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Potwin Place Christmas Lights

Posted on December 23, 2018 by under Things to Do.    

My chance tour of the Christmas light at the Potwin Place Historic District in Topeka is definitely one of the highlights of the year. I didn’t even know what I was getting into until it happened. It was the best surprise ever.

Since several of us were in town last week, one of our coworkers decided to host a Christmas party at his house. I knew that he lived in a Victorian house in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Topeka but I knew nothing of it so I had absolutely no expectations. Even after he updated the meeting (party) invitation to include a picture of his home, warned us about the roundabouts, and encouraged us to drive through the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, I thought nothing of it.

Fast forward to that night. Most of our coworkers went straight to the party from the office but I had an errand to run after work. Misty had me a wild goose chase for this necklace she wanted made of copper from the State Capitol roof and I had to go to the Kansas Historic Society to get it. That is a whole story in and of itself but I digress. Since the place is right by our hotel, I decided to drop off my stuff first. I was the only one coming from the hotel so there was no one to carpool with. I don’t particularly enjoy driving so I decided to order a car. I had a 25% off special on all Lyft rides so I think the ride cost lest than $10 before tip. It was very reasonable. Anyway, this has got to be the most memorable Lyft ride I’ve ever had. (If we don’t count the time that I had a big box of the driver’s donuts on my lap on the way to the office one morning. But that’s also another story.)

The Lyft driver followed the instructions on the GPS (as they all typically do) and we pleasantly chatted on the way to my destination. I casually mentioned what my friend said about the neighborhood Christmas lights. She asked me where I was going and I told her that I think he lives in an area called Potwin. That’s when she perked up and got very excited. Apparently, she is very familiar with the area. She decided to disregard the instructions of the GPS and told me she was going to take me another way so I could enjoy the lights. That’s when I found out that the Potwin Place Historic District Christmas lights displays are a very big deal up there. Potwin Place is a highlight of every Topeka Christmas lights tour.

I wasn’t in a hurry and I’m always down for a good “Easter Egg” (and she didn’t didn’t give the the axe murderer vibe) so I didn’t object. Although, I did tell her that her GPS was probably going to go berserk on us. As long as she was okay with that, I was too. So went for a nice, leisurely drive through the neighborhood with her pointing out some of the houses with the best decorations. Of course, you can’t really breeze through the neighborhood because of all the roundabouts which, I found out later, were installed back in the day to keep the horse carriages from racing through the neighborhood streets. Oh, I forgot to mention that she even tuned her radio to the special radio station as we entered the neighborhood. By the time she delivered me to my friend’s house, she had earned herself a very good tip. That was, by far, the best Uber/Lyft ride experience I’d ever had.

The evening was full of surprises so it didn’t end there. My coworker had actually arranged for his friend (who also lives in the neighborhood) to give us a hay ride to enjoy the lights. While I was very pleased with the tour that the Lyft driver had given me, this was even better. I didn’t have car windows between me and the beautiful lights. The only thing that could have made it better was if we actually had time to tour the lights on foot and walk through the displays.

I’m posting a few pictures below but, I must warn you, these aren’t going to do the Christmas lights display any justice. If you’re up in the Topeka area, I highly recommend taking a tour of the lights yourself. This year’s theme is “International Celebration” and will be up through January 5.

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Click on one of the photos above and follow the trail to Flickr where there are even a few videos. Enjoy!

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