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Winter Holidays in Aurora: Our Five Favorite Ways to Celebrate

Updated for Winter 2020

Aurora is completely transformed during the winter holidays.

The charm of Aurora always harkens back to a simpler time, and this is even more true during the holiday season. Some small towns evoke the midcentury nostalgia of the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life (and in fact, the town that inspired the film’s fictional Bedford Falls is only 20 miles north of Aurora.) But our little village by the lake conjures something different, when its grand mansions are blanketed with snow and the fireplaces glow with warmth: sleigh rides, carols, candlelight, and winter stillness. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep—and unlike the Frost poem, a cozy night’s sleep is not miles away but waiting just upstairs.

In honor of the season, here are five of our favorite things about the winter holidays at the Inns of Aurora:


Our designers put their hearts into decking the halls at each of our five inns. Each building has its own Christmas tree (or two) and a unique decorating scheme:

  • The Aurora Inn features a traditional tree in the lobby, with a red color scheme that matches the Inn’s décor; downstairs in the Lakeside Room is another classic Christmas tree in red and gold, with vintage bird-themed decorations.
  • The tree at E.B. Morgan Housetakes its inspiration from the pink décor in the home’s piano room and dining room, with pink garlands, aqua and mother of pearl accents, and pink amaryllis
  • Rowland House has three trees: one on the first floor with silver and plaid accents; one on the third floor, inspired by the whimsical designs of MacKenzie-Childs, and another on the third floor showcasing decorative themes from the lsquo;40s and ‘50s
  • Wallcourt Hall Christmas tree is a clean, sleek, modern design featuring LED lights and silver accents, complementing the houses's contemporary styling and bold designs
  • As the newest addition to the Inns of Aurora, this is the second year that Zabriskie House will be trimmed for the holidays. Its decorations will draw on the blues of the house’s stunning parlors.



While winter in Aurora is a great time for cozying up next to a fireplace—enjoying a good book, catching up with friends and family, or just resting—there are also plenty of guided experiences to enjoy at the Inns. We've collected some of our favorites below; for a complete list of our seasonal selections, refer to our Activities & Events page.

  • Silent Night Candlelight Yoga: Our wellness guests look forward to this every year. Indulge in a calming, restorative, beginner-friendly yoga class, bathed in the warm glow of our candlelit yoga studio. This is the best way to re-center at the end of the year, particularly if you're taking an Ayurveda-inspired approach to the New Year.
  • Holiday Letterpress Card Printing: The winter holidays are a wonderful time to dial down our digital-driven lives and appreciate the simple pleasures of traditional arts and crafts. Letterpress holiday cards are a wonderful example of this, and we're very lucky to have one of the country's foremost letterpress artists right here in Aurora. Rob LoMascolo has been keeping the art of letterpress alive in his one-man printshop, and he's happy to share this very special workshop with our guests at the Schoolhouse Activities Center.
  • Holiday Shopping Shuttle: The nearby village of Skaneateles has a wide selection of wonderful shops in its walkable downtown, perfect for buying unique holiday gifts. It's also home to the Dickens Christmas Celebration: over fifty costumed actors welcome visitors to the village, portraying characters from A Christmas Carol and creating a magical holiday ambience. Check the village's website to verify this year's schedule for the Dickens Celebration.
  • Rustic Ornament Painting: A festive spin on our usual mini-painting class, using a tree ring cross-section as a canvas. Those who haven't made an ornament since childhood can relive the simple joy of this holiday tradition. Take home a unique decoration to display in your home throughout the season!



We are so honored to serve as the home away from home for our guests who gather in Aurora to celebrate the season.

Each year—whether as a convenient gathering place for far-flung families, or a no-stress alternative to hosting holidays at home—many groups take advantage of our private rentals to bring friends and loved ones together.

For our guests, there really is no substitute for reserving their very own holiday mansion; for us, as stewards of these beautiful buildings, it’s a joy to see them filled with happy guests and the spirit of the season. The only thing better than enjoying winter in Aurora is bringing your nearest and dearest along to enjoy it with you!




Winter is the perfect time for spiced tea: beyond just warming you up on a cold day, the right blend of ingredients can offer health benefits during an important season for renewal.

Laura Coburn, our Director of Serenity, offers a winter tea blending workshop for exploring this simple-yet-powerful source of healing. Learn about the properties of different herbs and spices, as well as the best blends for creating a delicious and restorative tonic.

Warm up with some of the best natural medicine for the cold months and take home your own special blend to brighten up the season!

(Call or email our Resort Concierge at the Schoolhouse to confirm this year's dates and times.)


S'mores dip at Fargo Bar & Grill



New in 2020, we've transformed the back patio of the Fargo Bar & Grill into a cozy winter oasis. Don't just hide inside! This is a really fun way to enjoy the winter weather. Warm up next to the outdoor fire pits, enjoy a warming seasonal drink, and savor some tasty treats like warm s'mores dip.