The holiday spirit and festivities are in full swing beginning November 25, 2009 and continuing through December 30. The New Castle Historical Society provides special holiday tours at the Amstel and Dutch Houses, 11-4 p.m. Wed.,-Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays. Holidays long ago are remembered through tours commemorating the celebratory décor used by the families who previously lived in Amstel and Dutch Houses. The Amstel parlor is decorated for a traditional holiday celebration in colonial times, showing off a “dessert board” for a traditional New Year’s party, and featuring 18th century customs during the period of Governor Nicholas Van Dyke’s residency at 2 East Fourth Street, today’s Amstel House. The Governor and his friends appear to be enjoying a game of loo, an 18th century entertaining card game or enjoying a syllabub, the wine and whipped cream delicacy of the period. In the second parlor, Governor Van Dyke’s Chippendale table is set for a festive dinner with 18th century porcelain, as well an interesting dinner menu.
Guests of the Dutch House experience a celebration of St. Nicholas’ Eve, a tribute to the legend of Saint Nicholas, Dutch patron saint. The Dutch House can be found at 32 East Third Street, New Castle. Admission to the two houses is $7. There is no charge for children under 6 years old.
Holiday shoppers are invited to Amstel gift shop for their unique and historical items, which range from elaborate ornaments to t-shirts to informative books for people of all ages. All publications by the New Castle Historical Society and Dutch House t-shirts, tote bags, and sweatshirts at the Amstel House are on sale during December.