Meadow Brook Hall's annual Holiday Walk returns with new trees, decor

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

When it comes to decking the halls, few Metro Detroit institutions do it as well as Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester.

Every year, the historic former home of auto heiress Matilda Dodge Wilson and second husband Alfred Wilson gets draped in its holiday finest with elaborately decorated Christmas trees, mantels and staircases for its annual Holiday Walk, which kicks off Friday. And the tradition continues this year.

Teal and gold ornaments add glamour to the Christmas trees and mantel in the dining room at Meadow Brook Hall. All of the decorating is done by Grand Haven floral designer Alice Waterous and her team of what she calls "Christmas elves."

Now in its 48th year, Holiday Walk lets visitors tour the 88,000-square-foot historic estate from room-to-room to see its holiday decor. It includes more than 50 Christmas trees decorated in a range of styles -- from gold chic to a dog-themed tree.

And every year, the holiday decor is reinvented to give guests a unique experience.

"It's new every year," said Shannon O'Berski, Meadow Brook's director of external relations.

Introduced this year is a stunning 10-foot ice castle tree designed by Grand Haven floral designer Alice Waterous and her team, who install all the Christmas decor at Meadow Brook.

Several trees have animal themes this year to tie in with the Wilsons' love of their pets, including a dog theme that runs throughout what was once Alfred Wilson's bedroom and bathroom. There's also a Pegasus-inspired tree and mantel in daughter Frances Dodge's bedroom, a nod to Meadow Brook's Pegasus Fountain.

White winged horses are woven throughout the holiday decor in what was once France Dodge's room at Meadow Brook Hall, a nod to the estate's Pegasus Fountain.

Animal decor is "popular in holiday decorating," O'Berski said.

There also be a live poinsettia tree in the sun room made from 150 live plants.

Along with regular tours, Holiday Walk also will include special events, including a Starlight Stroll  with  a four-course strolling dinner, live entertainment and dancing. There will also be Guided Candlelight Tours.

Holiday Walk tickets are $20 for adults, $7.50 for children ages 6-12, children age 5 and under are free. On Mondays and Wednesdays, seniors age 62 and older receive $5 off admission. Go to