Rengstorff House Rings in the Holidays with Open House

Growing in numbers every year, the annual holiday open house presented by The Friends of ‘R’ House welcomes young and the young-at-heart with a quaint Victorian style event complete with caroling, sweet treats and hot apple cider.

More than 130 people came to Rengstorff House on a clear and chilly evening earlier this week and immersed themselves in period-style holiday cheer.

Braving the cold and perfectly dressed in costume from the late 1800’s, Ginny Kaminski, a member of the Friends of 'R' House, warmly welcomed all the guests before they entered the Victorian Italianate house in .

The scent of hot apple cider could be immediatley detected upon the first steps inside, where guests faced a long stairwell which seated a gentleman reading from Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. Families flowed in, out and in, to listen to Donnie Hodges as he stayed true to his post all through the night’s event.

Christmas trees adorned with charming ornaments decorated many of the cozy rooms, one of which continuously filled the house with Christmas caroling along with an accompanying pianist. The colorful and sweet festive pastries drew plenty of attention. The ladies of the kitchen, Nina Wood and Holly Moore, looked like busied elves ensuring that plenty of treats and cider for the guests.

Richard Weir, one of the founding directors of Friends of ‘R’ House, sat back relaxed, sipped his cider and proudly shared with Patch that after the house's restoration was completed twenty years ago, the number of attendees at the holiday open house has grown every year.

Friends of ‘R’ House consists of community-based individuals greatly involved in the furnishing and beautification of Rengstorff House through donations and contributions. They also promote it, share its history to maintain its longevity for all to enjoy.

The guests came from "all over" said Kaminsky. Wade Adams, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, enjoyed the story reading with his two-and-a-half year-old grandson, Aidan Drekmeier, whose Palo Alto parents circulated somewhere at the event.

Elinor Moren of Mountain View told friend Hoi Cheng of Vallejo about the open house and together they enjoyed the festive environment—the holiday confections along with the caroling, costumes and being in a Victorian home to create a unique holiday experience.

If you missed this event, you can always see about next year; however, in the meantime, the Rengstorff House hosts many events throughout the year. Earlier this year, they had a and .

The Rengstorff House is Mountain View’s oldest home and a fine example of the Victorian Italianate architecture on the West Coast. It's open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays for docent-led tours–free of charge–and access to the holiday decorations seen at the holiday open house remain on display until Jan. 1, 2012.

Starting on Jan. 8, 2011 there will be a "Turn Your Cheek: Silhouettes and the Victorian Era" exhibit. To find out about upcoming events, go to the website at http://www.r-house.org/.


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