Historic Columbia’s Annual Candlelight Tours, Carriage Rides, Friday

Historic Columbia photos

Experience the holidays in the Robert Mills Historic District at Historic Columbia’s annual Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides on Friday (Dec. 15.) Get into the holiday spirit and explore the decorated halls and candlelit grounds of the historic Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion, visit with Santa, enjoy holiday music, check off your holiday shopping list and participate in a variety of festive activities. Before or after the house tours, take a horse drawn carriage ride through the Robert Mills Historic District.

“Each year our guests have the unique opportunity to experience our historic homes at night and see how Columbians celebrated holidays past,” said James Quint, Historic Columbia’s director of education. “Plus, guests can visit with Victorian Santa and take a horse drawn carriage ride to see the decorated Robert Mills Historic District.”

As a special treat this year, author Patricia Moore-Pastides, the First Lady of the University of South Carolina (USC), will host a holiday book signing. Meet the First Lady from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., hear a presentation at 7 p.m. and pick up a personalized copy of her new book At Home in the Heart of the Horseshoe. The perfect holiday or wedding gift for alumni, parents and fans alike, Moore-Pastides’ book shares poignant stories of USC’s historic President’s House and life in the heart of the Horseshoe.

The Gift Shop will hold a holiday open house featuring a last-minute storewide sale as well as refreshments, holiday tunes and giveaways. The Gift Shop has something for everyone on your list – from locally-made merchandise and food products, to books and jewelry, to toys for the kids and more! In addition, John Clark, a long-time Historic Columbia volunteer, will be available in the Gift Shop to sign copies of his highly acclaimed new book, Capitol Steps and Missteps; The Wild, Improbable Ride of Congressman John Jenrette. The Gift Shop also offers copies of Clark’s previous book, Scenic Driving South Carolina.

Throughout the evening, families can visit with Santa, enjoy hot chocolate and participate in a variety of children’s holiday activities. Carriage rides are offered from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m., and must be reserved in advance. House tours begin at 6 p.m. Candlelight Tours are free for Historic Columbia members. Tickets for non-members are available for $12 for adults and $8 for children. Carriage Rides are $8 per person. Please note: Carriage Rides are an ‘add-on’ to the Candlelight Tours, so guests must purchase the Candlelight Tour in order to book a Carriage Ride. To purchase tickets, visit historiccolumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.