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Christmas Festival

The candles will be lit, the stockings will be hung, the puzzles will be out, the candy canes unwrapped, the black walnuts cracked, and Santa on his way … and for the very first time, the trails will be lighted.


Expanding our Christmas experience to include three weekends of lighted trails through a section of the Abbey Nature Preserve, come share in Victorian-themed candlelight weekends through the Manor House and grounds of Poplar Grove to celebrate our conservation and preservation efforts.

Each of the eight rooms of the Manor House will be decorated by theme and color with natural flora and greenery inspired by the Foys’ Colonial through Victorian family history – with a few contemporary flourishes to echo the family’s four centuries in coastal North Carolina.

Advanced tickets are required for this special three weekend event. 


Thursday, Friday & Saturday Evenings

December 1st, 2nd & 3rd, 8th, 9th & 10th, and 15th, 16th & 17th

Guided Candlelight Tours begin in the Manor House on the hour at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m.

Regular ticket prices apply. Tours limited to 15 guests. Call 910-686-9518 for reservations.

Trail of Lights, a section of the Abbey Nature Preserve will be lighted for a walking tour through the woods at twilight and under the stars. A camp fire will be blazing for roasted marshmallows and a mail box for posting those letters to Santa. Two start times available: 5-7 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

Advanced reservations recommended. Call 910-686-9518 x103 for more information.

Food Truck Application 2016


Saturday, December 10th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

victorian-christmas-presentsMany thanks to our volunteers for preparing the grounds for a special day & evening for families near and far seeking a local outdoor shopping experience, including a variety of local Arts & Crafts, items to compliment hearth and home, kettle corn, Kona Ice, wagon rides, inflatables, and a few of your neighbors and their families and friends.  The animals will be in full regalia and available for nose-rubbing and picture taking.  

Shhhhhh… we hear Santa will also be making an appearance at the gazebo from 10-noon & 2 – 4 p.m.!

Interested vendors, please contact Laura Leigh Bransford at for more information.


Spaces are available. Christmas Vendor Application 2015.


Spaces are available. Christmas Concession Vendor Application 2015.


Spaces are available. Food Truck Application 2016.

Spaces are available. Christmas Food Vendor Application 2015.

All proceeds benefit historic Poplar Grove, a non-profit 501(c)3 Public Charity as of January 2015.  Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to conservation, education, and preservation. Your support ensures a quality experience for all families, big and small.


“Christmas and Thanksgiving were two big holidays,” remembers Robert Lee Foy, Jr., “All the Foy family would be here for Thanksgiving. We had a big meal, turkey, ham, chicken. It was a very big time. We had a corn bread dressing, sometimes Oyster Dressing.

Cchildren sleighhristmas was almost a repeat of Thanksgiving on the meal. The house was decorated with a live tree, and it was decorated with cookies that were in the shape of Santa Claus, and men and women. The house was decorated with holly and yaupon and smilax, and the banisters were draped with smilax, and over the doors they hung the holly and yaupon.

They made wreaths. You took moss and wrapped it around a wire and stuffed your pine needles and pine cones and holly, and it made a pretty wreath. The mantles would have holly and yaupon and candles. There was a homemade wreath on the front door. They used berries for color and clusters of pine cones for decorations” (Interview, 1979).

Robert Lee Foy, Sr.’s second wife, Grandma Lee, remembers frozen eggnog, ambrosia, and the camellia bush out front as large as the 3rd story of the Manor House. Christmas morning was in the front parlor, and she had a card table set up with a puzzle (Interview, 1979).

The tenant farmers at Poplar Grove would have likely celebrated some form of Jonkonnu, an African American celebration of song and dance, and noted as early as 1824 in Edenton, North Carolina. The practice continued even after Emancipation and Reconstruction and celebrated in Wilmington among the African American community until 1898. There are performances at Tryon Palace in New Bern, North Carolina, each December.

Daytime Operating Hours

The grounds, outbuildings, Manor House, Gift Shop, Basket Gallery & Animal Sanctuary will be open on these three weekends only, and Saturday for day-time tours in the Manor House.