New England Christmas Holiday Events, Fairs, Festivals and Attractions
These holiday destinations will surely get you in the Christmas spirit!
Article by Eric H.
New England is truly a special place to celebrate Christmas. With a chill in the air, community gatherings and special commercial events (and hopefully a little snow on the ground), we bring to you the following 2012 holiday attractions (based on our own experiences, reader feedback and tips from family and friends):
Christmas Prelude, Kennebunkport, Maine, Nov. 29-Dec 9
Kennebunkport, Maine, goes all out during the holiday season with a fabulous tree-lighting ceremony (this year, Fri, Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m. at Dock Square), a nativity scene, dinners, arts and crafts shows, holiday dinners, tours, parades, and plenty of hot cider and chocolate. The Kennebunkport and Lower Village (Kennebunk) Christmas scenes are one of New England's best -- along with the sparkling lighted Christmas trees you'll view many seashell decorated wreaths, and garlands of greenery and ribbon. There's even a Christmas tree made out of lobster traps! For those more interested in the actual lobster, you'll find plenty of dinners to go around (check schedule by clicking link below). It's all certainly a tourist attraction, but, more importantly, the Christmas celebrations of a community full of pride, hard-working people making the events happen, and a rich sense of seasonal tradition. More on the Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude, including schedule of events...
Edaville Railroad Annual Christmas Festival of Lights, Carver, Mass. Enjoy the Christmas train rides passing by the seven million lights and 30 displays at this 1,800-acre Cranberry plantation. Here, visitors can enjoy hot chocolate, apple cider, caroling, a visit with Santa as well as a fireworks display on Friday nights in December! Hours of operation: 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm Weekdays
2:00 pm to 9:00 pm Weekends
November 16-18, 23-25, 29-30 December 1-2, 6-9, 12-24 December 26-January 1 January 3-6 (Closed Christmas Day) Full details on the Edaville Railroad Festival of Lights...
Christmas at Santa's Village, Jefferson, N.H. It's mighty cold in New Hampshire at this time of the year, but Mr. and Mrs. Claus help warm up this special New Hampshire theme park at Christmas that features beautiful lighting, holiday-themed amusement rides (including the Skyway Sleigh Monorail and the Merry Christmas Ferris Wheel), holiday shopping at the Snowball Mall and Stocking Stuffer Shop, and a 3-D show entitled "A Tinkerdoodle Christmas." Now in its 56th year, Santa's Village is one of New England's most revered holiday destinations.
Christmas time hours of operation: Saturday, November 17th 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM Sunday*, November 18th 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM Friday and Saturday, November 23th & 24th 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM Sunday*, November 25th 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM December Saturdays 'til the 22nd 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM December Sundays* 'til the 16th 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
*Sundays have the lightest crowds
Full details on Christmas at Santa's Village...
Christmas at the Farm Featured at Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock, Vt. Billings Farm and Museum celebrates the traditions of a 19th century Vermont village on weekends in Dec. 1 and 2, 15 and 16, and December 26, 2012- January 1, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., including arts and crafts projects and horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides. Full details on Christmas at the Farm at Billings Farm and Museum...
Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass.
What a fun way to experience the history of Christmas traditions at Old Strubridge Village (OSV) -- this beautiful Sturbridge, Mass., living museum recreates rural New England life during the 1790s through the 1830s. Caroling around the illuminated 19th-century village and sounds of the season from visiting performers from local schools and churches will surely get you in the Christmas spirit. The event will also feature an evening of gingergbread, roasted chestnuts, music, dance, and a sleigh ride (weather permitting). You'll also get to meet Father Christmas (right) and Santa Claus.
According to the OSV Web Site, you'll also get to "discover the history of Christmas cards, exchanging gifts, hanging stockings, Christmas trees, mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, and candy canes. You'll learn about these traditions and more in the enchanting setting of Old Sturbridge Village by candlelight. You'll also have an opportunity to taste samples of several foods long associated with the holiday."
Visit the OSV Web Site for more specific dates and ticket information
The North Pole Express at the Essex Steam Train, Essex, Conn. This imaginative journey to the "North Pole" is sure to please the kids by celebrating the spirit of the season with Santa and Mrs. Claus, sing-a-longs, hot chocolate and sugar cookies -- all powered by a locomotive-powered sleigh! Full details on the North Pole Express at the Essex Steam Train, including specific November and December hours of operation..
Enchanted Village, Jordan's Furniture, Avon, Mass. Jordan's has brought back to life a revered holiday event made famous by the former Jordan Marsh department store in Boston and then the City of Boston. In its heyday (the 1960s and 1970s and then 1990-2005), Enchanted Village was a household name with its finely detailed holiday scenes and "magically" animated figures. Thanks to the visionaries at Jordan's Furniture, Enchanted Village is now back at its Avon store. Here, you'll find the fully restored vintage collection of 59 mechanical figurines, and 18 vignettes. Santa will be on hand, too! Opens Nov. 17!
Christmas at the Newport Mansions, Newport, R.I.
The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House go all out for the holidays with spectacular decorations, music and tours. Featured are thousands of poinsettia plants, incredible evergreens, trees, wreaths and fresh flowers, as well as 19th century style ornaments. Wow, don't miss this one-of-a-kind event from November 17, 2012 to January 1, 2013 Full details on Christmas at the Newport Mansions...
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NEW ENGLAND CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY EVENT?
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