Vanderbilt Mansion Decorated For Season

By Janee Law

Rosamond Vanderbilt’s mirrored dressing room and the arcade, which connects the Nursery Wing with the front entrance of the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, are one of many rooms that have been equipped with decorative holiday magic.

Members of Centerport-based design firm Harbor Homestead & Co. where in charge of furnishing the dressing room and the arcade.

They decorated a live tree in the Sundial Garden off the arcade, and hung icicles and silver-sprayed vines from the arcade ceiling beams. For the dressing room, they used a dress-form mannequin and created a skirt with green boughs and embellished the skirt with teal ornaments, champagne ribbon, and filigree poinsettia leaves.

Harbor Homestead & Co. were among many local clubs, businesses and organizations that took part in crafting this year’s holiday display throughout the historic mansion, located at 180 Little Neck Road in Centerport.

Other participants included members from the Asharoken, Dix Hills, Centerport, Honey Hills, Nathan Hale and Three Village (Old Field, Setauket and Stony Brook) garden clubs; and gardeners from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs, said that the museum has been doing the annual display for more than 20 years, adding that decorators are busy with festive displays two weeks before Thanksgiving.

“Our staff is small and we like to engage with our community so they’ve been wonderful in volunteering not only their time, but some resources and decorations,” Gress said. “We like to engage with the local community and they enjoy the experience.”

There are seven lighted trees and decorative displays throughout the 24-room mansion, Gress said, which feature boughs, ornaments, wreaths, ribbons, garlands, and elegantly wrapped faux gifts.

The mansion library was taken over by members of the Dix Hills club, who decorated the large tree and placed gifts underneath; the Asharoken club, who have returned this year, decorated Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom; the Centerport club embellished the guest room of three-time Olympic skating champion Sonja Henie and the William Vanderbilt’s bedroom; the Nathan Hale club decorated the Organ Room; the Honey Hills club decorated the Portuguese Sitting Room; and the Cornell Cooperative Extension gardeners worked outside, adding flourishes to the Mansion windows with live wreaths, trimmed with flowers, fruits and ribbons.

The curatorial staff of the museum also took part in the festive decorating, by adorning the Windsor Guest Room, Breakfast Hallway, Lancaster Room and Northport Porch.

Gress said that for the first time this year the decorative display also includes an outdoor tree, which was also decorated by Harbor Homestead & Co.

The display will be up until Jan. 7, 2018. Tours will be every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the month at 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 26-30. There is a general admission fee and $6 per person cost for the tour.

The special twilight tours will be Wednesday, Dec. 27, and Thursday, Dec. 28, beginning and 7 p.m. and running through 9 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for students and seniors (62 and older) and $5 for children 12 and under.