A Holiday Party at the Frick brings out the beauty of Clayton

| Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

“This is my first time, so my jaw is on the floor,” admitted Tiffany Fichter. “It's beautiful.”

Sentiment shared for 400-plus during a Holiday Party at the Frick, where sentimentality started upon entry as all roads, it was quickly discovered, led straight to Clayton. No big surprise, the Frick family manse carried on its tradition of invoking gazes of wild wonderment and drawing out the most admirable of exclamations as the likes of board chair David Brownlee, director Bill Bodine Jr., Donna Delie, Don andNancy Fales, Chip Burke and Carole King, Joel Bernard, Dr. Bill Swartz, Mary Frances Cooper, Ned Schano andAmy Beatty, Matt Teplitz and Dr. Sue Challinor, Betsy andChuck Watkins, Alex Scott, Cary Reed, and Susie Durocher made their way through the former home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his wife, Adelaide.

If these walls could talk, everyone would stop and listen. As if the 23 rooms weren't enough to give one pause, undoubtedly, a few of the artifacts (93 percent of them are originals) tend to do the trick.

“This is one of my favorite treasure boxes in Pittsburgh,” shared JoAnn Kartsonas as she listened to docent Mary Guzowski describe the original double-cut plush with mother of pearl sequins and silver-threaded wall coverings crowning the parlor. “It's got good old-fashioned Pittsburgh steel dust in it,” Guzowski added.

Meanwhile, out-of-doors, the merriment was on overdrive as elegantly disguised pit stops offered roasted chestnuts, hot apple cider garnished with a cinnamon stick, “Gilded Age” cookies, and hot cocoa while the Boar's Head Wassail Consort serenaded with Christmas carols. As if that weren't enough, the art museum, car and carriage museum, former kids' playhouse-cum-visitors center were also all open for business, as guests extended their stay well beyond the intended hour.

“I love it ... it's wonderful. There are so many people we are very happy to thank on a night like this,” said Amanda Gillen, assistant curator of education and collections for Clayton.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kbenz@tribweb.com or 412-320-8515.

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