It’s never too early to start planning your holiday itineraries. When developing future festive group tours, you’ll want to consider Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio. The area in northeast Ohio is located midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and Chicago and New York, making it the perfect stop for multiday tours headed east or west.
Groups can kick-start their holiday cheer with the annual “Memories of Christmas Past” exhibit at the Arms Family Museum. Held this year Nov. 19–Dec. 31, the exhibit will celebrate its 14th year in the Arts and Crafts-style mansion of Olive and Wilford Arms. Groups will see seven period rooms filled with rare, one-of-a-kind, vintage decorations that include ornaments, lighting, trees, and toys—all arranged in breathtaking vignettes that delight generations young and old. The display features many pieces from the Mahoning Valley Historical Society’s collection as well as items on loan from private collectors.
“This one-of-a-kind winter wonderland rivals the best of the professional holiday displays as seen in New York City, Chicago and Atlanta,” says Tara Mady, assistant director at Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Exquisitely arranged, the vintage decor on display is from the early 1900s through the 1960s. The exhibit features all-new displays each year. Every year, visitors say how much the vignettes bring back their best nostalgic childhood memories.”
Groups venturing to the museum’s lower level will find the Hands-On-History Room, which transforms into a fun, Christmas-themed experience for all ages with festive activities and photo-ops. Those wishing to take some of the holiday magic home can stop in the gift shop, which sells many vintage Christmas items.
The Arms Family Museum is open Tuesday–Sunday, noon–4 p.m. On Twilight Thursdays, the museum stays open until 7 p.m., allowing visitors to view the exhibit at night. The museum is closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
More holiday fun
In addition, the “Memories of Christmas Past” exhibit, groups can fill itineraries with other Mahoning County holiday stops.
“Groups can plan a holiday day tour featuring a few of our holiday attractions,” Mady says. “An overnight tour can also be arranged with an evening holiday performance followed by a drive-through holiday light display. There are many wonderful attractions in the Youngstown area that complement the holiday attractions to create a unique tour.”
At Mill Creek MetroParks, groups will find the Winter Celebration display in the Fellows Riverside Gardens. In the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center, groups can stroll through beautiful displays and the annual holiday tree walk, with trees decorated by area nonprofits. This year’s celebration will run Dec. 3–30, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. During Winter Nights (Dec. 3, 10, and 17) the center will offer extended hours to 7 p.m.
During the first weekend in December, groups can attend the American Holiday at The Butler Arts & Crafts Show. Now in its 51st year, the show is held at The Butler Institute of American Art—the country’s first museum dedicated to works created solely by American artists. The show features original, one-of-a-kind creations from some of the area’s finest artists and artisans, with holiday entertainment scheduled throughout the event.
Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau can assist tour operators with planning the perfect holiday-themed itinerary. For more information, visit youngstownlive.com/groups.
“Memories of Christmas Past” exhibit, Arms Family Museum
Credit: Mahoning Valley Historical Society