Stony Brook’s history revealed by candlelight

Stony Brook’s history revealed by candlelight

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The interior of the Kanestrin house, c. 1874, one of the stops on last year’s Candlelight House Tour. Photo by Chris Ryon

By Sue Wahlert

The Three Village Historical Society is eager to “set the mood for the holidays” at its 37th annual Candlelight House Tour on Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5. This year’s theme, titled “Visions of Stony Brook: A Look Back in Time,” will connect ticket holders with five festively decorated Stony Brook homes, the quaint All Souls’ Episcopal Church and the newly opened Reboli Center for Art and History.

For over three decades the Candlelight Tour has been proudly produced by the Historical Society, which was innovated by Eva Glaser.  Glaser began the tour as a fundraiser for the Setauket Neighborhood House. Proceeds from the tour now go to the Three Village Historical Society’s educational programs. Each year the Candlelight Tour committee works tirelessly to plan and carry out this mélange of history, holiday and décor. “This is an annual tradition and for many it starts the holiday season,” said Patty Yantz, who co-chairs the event with Patty Cain. 

Each year, selected homeowners allow individual decorators into their homes, each of whom will adorn the homes with their artistic take on this joyous time of year. Visitors will be treated to tables set for a celebration, homeowner’s art collections and ideas for personal holiday decorating. This tour reflects, “the yesterday, today and tomorrow of the area,” said Yantz.

Barbara Russell, Brookhaven Town historian, carefully researches each location on the tour and furnishes historic and architectural details of each destination. Ticket holders can expect to be greeted by volunteer docents who will share details about the homes and their specific rooms. A ticket to the tour is complete with a map and a historical overview of each location as well as details of Stony Brook’s history.  If you are an ambitious walker, it is possible to follow the tour on foot, as it is basically centered near the Main Street area in Stony Brook. Visitors can take a break at the Village Center shops and restaurants as well.

“From a charming cottage to stately homes, the tour brings community members together,” said Cain. “The cherry on top is the new Reboli Center for Art and History,” continued Cain. “We are so grateful to the homeowners, sponsors, decorators, office staff and volunteers without whom this wouldn’t happen,” said Yantz. The tour is a preholiday delight full of visual treats for all the visitors.

There are multiple options for those interested in attending. Friday evening, Dec. 4,  includes a tour with wine and hors d’oeuvres served at each home from 6 to 9 p.m. followed by a reception at The Old Field Club in Setauket from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $80 per person for members of the Three Village Historical Society and for nonmembers are $100 per person. Guests will find walkways lined with luminaries leading the way to the excitement.   

The Saturday, Dec. 5, tour includes two options: an early breakfast from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. plus the tour ($50 for members, $60 for nonmembers) or the tour-only option from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($40 for members, $45 for nonmembers). 

Tickets may be purchased online at and picked up at the Historical Society located at 93 North Country Road in Setauket. For further information, visit the website or contact the TVHS at 631-751-3730.