Photos by Cheryl Landes
For two weeks in December, a historic Victorian mansion near the Portland International Raceway dresses in festive decorations and opens to the public. This Miracle of a Million Lights at the Victorian Belle, 1441 McClellan Street, lives up to its name as one million colored lights adorn the shrubs, buildings, and holiday displays throughout the 2.5-acre grounds.
But the lights aren’t the only attraction.
When you arrive, a gingerbread man greets you and directs you to the path to the lighted wonderland. Along the way, grab some popcorn and watch a holiday movie in the heated outdoor movie theater. Roast marshmallows over a fire. If you’re still hungry, go to the food tent for homemade apple cider, cookies, chocolate-covered bacon, and hand-cut caramel and watch live musicians and dancers while you indulge.
And say hello to Mrs. Santa, who also helps the kids create holiday crafts.
Inside the house, take a picture with Santa, enjoy the beautiful Christmas trees and decorations, and pet the cute bunnies and turtles. You might even spot a superhero or another familiar movie or book character in the recreation room on the top floor. During my tour, I saw a stormtrooper from the movie, Star Wars.
David Cole, a ship captain turned businessman, built the Victorian Belle in 1885 as a wedding gift for his wife, Amanda Laura Boone, the great-granddaughter of famous frontiersman Daniel Boone. The house was a private home until about 20 years ago, when it became an event facility.
The home has its original wooden fixtures and is believed to contain the world’s largest collection of stained glass from the Povey Brothers Studio, which was also located in Portland. Amanda’s wedding dress and slippers are also on display.
This year, Miracle of a Million Lights runs December 9-23, 6-10 p.m. nightly. Admission is $8 adults ages 18-64, $5 ages 4-17, $4 seniors 65 and older, and free for children three and younger. Get a $1 discount off admission by printing out the coupon on the Miracle of a Million Lights webpage and donating a non-perishable food item. Scroll to the bottom of the webpage to find the coupon.
For more information, visit the Miracle of a Million Lights webpage.