When you think of the holidays, you probably don’t know how much you owe to the Victorians for the popularity of Christmas (Hint: We owe everything to them). With that being said, if you want to experience a true Victorian Christmas – look no further than Portland, Maine.

Built during the late 1850’s, the Victoria Mansion was a summer home for an opulent family residing here in Maine. Now, it’s used as a museum of sorts, showcasing wall murals, furniture and other decor from the Victorian era all inside a true Victorian home.

For a small price, you can walk the interior of the house and view each of the rooms, which are decorated by a different interior decorator. Each year there is a different theme. Photography is not allowed inside the mansion during the rest of the year, but during the holidays it is not only allowed but encouraged.

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If you wish to know anything about the house, there are plenty of docents around who are eager to share with you the information they’ve learned. In fact, while I was there I learned that surviving family members of the original family are slowly donating original items to the mansion to be “returned” as they get older and die off. Morbid, but a very cool detail and somewhat restores my faith in humanity.

My wife and I spent a good chunk of the afternoon at the mansion, getting lost within the different rooms in the place, wondering at all the many details you’re privy to on the inside. Art adornes literally every corner. Here, a wall mural. There, the naked bust of a mermaid. Even the legs on the tables are sculpted. Even the mirrors tell tales.

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So do yourself a huge favor if you’re in the Portland area and head to this mecca of Victorian sensibility. The cost is low, the return is very high. The show stops after January 7th, so make sure to drop in before then. If you miss it, don’t worry. There’s always next holiday season.

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