In an eclectic little North Portland neighborhood just off of I-5 stands a rather incongruous sight: a stunning Victorian mansion set in 2.5 acres of flawlessly manicured gardens. Known as the Victorian Belle, this beautifully-restored home has been a wedding destination for two decades, but the romance started early for this 1885 structure. David Cole, a ship captain and store owner, built this lacy confection of a dwelling as a wedding gift for his wife Amanda Boone Cole, who was the great-granddaughter of the frontiersman and folk hero Daniel Boone. Said to have been built entirely from lumber milled on the property, the home boasted such novelties as hot and cold running water, central heating, and interior electricity. Povey Brothers Studio, known as the "Tiffany of the Northwest," created the beautiful stained glass windows. A private residence for a century, the mansion is now a fully-restored showpiece filled with antiques. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and open to the public, the house draws countless visitors to its year-round events. To see the Belle at her finest, though, one must visit at Christmastime and experience The Miracle of a Million Lights. Hurry, though; this unique display only runs from 6:00 to 10:00 through December 23.
The mansion is located at 1441 N McClellan Street; click here for driving directions. Once you're near the tall, glowing house, it's hard to miss! Plan on lots of other visitors, as this is a popular Portland Christmas tradition. Bring your camera; photography is encouraged, and it's hard to take a bad picture of the beautiful Belle. Bring the kids (or kids at heart) and make some holiday memories among a million lights.
|The author amongst the display
|Note the gentle light shining through the Povey Brothers windows
|Paul Bunyan stands proud in this Portland-themed display
|The model train zips past a model of Beacon Rock in the Columbia River Gorge
|Even the houses in the model train village are lit up for Christmas
|Walk amongst the lighted trees and toast a s'more with Rudolph
|Lighted trees shine through intricate, antique lace curtains
|Merry Christmas, we'll see you out there next year!