holiday celebrations are steeped in history and tradition
MAINE - There is nothing like the experience
of an old-fashioned New England holiday, and each of Maine's
historic small towns and cities celebrates the season in its
own unique way.
In quaint villages, people stroll cobblestone
streets sipping hot cider and listening to street carolers as
they admire festive store window displays. Pottery, gourmet food
products, balsam-stuffed pillows, and other Maine- made finds
are added to rapidly growing holiday wish lists.
In the Maine mountains, a couple takes
a romantic moonlit ride on a horse- drawn sleigh adorned with
bells and garland. Afterward, they sit near the fire at a cozy
inn decked out in red, green and gold, enjoying a seasonal feast
prepared with fresh local ingredients. Tomorrow, they'll hit
the slopes for their first downhill run of the season.
Visiting a snow covered farm to choose
and cut or select your own fresh cut Christmas tree is the quintessential
New England holiday experience, and Maine's fragrant balsam firs
and Currier and Ives-like wintry landscape draw people from miles
away. In appreciation, a number of local growers offer special
amenities like horse-drawn carriage rides or homemade cookies
and hot cocoa to keep visitors warm. Many also specialize in
handmade wreaths, and some have full-scale holiday gift shops
on-site. For those who reside outside of the region, select growers
ship trees and wreaths directly from the Maine woods to homes
across the U.S. For a complete list of Christmas tree farms,
where you can also find listings of food and agricultural producers
who ship their own products through the mail.
The holiday revelry in Maine begins
in late November and continues on through the first of the New
Year, with bonfires on the beach, tree
lighting festivals, a chowder tasting contest, holly trolley
rides, holiday symphonies, light parades, candlelight caroling,
and tours of stately homes
lavishly decorated for the holidays. No matter where you join
in the celebration, the arrival of Santa Claus is the centerpiece
hometown holiday festival, whether Old St. Nick arrives by horse-drawn
sleigh, fire truck, ATV, or lobster boat. Here is a sample of
events taking place this holiday season in Maine:
11/25/2005- Country Christmas
12/24/2005 Open houses, ice skating on the common,
Saturday afternoon horse-drawn wagon rides, workshops, arrival
of Santa, musical performances, Community Messiah Sing, and Taste
11/25/2005- Rockland Festival
of Lights Celebration
11/27/2005 Santa arrives by Coast Guard boat, visit
historic inns holiday open houses, Parade of Lights, horse-drawn
carriage rides, carolers,
children's activities, Santa's Workshop, and extended shopping
11/26/2005- 25th Annual
Fort Kent Arts & Crafts Festival
11/27/2005 Juried arts and craft fair featuring more
than 100 exhibitors.
11/26/2005 Lighting of the
Cookies, hot chocolate, music, Santa Claus, plus the big countdown
to the turning on of the Christmas lights on the Cape Neddick
11/26/2005- Old Fashioned
12/31/2005 A magical place during the holidays. The
town is transformed with a spectacular holiday light display
with special church services, craft fairs and an antiques show.
12/02/2005- Christmas by
the Sea, Camden
12/04/2005 A weekend celebration of the holiday season
with shopping, musical entertainment, community tree-lighting
ceremony, horse drawn wagon rides, a Holiday House Tour of private
residences and inns, and Santa arriving by lobster boat.
12/02/2005- Freeport's 12th
12/11/2005 Main Street Magic Parade of Lights, carolers,
talking Christmas tree, Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, and
12/04/2005 13th Annual Celebrate
the Season by the Sea, Old Orchard Beach Tree-lighting event
with hayrides, entertainment, hot chocolate and food.
Bonfire and caroling on the beach and holiday bazaar. Santa and
Mrs. Claus arrive on a fire engine.
12/03/2005 21st Annual Harbor
Lights Festival, Boothbay Harbor Santa and friends arrive by
boat, horse drawn wagon rides, craft fair, time
with Santa, lighting of Christmas tree, and the spectacular Lighted
12/03/2005 Festival of Lights,
The all-day celebration includes craft fairs, open house celebrations,
caroling, and the beautiful illuminated parade at 4:30 p.m. Enjoy
church suppers, caroling groups, concerts, and Santa Claus.
12/03/2005 Shaker Christmas
Fair, New Gloucester
Nine rooms of the 1816 Trustee's Office at the Sabbathday Lake
are open to the public and offer a multitude of holiday gifts
for all ages. Shaker
homemade baked goods are for sale - fruitcakes, cookies, candies,
hot herb biscuits, breads.
12/03/2005- Farnsworth Homestead
Open House, Rockland
12/18/2005 Normally closed during the winter, the
museum opens the homestead for viewing its holiday finery.
12/09/2005- 19th Annual
Christmas by the Sea Celebration, Ogunquit
12/11/2005 A festival of holiday activities designed
for the young at heart in quaint Ogunquit Village. Tree lightings,
caroling, bonfires, shopping,
open houses, Chowderfest, and more.
12/10/2005- Victorian Christmas
at the Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport
12/11/2005 The Museum's Fowler-True-Ross House, a
19th century sea captain's home, will be decorated by area florists.
There will be a
Festival of Trees in the Vestry, Holiday House Tour, and a Friday
This holiday season, visit Maine for
a traditional New England holiday experience. For vacation planning
assistance, visit www.visitmaine.com,
call 1-888-95-MAINE. If you're coming to do some holiday shopping,
log on to www.mainemade.com
and visit the "Online Open House" to get a sneak preview
of the handcrafted products you'll find in Maine specialty stores.
Maine lodging accomodations list
Bar Harbor, Maine
Old Orchard Beach, Maine