As part of their annual Travelers Choice Awards, TripAdvisor has announced the top tourist attractions across the United States, and Stetson Mansion in DeLand, Florida has been named # 8 of the top 25. A multi-year award-winner, Stetson Mansion joins the ranks of such popular icons as New York’s Empire State Building, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Biltmore House and the Art Institute of Chicago in this year’s contest.
According to TripAdvisor, “We award Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best to experiences and attractions with a high volume of above-and-beyond reviews and opinions from our community over a 12-month period from May 2022 – April 2023. Each winner has passed our rigorous trust and safety standards. Fewer than one per cent of TripAdvisor’s eight million listings are awarded Best of the Best, signifying the highest level of excellence in travel.”
In the Best Top Attractions intro, TripAdvisor editors note that these are “the most iconic landmarks you simply have to see to believe.” The Stetson Mansion in DeLand is part of Florida’s First Luxury Estate and quite possibly the grandest home ever built in Florida before the 20th century. The estate was hidden and lost for 100 years, and has been rescued, restored and updated in a timeless fashion. Built in 1886 for famed hat maker and philanthropist John B. Stetson, this early Snowbird’s winter retreat is of High Victorian architecture with Moorish influences. Among its exquisite details are 16 intricate mosaic floor patterns and 10,000 panes of antique window glass. It was the first home in Florida designed and constructed with Edison electricity, steam heat, indoor plumbing and a call bell system.
For the past 12 years, the owners have carried on the tradition of extravagant gatherings with self-guided tours in the Stetson Mansion Christmas Spectacular. Each year, the mansion is closed during the summer while decorators create 10 over the top designer themed rooms; elegant and reverent displays that complement the mansion’s rich architectural details. The display features dozens of elaborate trees, more than 50 elegant vignettes and 30 reverent nativities from around the world. Each scene is composed of many layers and each with their own message. This year’s overall theme is “The Christmas House.” Tours are offered two to seven times daily from November 1, 2023 through Jan 20, 2024. Advance reservations required; booking is available online. Stetson Mansion, 1031 Camphor Lane DeLand, Fl 32720; https://www.stetsonmansion.com
Stetson Mansion Christmas Spectacular
Stetson Mansion Christmas Spectacular event has claimed many awards, including being named among the “Top 10 Christmas Homes” by Bob Vila, “Best Holiday Home Tours in America” in the USA TODAY’s “10Best” Readers’ Choice Awards and among the “Top 10 Best Attractions in the US” by TripAdvisor.
If You Go to Stetson Mansion…
Holiday celebrations are just one reason to visit West Volusia County, a destination with stories to tell, history to share and memories to be made year-round. Located between Orlando and Daytona, West Volusia encompasses 14 communities with an eclectic collection of accommodations and attractions. The authenticity travelers are looking for is here. From top-rated downtown DeLand to the scenic St. Johns River, this is real Florida.
Downtown DeLand, an award-winning Main Street community, is home to shops, boutiques, galleries and nine museums, complete with a series of murals and one of the incredibly popular #WingsOfTheWest photo ops. Microbreweries, brew pubs and wine bars dot the map and complement an array of fabulous restaurants. Two of the most popular natural springs in Florida are found nearby. DeLeon Springs is a favorite for swimming, snorkeling and DIY pancake-making at the on-site Old Sugar Mill Pancake House, Blue Spring State Park is a designated manatee refuge and winter home of the West Indian manatee. More authentic Florida outdoor experiences and plenty of lodging options can be found at www.VisitWestVolusia.com
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