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Historic Houses of Odessa

The quiet town of Odessa comes to life on the first Saturday of December, when 30 historic houses spanning 3 centuries open for Christmas in Odessa (tel. 302/378-4900; www.christmasinodessa.com). Public buildings and private homes are open for daytime and candlelight tours. Music, carriage rides, food, and a crafts shop are also available. Tickets are sold that day at the Old Academy, at Fourth and Main streets, for $20.

But you don't have to wait for December to visit. The town, which dates back to the 17th century when it was called Cantwell's Bridge, was once a thriving crossroads. When trains and highways bypassed the town, Odessa became a sleepy place. The charming Georgian homes built just before the American Revolution by William Corbit and David Wilson are the centerpieces of the Historic Houses of Odessa (tel. 302/378-4119; www.historicodessa.org). These two houses -- along with a wood-sided working family's home and a 19th-century bank and hotel -- are open to the public March through December. Original furnishings, a great Underground Railroad story, and the opportunity to walk through the old town, itself a historic district, make this a worthwhile stop. Tours are offered Thursday through Saturday 10am to 4:30pm, Sunday 1 to 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 seniors and students.

Odessa is 23 miles north of Dover and 22 miles south of Wilmington. To get here, take Route 13 and follow the signs to the historic district.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.