morse rented it to the Young family, who eventually bought it and bequeathed it to the state. "Everything is frozen in time with a 15,000-piece collection from the early 1900s," Locust Grove Executive Director Kenneth Snodgrass says.

$11 adults, $6 kids, guided tours daily, 2683 South Rd., Poughkeepsie, New York, 845-454-4500, lgny.org

OLD WESTBURY GARDENS

The 70-room mansion built in 1906 for the
Photo Credit: galfred via Flickr

The 70-room mansion built in 1906 for the Phipps family with 100 acres of gardens is the kind of property that inspired Gatsby's Gold Coast. Designed to emulate the great houses of 17th-century England, it has been a film location for "The Age of Innocence," "Love Story" and more. The mansion's holiday decorations are made from natural materials -- greens, pine cones and berries -- all found in the gardens of the estate.

$10 adults, $4 children, 71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury, New York, 516-333-0048, oldwestburygardens.org

RINGWOOD MANOR

Located in Ringwood State Park, an area
Photo Credit: Ringwood Manor via Facebook

Located in Ringwood State Park, an area that was once a hub of the iron industry in the United States, this manor house was built in stages over the course of a century. What began as a 10-room Federal-style home grew to 51-rooms of Gilded Age splendor, reflecting the taste of the Cooper and Hewitt families who bought the property in 1853. Known as the "Little White House" because of its important visitors, the home has been recently and lovingly restored following a furnace accident and offers year-round guided tours.

$8 adults, $6 seniors, $3 children ages 6-12, free for children under 6; Tours are self-guided, but docents are nearby to answer questions. 1304 Sloatsburg Rd., Ringwood, New Jersey, 973-962-2241, ringwoodmanor.org

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