Old Christmas at Fort Watauga


January 3rd & 4th, 2015


Christmas isn’t over yet! Come to Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area and see how our colonial ancestors celebrated a holiday called “Old Christmas”. In Colonial America, Christmas was celebrated as a twelve day holiday with many traditions and customs. Does The Twelve Days of Christmas sound familiar? These twelve days of feasting, and merrymaking ended on January 6th or “Twelfth Night” with a grand celebration.

On Saturday, January 3rd from 10am-4pm and Sunday, January 4th from 10am-3pm the Washington County Militia will hold their monthly Militia Muster and Old Christmas Celebration. As you walk through the gates of Fort Watauga you will travel back in time to an 18th century Old Christmas “Jollification”. Each cabin in the fort will be the setting of Christmas traditions as celebrated by the settlers of different cultures on the colonial frontier. Witness such customs as English Christmas Guns, the Irish Holly Wreath, the German Tannenbaum, Scottish First Footing, and the Dutch Sinterklaas. See how our Christmas practices of today are steeped in these old world traditions.

Get the most out of the Holiday Season and visit Sycamore Shoals State Historic Site for a fun, entertaining, and educational family outing. Arrive ready to be filled with the spirit of Christmas. It’s an event that is sure to become a tradition with your family year after year.

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area is located at 1651 W. Elk Avenue in Elizabethton, TN.

For more information contact the Park at 423-543-5808 or visit our websites at http://www.sycamoreshoalstn.org or http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/sycamore-shoals.

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Christmas at the Carter Mansion

Friday and Saturday, December 5 & 6 from 6 to 9 pm

The Historic John and Landon Carter Mansion

Broad Street Extension

Elizabethton, Tennessee


Tours by Reservation beginning every 20 minutes –

Please call 423-543-5808 to reserve a time


Are you tired of the hustle and bustle that always accompanies this time of year? If so, step back in time to the 18th century and enjoy a colonial Christmas at the beautiful Carter Mansion. Join Colonel John Carter, the Carter family, and all their friends for a glimpse into simpler time, when Christmas was the grandest celebration of the entire year. In colonial America the Christmas season was celebrated as month long array of merriment and festivities signaled by caroling, feasting, dances, foxhunts, and the firing of Christmas guns. Christmas on the colonial frontier would have been much different though, with only the simplest of pleasures being offered by the humble backwoods settlers. However, in contrast, the Carters would have displayed an opulence only seen in the finest homes of Williamsburg or Philadelphia.

Spend a candlelit evening in the oldest frame house in Tennessee, decorated with bright greenery for the holidays. Enjoy music, hot cider, and 18th century interpreters as they transport you to a Colonial American Christmas. Tours begin at 6:00pm and a new tour starts every twenty minutes until 8:40pm. Christmas tours are available by reservation only. Please contact the park to reserve your tour time. Admission is free, however all donations are graciously accepted and will go to support future programming at the Carter Mansion. We look forward to your visit for this one-of-a-kind holiday gathering!

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Stories & Songs of Thanksgiving

 with the Front Porch Storytellers

“Over the River & Through the Woods”

Stories and Songs of Thanksgiving

7:30 pm Friday, November 21, 2014


Are you ready for turkey and all the trimmings, the joy of family gathered around the table, football, grandma’s pies, and a visit from your favorite crazy uncle? If not, then what better way to get in the spirit of Thanksgiving than a time of storytelling! Join the Front Porch Storytellers for “Over the River & Through the Woods” stories and songs of Thanksgiving.

On Friday, November 21st at 7:30 pm, join the Front Porch Storytellers for an evening of storytelling entitled “Over the River & Through the Woods”, presented at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in the visitor center “gathering place”. The gathering place stage will be transformed to a cozy cottage where we invite you to come enjoy the evening at “Gradma’s House”. Come prepared to have your funny bone tickled and your heartstrings tugged as local storytellers, Mary Jane Kennedy and Chad Bogart, present a delightful mix of stories and songs centered on the Thanksgiving holiday. Mary Jane and Chad, co-founders of the Front Porch Storytellers, have shared stories with numerous schools, nursing homes, churches and civic organizations. Both have been featured storytellers at various festivals, historic reenactments and community events. You are sure to enjoy their talents and the friendly atmosphere they create. Join us for “Over the River & Through the Woods” to have your heart lightened and made full with the spirit of Thanksgiving. It’s sure to be great fun for the entire family.

Tickets for the event are $5.00 each and will go on sale at 7:00 pm in the lobby of the park’s visitor center. For additional information about this and other exciting events at the park please call 423-543-5808.

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area

1651 W. Elk Ave. Elizabethton, TN 37643.

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