Category Archives: holidays

Holiday Trellis (Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Boston, MA)

Dates Of Event:  Official lighting was November 21.   Photos were taken December 9, 2016

Location: Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, 110 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA (near Tia’s and the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel)

Hours: Lights go on at dusk every day through out the holidays

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking in this part of the city is tough.  If you can’t find street parking spaces, there is a parking garage at the Vpne parking garage located at 200 State St which is nearby.  The Aquarium (on the MBTA’s Blue Line) and South Station (the Red Line on the MBTA) stops are also within walking distance.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: Festive lights and decorations

Web Site: Holiday Trellis

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There are several holiday displays in the city of Boston.  You can skate and shop at the new Boston Winter attraction.  You can view the light display at Faneuil Hall.  Or, you can check out the tree at the Boston Common.

But, there is one holiday display that often goes unnoticed despite its festive display.

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The Holiday Trellis display at Christopher Columbus Park in Boston’s historic North End, is home to one of the more beautiful light displays in the city.

The 260 foot trellis is lit up with 50,000 blue lights.  A wreath decorated with a red bow and white lights hangs at the entrance to the trellis.  Fourteen trees in the park are also lit up.

The lighting of the trellis is a big event at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.  Refreshments are provided and a musical guest performs each year (this year the musical performance was by Sharon Zeffiro).

While playing with my camera, I noticed how the path and lights looked much brighter with certain settings.

While those phoros look cool, the actual colors are not as bright.

The trellis is pet friendly and the dogs seem to really like the lights which seem to sparkle when they shine on the path.  Denali, a 1 year old Golden Retriever, stopped chasing the spots on the path to pose for a quick photo.

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Happy holidays, however you celebrate (or don’t)!  Thank you all for the holiday cheer and for all of your support throughout the year!

 


Christmas By Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA)

 

 

 

 

 

Dates of Event: Every weekend in December, 2016, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (photos taken on December 16, 2016)

Location: Old Sturbridge Village (1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd.
Sturbridge, MA) (about an hour and half west of Boston and 45 minutes east of Springfield, MA)

Price: Adults: $22 | Youth ages 4 –12: $14 | Children 3 and under: Free (there are discounts if you’re in the military and if you purchase your tickets before December 1st for future reference)

Hours: 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm for the Christmas By Candlelight event (regular November  hours are 9:30 -4:00 but their hours and the days they are open change depending on the time of the year)

Parking:There are an ample parking in the parking lot but it does get full during big events like the Christmas By Candlelight event

Handicapped Accessible: No, unfortunately, many of the houses do not have ramps

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: family-friendly, historical, living museum, actors, carolers, animals, horse drawn carriage

Web Site: Christmas By Candlelight At Old Sturbridge Village

 

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Stage coach rides, carolers, time period actors, Christmas trees; these are a few of the magical attractions at the annual Candlelight Christmas event at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

The first exhibit at the Old Sturbridge Village Museum is the gingerbread house contest.  The contest is broken into 4 categories: adult professional (there are professional gingerbread house makers?), adult, youth and family.  Some of the designs are very creative.  Each visitor to the museum could vote for their favorite.

There are many houses with living actors who answer questions about the traditions and how Christmas was celebrated during the colonial and post colonial days,

There were also stations where you could get some mulled cider and, appropriately enough, freshly roasted chestnuts…on an open fire no less.

The houses were all decorated with lights (for safety purposes, lights replaced the candles which would have been used to light up the houses).  I have tried to show a progression of how the houses looked as darkness descended on the village so there may be some duplicate photos of the same buildings.

All of the houses were open to the public, especially since it was another cold New England afternoon.  The homes were all decorated in different eras.  In fact, one could see the decor of diffeerent eras in each room in the house.

This shoppe was a realistic version of the shoppes of the day.

There were actors throughout the village.  The last two gentlemen pictured below were playing instruments of the day.  The man in the second photo is playing a Psaltery, an instrument dating back to the 3 B.C.E.

In one of the houses, The Ghost of Christmas Present waited for us.  He told me he hasn’t had to scare anyone since Scrooge (not even any reality stars or politicians, apparently).  So, he’s a pretty easyy going guy I guess.  Tiny Tim’s cane leaned on a chair in the corner.

This actor was pretty quiet.  He didn’t tell me much about his character.  Hey, wait a second…

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Of course there were carolers roaming the village and breaking into song when the mood struck them.  They also sang, appropriately enough, “Oh Christmas Tree!” at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

It was too cold outside (single digits at some points of the evening) for most of the animals.  But, the chickens and some chicks were in the barn.

There were also some bulls on the farm.  They’re such beautiful animals.

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And, of course, the horses that pulled the horse drawn carriage and stage coach.  Don’t you just love how they walk?

Happy holidays too all and don’t forget to leave out your shoes in the hopes of getting carrots!

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Below are some videos from my visit to Candlelight Christmas! You’ll have to turn your head or device to watch the tree lighting ceremony ( :


Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke (Portsmouth, NH)

 

 

Dates Of Event: December 3-18 (weekends only), photos taken December 10, 2016

Location: Strawbery Banke Museum (14 Hancock Street
Portsmouth, NH)

Hours: Saturdays, 5-9 pm. Sundays, 4-8 pm

Cost: Tickets are $25/adults, $12.50/children (ages 5-17), and $60/family (covers 2 adults + 2 children age 5-17). Children under 5, free. Active duty military and their families, and veterans, free. Group and corporate rates are available

Parking: There are about 100 parking spots in the lot which fill up quickly.  The besgt bet is to park at one of the lots nearby (there are a couple on Court St within walking distance) or ake the Vintage Christmas Trolley

Handicapped Accessible: The main trail is but some of the houses are not handicapped accessible as they do not have ramps

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: living history museum, ice skating rink, horse drawn carriage rides, musical entertainment, family friendly

Web Site: Strawbery Banke Candlelight Stroll

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Christmas in New England was once very different than the Christmas we celebrate these days.  The actors at the living history museum do their best to recreate  the life of Christmas during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

The festivites begin with a candlelight stroll in the Portsmouth neighbor.  We missed the candlelight stroll because we photographed the Nubble Lighthouse.

The houses are decorated with holiday decor and the actors explain what life was liked in colonial and post colonial America.  I love some of the little decorations that gave the museum a Christmassy feel.  It’s funny how a well place wreath or a colorful decoration can brighten up a room or doorway.

One of my favorite buildings is (of course) the old time candy shoope.  Candies, snacks and foods of all kinds are stocked on the shelves and you can even get some recipes for some of theese foods.

Another one of my favorite buildings was the lantern shop.  One of the lantern makers was at work when we visited the shoppe.  And, yes, all of the lanterns photographed were hand made and for sale.

In one of the houses, Mrs. Shapiro prepared a Hanukah celebration her 1919 Russian Jewish kitchen.

There was also a horse drawn carriage.

There is also musical entertainment at Strawbery Banke.  Carolers, a live band an a pianist are at Strawberry Banke.  If you’re lucky, they might even be serving hot apple cider like they were during our visit.

There is also an ice skating rink for skaters of all skill levels to enjoy.  The best part of the rink is when the living actors skate together (see video below).  The less experienced skaters can use “walkers” to help keep them on their feet which you may see in the video below.  A firepit is nearby to help keep the visitors warm.

Although dogs are not allowed at Starwbery Banke (service dogs may be an exception), we did see Meave, a 2 year old mixed breed dog.

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Below is a video ofsome of the skilled skaters at the living musuem.

 


Boston Winter (Boston, MA)

Dates Of Event: December 7, 2016 – December 31, 2016 (the skating rink will be open until the end of February, 2017)

Location: Boston City Hall Plaza
1 City Hall Square

Hours:

Chalets
Sunday – Thursday 11am – 7pm
Friday & Saturday 11am – 8pm
Christmas Eve 11am – 4pm
Christmas Day Closed
New Year’s Eve 11am – 6pm
New Year’s Day Closed

Site (Skating & Attractions)
Sunday – Thursday 11am – 9pm
Friday & Saturday 11am – 10pm
Christmas Eve 11am – 4pm
Christmas Day Closed
New Year’s Eve 11am – 6pm
New Year’s Day Closed

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking gaarages in the area or you can try street parking (good luck).  If you don’t feel like driving, the Government Center Train Stop on the Green Line is directly across from Boston Winter.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: ice skating rink, shops, dj, shops, lights and ddecorations

Web Site: Boston Winter

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In an effort to make the city even more festive, Boston has installed a temporary skating rink and holiday attraction.  The 11,000 square foot ice skating path (it’s not really a rink but more of a circular ice path) is open to all skaters of any skill level.

The opening of Boston winter, the attraction nott the actual season, was delayed from December 2nd to December 7th because it was not cold enough to sustain the temperatures needed to keep the rink frozen.  Sadly, that is not a problem now.

People of all ages, backgrounds and ability took to the ice and reveled in the ice and atmosphere.  It’s a great event for couples and it is very family friendly.  I’m always surprised to some degree how well behaved and (usually) considerate people are at these events.  The walk ways and standing areas – there is no seating available and I’m sure that is by design – is narrow and congested in some areas but people are pretty courteous.

A dj keeps the event fun and loose.  He announced different people’s birthdays and tried to get the crowd excited.  He reminded me of the dj’s they used to have at roller skating rinks.

In addition to the skating rink, there are vendors selling a variety of goods from belts and clothing to novelty items.

The lighting and decor of the event is both tasteful yet festive.  Very often when people and businesses decorate for the holidays they overdo it.  I don’t think this was the case at Boston Winter (ok the tree with the spirals that light up may have been a bit much but I liked it!).

Below is a video of some of the skaters at Boston Winter.


Illuminate Thanksgiving (Plymouth, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 19, 2016

Location: Downtown Plymouth, MA (Water, Court and Main Streets)

Hours: 24 hours a day, everyday until the holidays

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: holiday decorations

Web Site: Illuminate Thanksgiving

Plymouth, MA, is beautiful enough on its own.  But, Plymouth during the holiday season is simply magical.

As part of their holiday season in Plymouth, MA, Plymouth 400, an organization which promotes the celebration of the upcoming 400th anniversary of the Plymouth Rock landing which will occur in 2020, helped illuminate Plymouth.

The festivities began with a celebration of some of the residents of Plymouth, MA and the surrounding area and some entertainment at the Hedges House on Water Street.  The entertainment consisted of interpretive dance, an acapella rendition of John Lennon’s song “Imagine” and a celebration of a family in Massachusetts who helped start a charity which helps buy cellphone minutes for soldiers overseas (Cellphones For Soldiers).

After the Plymouth 400 celebration, the city was aglow with holiday decorations (both Thanksgiving and Christmas).

I was a little disappointed at the lack of decorations and some of the decorations weren’t lit by the time we got there.  In fact, some of the better decorations were not on Main and Court Streets but off Water Street like these decorations at CabbyShack and The Tavern On The Wharf.

It is not a long walk to get from Court Street and Main Street.  Just walk straight on either street (Main Street becomes Court St and vice versa).  I was able to take a few photos of the holiday decorations on Main and Court Streets.  It still was enough to get me into the holiday spirit, although it pales in comparison to some of the other displays in New England.  At the same time, the scaled down decorations somehow gave it a more “small town” and tasteful feel to it which is also nice.  Let’s face it, some places can overdo it with the lights and decorations.

The decorations are still up and a few more have more than likely been added.  Plus, there is the annual Kiwanis Christmas Tree Lighting Friday, December 2 from 5:30 to 8 which will really get the city’s holiday season in gear.

I did see a cute dog at the Plymouth 400 celebration.  Tully, a 3 and a half month old Labrador, was in the holiday spirit!


Faneuil Hall (Boston, MA)

There may be nothing more  festive than the holidays in the city.  The city is so alive.  Lights illuminate the dark city streets.  Children gaze at all the trees and decorations.  Even adults get into the spirit of the season.  This was not more evident than at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

There are many statues and memorials at Faneuil Hall.  This statue of Samuel Adams stands in front of Quincy Market.  You can see some of the lights in the background.  There is so much to photograph in the area and I will include other shots from the area in a blog post another time.  I wanted to focus mainly on the holiday decorations and lights in this post.

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Trees are lit up throughout Faneuil Hall.

Stores and restaurants also decorate for the season.

The main attraction has to be the tree, though.  The lighting was not very good so I included a few different photos in the slideshow below.

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Some of the lights blinked, which was hard to get in the photos.  So, I have added a video below to show off the really cool display

 

 


Boston Common (Boston, MA)

The only thing missing from the holiday display at Boston Common is a fresh layer of snowy ground covering.

I’m still getting the hang of my long time nemesis: night time photography.  So, some photos are a bit grainy or blurry.

The Menorah was lit today (Sunday) as Hanukkah began today.  It was not lit during my visit Friday night.

Boston Common has become a family friendly spot for people of all ages to enjoy.  The Tadpole Playground is a fairly new addition to the Common.

The Frog Pond is iced over during the winter for skaters young and old, and of various skating ability.

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the zamboni’s coming right at us!

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More pretty decorations and lights

There’s not a shortage of things to get even the Scroogiest folks in the holiday spirit.

The Prudential Tower is visible from the Boston Common.  Each day in December they are lighting the top of the tower in the colors associated with a different charitable cause, as part of their 31 nights of lights.  The night I went they were recognizing the Catching Joy organization.  Lucky for us, the charity’s logo has a variety of colors in their name.  My photo is a little blurry but I am posting a video of the tower’s lights changing colors below.

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The State House, located just behind the Boston Common, is also decorated for the holiday.

Lilly and Cameron (left to right) were both in the holiday spirit

To get a better sense of the fun that can be had at Boston Common, especially this time of the year, click on the videos below.  Someone interrupted my video recording to ask for directions in the first video ( :