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Your Complete Guide to Visiting Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Love visiting dreamy mansions full of history? Enjoy learning about the lives of those in the “upstairs” or “downstairs” parts of the house like in Downton Abbey? No, you don’t need to book a ticket to the UK anytime soon; Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is a fantastic place to visit near Cleveland! 

Located in Akron, Ohio, about a 45-minute drive from downtown Cleveland, this sprawling estate is a must-visit in the northeast Ohio area. Built by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company co-founder F.A. Seiberling, this mansion was once his family estate. 

Now this beautiful place is open to the public to visit most of the year! So whether you want to admire the lights around Christmastime or explore the gardens in the summer, this is your ultimate guide to visiting Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.

Deck the Halls at Stan Hywet Hall
Stan Hywet Hall at Christmas

Stan Hywet History

According to the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens website, in 1910 F.A. Seiberling started purchasing land in Portage Township just outside of Akron to build a large house and gardens for his family. 

After hiring architect Charles Schneider, they set to work on creating this estate in the Tudor Revival style in 1912. By December 1915, the family was ready to move in and would continue living there for the next 40 years.

In those 40 years, Stan Hywet witnessed so many family events. F.A. Seiberling himself was one of 9 children and his siblings mostly lived in the Akron area. He and his wife went on to have 7 children and 21 grandchildren. 

Stan Hywet Hall dining room
With a family that big, I guess you would indeed need a dining room this large!

The name Stan Hywet actually means “stone quarry” in Old English. This 70-acre property comprises 5 buildings including the 65-room Manor House, the Gate Lodge, the Carriage House, the Corbin Conservatory, and the Tea Houses. It also has 10 gardens including a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and an English garden. 

In 1955 upon F.A. Seiberling’s passing, the house became a non-profit museum open to the public. 

Stan Hywet Hall room
A bedroom at Stan Hywet decorated for Christmas

Fun Facts About Stan Hywet

Here are a few fun facts about Stan Hywet you probably didn’t know! 

  1. Did you know AA started here? F.A. Seiberling’s wife, Gertrude, and her daughter-in-law, Henrietta, invited Dr. Bob and Bill W. over to talk about their drinking problems. That discussion led to the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous! 
  1. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is the 6th largest historic home that is open to the public. (The largest is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.)
  1. It is a National Historic Landmark! 
  1. The estate had 10 miles of bridle trails for their horses, many of which were international champions.
  1. John Seiberling, F.A. Seiberling’s grandson went on to help establish Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Stan Hywet Gardens
Corbin Conservatory

Stan Hywet Tours in 2020

There are a lot of tours you can take throughout the year, all with different things to see! Stan Hywet is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am-4 pm. The tours you can take are listed below. 

Quick note: due to 2020 being, well, 2020, there are more restrictions on tours. I’ll share the ones that are currently available as well as other tours being offered during normal times. 

These are the only tours you can take during 2020, all of which are virtual or self-guided. 

1. Virtual Tour

Whether you are social distancing here in northeast Ohio or you live far away and want to see the beautiful estate for yourself, there is a great free virtual tour option here

This tour shows views inside of the Manor House including the billiard room, F.A. Seiberling’s office, the first floor north wing, the master bedroom and bathrooms, the great hall, the linen fold hallway, and the music room. 

2. Self-Guided Manor House Tour

Explore Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens at your own pace and with room for social distancing. The tour includes the Manor House, a self-guided tour of the Gate Lodge and gardens, and a visitors guide. 

Tickets are $15 for non-members over 18, $6 for kids 6-17, and free for Stan Hywet members. 

3. Self-guided Gardens & Grounds Tour (includes Gate Lodge Tour)

Enjoy the restored Gate Lodge with the exhibit about Henrietta Seiberling and the founding of AA. You can also explore the grounds of the estate. 

Tickets are $12 for non-members over 18, $5 for kids 6-17, and free for Stan Hywet members.

Stan Hywet Gardens at Christmas
Garden light tunnel at Christmas

4. Gate Lodge Self-Guided Tour

If you prefer to just see the Gate Lodge and Henrietta Seiberling exhibit, then this ticket is a great option. 

Tickets are $6 for non-members and free for members. 

Other Stan Hywet Tours

These tours below are the normal guided tours, which aren’t available at the moment due to the pandemic. 

1. Guided Manor House Tour 

This 1 hour and 15 minute guided tour shows you the Manor House including the music room, great hall, and other entertainment areas (including the pool!). Learn more about life at Stan Hywet in its heyday from an expert tour guide. 

The tour also includes access to the gardens, Gate Lodge, and Corbin Conservatory for a self-guided tour. 

Tickets are $19 for adults over 18, $8 for children ages 6-17, and 50% off for members.

Stan Hywet study at Christmas
Stan Hywet study

2. Nooks & Crannies Tour

This is such a cool tour that shows how the estate was run! Walk in the footsteps of the staff who worked and lived at Stan Hywet. This also includes a self-guided tour of the gardens, Gate Lodge, and Corbin Conservatory and is about 1.5-2 hours long. 

Ticket prices are $28 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-17, and 50% for members. 

3. Grand Estate Tour

Get a guided tour of the whole estate including the Manor House and gardens! Learn about the unique landscaping around the home as well as more information about the family that lived within the house. 

This tour is about 2.5 hours long and includes access to the Gate Lodge and Corbin Conservatory. 

Tickets are $24 for adults, $10 for kids 6-17, and 50% off for members. 

4. Youth Tour

For children under 10, they can enjoy this 45-minute interactive tour in “a day in the life of” the youngest Seiberling, Franklin. Admission also includes a self-guided tour of the gardens, Gate Lodge, and Corbin Conservancy. 

Stan Hywet at Christmas

Stan Hywet Christmas tree
Big tree in the courtyard

While the tours above are fantastic, there is nothing quite like seeing this place at Christmas! The Deck the Hall event at Stan Hywet is one of the best things to do around Christmas in the Cleveland area

First of all, the entire house is “decked” out in holiday decor, including nutcrackers, a Yule log, Christmas lights, a giant tree, and more! There is also a Santa meet and greet, the beautiful conservatory full of poinsettias, and the delightful lights all over the gardens! 

Stan Hywet Conservatory
Cacti and poinsettias in the Conservatory

Enjoy the sparkling lights of Gingerbread Land or watch and listen as displays light up perfectly in time to music. And you absolutely have to grab some hot cocoa and gingerbread. 

It really is a fun event at Stan Hywet for the whole family, and one of my family’s favorite things to do in the area! 

Stan Hywet Gardens at Christmas
Lights in the Stan Hywet Gardens

The Deck the Hall event IS still happening in 2020, with some modifications made for safety reasons. (For example, only a self-guided tour of the first floor of the house is available, but there are more lights outdoors than usual.)

Dates for Stan Hywet Deck the Hall in 2020 are December 12-23 and December 26-30 from 5-8 pm.

This year, advanced tickets are required. Tickets for Stan Hywet Deck the Hall are sold online and cost $18 for adults and $7 for kids 6-17 from Sunday-Thursday, or $22 for adults and $9 for kids on Friday and Saturday. Children under 5 are free. 

Stan Hywet Christmas

On top of visiting the estate for a tour around Christmas, you can also splurge on Dinner & Deck the Hall. On select evenings in the month of December, you can enjoy a buffet dinner and drinks in style before exploring the mansion. 

For 2020, they are operating on a smaller scale and having these dinners on December 11, 17, and 18. 

Stan Hywet Christmas

Stan Hywet is a must-visit destination if you are spending some time in the Greater Cleveland area. With the beautifully designed house and gardens, entertaining and informative tours, and a dreamy setting to enjoy the holidays, Stan Hywet has something the whole family will enjoy! 

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Have you visited Stan Hywet? What is your favorite thing about the place?

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