Kip’s At Christmas

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We don’t know what kind of holiday parties Carlotte Kip hosted during her 20 Christmases as mistress of Kypsburg, but we’d like to think she’d be pleased to see the way her castle looks for this Christmas season.

Kip’s Castle, as it is now known, has been decorated for Christmas this year as it might have looked for one of Charlotte Kip’s last celebrations. She planned the house and supervised its construction from 1902 to 1905. She brought in woodworkers and stone masons, and glass artisans that may have included the Tiffany workshop to build a 30-room mansion on 11 acres of ground. She could afford the finest because her husband, a turn-of-the-century-textile magnate, was a descendent of one of the first European families to inhabit Manhattan, the very family that gave its name to Kip’s Bay on the East Side. Frederick Kip sold the house not long after Charlotte died in 1926.

Essex County, which rescued the castle and the surrounding parklands from near-certain demolition in 2007, has invited the public in to see it in all its finery this season. During the month of December, you can tour Kip’s for free on Wednesdays to Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.  (Several other historic houses in Essex County have also been decorated and opened for the holidays. You can see the full schedule here.) Cross Pompton at the Linden Avenue light and then head up Cambridge to Nassau and Crestmont. The driveway at Kip’s winds up the hill to a 50-car parking lot, and the county has made the building handicap accessible.

You can also get a sense of what it might have been like to be in Charlotte Kip’s social circle at a tea being organized by the Kip’s Castle Park Conservancy. The event is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, and the cost is $30 for adults and $15 for children under 12. Hobcaw Café will be catering the event with scones and jam, tea sandwiches, cakes, mini quiches, petits fours, and more. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be reserved by calling Michelle Posner at 973-239-1390 or by e-mailing her. UPDATE: The 2 p.m. tea is sold out, but the Conservancy has added a second seating at 4 p.m. Make your reservations through Michelle.

If you can’t make either of these events, we hope you can enjoy these photos taken by Fred Goode, MyVeronaNJ.com’s photographer. He is a founding member of the Conservancy and loves to take pictures of the castle and its grounds.

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Photos © Fred Goode Productions. All rights reserved.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].

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