Written by Danielle Taylor | Header photo by Kyle Yates
Historic Victorian Brookville’s picturesque downtown has attracted attention for decades, and it’s easy to see why. As you drive around or take the self-guided historic walking tour, it doesn’t take much effort to imagine horse-drawn carriages along the town’s many brick-paved streets, and the words “gingerbread house” and “doll house” come to mind as you see the detailing, fine craftsmanship, and individuality showcased on dozens of beautifully preserved homes. It’s a stunning town to visit any time of year, but one of the best times is during the annual Victorian Christmas celebration, held this year from November 30 through December 2.
In 1984, the National Register of Historic Places added 90 acres of downtown Brookville to its distinguished collection, recognizing the unique character of the borough’s beautifully restored Victorian Main Street and its abundance of historically significant turn-of-the-century homes. Six years ago, the town was also honored as one of America’s “Prettiest Painted Places” by the Paint Quality Institute for its colorful architecture found throughout the community. Many of the historic residences here feature vibrant, intricately detailed exteriors that their owners have carefully maintained. Some share their history on historical markers out front, such as the Elijah Heath house, which served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and the home of early aviator Lewis Sandt, the first U.S. citizen to complete an international flight.
Part of the nostalgic Victorian Christmas event evokes the atmosphere of Christmas a century ago, as historically attired carolers stroll Main Street and storefront windows showcase live scenes of families decorating for the holiday, children opening their gifts, and more. However, those looking for more modern entertainment will find plenty to catch their attention as well.
As the weekend starts off on Friday evening, a live nativity scene complete with animals will make its way down the street, and music lovers can enjoy the talents of a brass ensemble and an orchestra in addition to the chamber singers and Victorian carolers. Model train enthusiasts will want to check out a number of working train scenes on display, and shoppers looking for seasonal decorations can find Christmas trees and wreaths for sale in the town square. Members of the Brookville Community Theater will lead ghost tours, and for all three days of the event, CREATE Brookville will host “Art on the Line” at Fusion Atelier, where local artists will display a wide range of their creations for sale. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Courthouse Grille & Pub will offer German and Greek dinner specials, and Opera House Cafe will feature a prime rib dinner buffet.
Saturday brings several shopping options, from a Children’s Shopping Mart to a Craft and Vendor Show at Chateau d’Argy to a Book and Bake Sale, giving you plenty of options to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. The Brookville Area Chamber of Commerce hosts its popular annual Wine Walk during the afternoon, which will feature more than a dozen wineries with a variety of flavors to sample and purchase. Grace Lutheran Church will host a BYOB Paint & Sip event in the evening, always a good time among friends.
On Sunday, take part in the Victorian Tea at the Opera House Café, or explore some of Brookville’s most stunning homes and houses of worship on guided tours of these iconic buildings.
Throughout the event, you’re invited to contribute a toy or two to the Town Square’s toy drive, where volunteers will have free hot chocolate on hand for anyone who donates. In the halls of the Jefferson County Courthouse, Main Street’s centerpiece, you can see a number of trees beautifully decorated by local businesses and organizations. Out front, Santa awaits in his cottage to hear what you’d like to find under your tree this Christmas.
These are just a few of the attractions you’ll find in Brookville during the Victorian Christmas celebration, and some of the events require reservations. For more information, go to HistoricBrookville.org.
For a Victorian B&B experience any time of year, check out the beautifully restored G.B. Carrier House Inn right on Main Street. Other nearby lodging options include the Gold Eagle Inn, Rodeway Inn, Super 8 Motel, The Haugh’s Nest, Angel’s Farm House, and of course lots of cabins, lodges, vacation rentals, and more just north of town in Cook Forest.
Learn more about Brookville and holiday traditions in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region by going to VisitPAGO.com or calling (814) 849-5197.