Tavern House hosts Christmas party despite canceled Vienna Luminaria

VIENNA — The 36th Vienna Luminaria was canceled Saturday because of wind and rain, but that didn’t stop another 30-year tradition in Vienna.

The usual 1,500 luminaries didn’t line the streets. The Vienna Heritage Museum was closed and Santa didn’t make his regular stop at the ferry tender’s house, but husband and wife Harvey and Elise Altergott invited guests into their home, the Tavern House Bed and Breakfast on Water Street, for the 30th year.

The home was an inn and tavern from the Colonial era through some of the 1800s. The Altergotts retired after working in the Washington, D.C., area and restored the home to match the Colonial times. In 1985, they opened the bed and breakfast.

On Saturday evening, the house was packed with visitors from Talbot County, Kent Island and as far away as Baltimore. State Sen. Addie Eckardt visited the Altergotts and paid her respects as well.

The gracious hosts offered Christmas punch, warm apple cider, Christmas cookies, brownies, candy and other sweets. Bill Ohashi played warm Christmas music on his baritone in the parlor as guests mingled and enjoyed the sweet treats.

A small Christmas tree with a story was displayed prominently on a table in the front room. Mrs. Altergott said the tree was given to them in 1958, the first year the two were married. Mr. and Mrs. Altergott moved to Beeville, Texas, that year so Mr. Altergott could attend Navy jet school. Mrs. Altergott’s mother feared the two would be without a Christmas tree in Texas, so she sent the small, modest decoration from Salem, Mass. Before then, the Altergotts met on St. Patrick’s Day at a theater in Times Square in New York City.

The weather outside was frightful enough to cancel the luminaria, but the Altergott’s Tavern House was delightful.

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