Tag Archives: Christmas

Boston Christmas Festival (Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA)

Date Of Event: November 2-4, 2018

Location: Seaport World Trade Center, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA

Hours: Friday: Noon-7pm, Saturday: 10 am-6 pm, Sunday: 10 am-5 pm

Cost: $14 per person, kids under 14 get in for free

Parking/Public Transportation:

  • Seaport Hotel Parking Lot – Sat/Sun = $22 special event parking (flat fee). 200 Seaport Blvd – 4 entrances one on each side of the block across the street from the Boston Christmas Festival. Friday hourly rates apply
  • 391 Congress St – Friday = $24 Saturday and Sunday = $15 per space
  • SBWTC (South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center) brand new garage – $38 max. Use World Trade Center ramp to walk to Festival

You can also get there by taking the Red Line on the MBTA to South Station and taking the SL 3 (Chelsea) train on the Silver Line to the World Trade Center stop.  The World Trade Center is across the street from the train station on WTC Ave

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Service dogs may be allowed

Website: Boston Christmas Festival

Highlights: gingerbread houses, over 350 vendors, cafe, family friendly activities

Tips: you can buy tickets in advance of the  website, Fridays are usually the least crowded days to visit, there is a coat check available at the event

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After so many Halloween celebrations, the Christmas spirit is in the air.  To kick off the official holiday spirit, the Seaport World Trade Center held their 32nd annual Boston Christmas Festival.

The festival is usually held annually the first weekend of November.  Besides the various vendors, the festival also features a Gingerbread house contest.

This Gingerbread Ship won Most Creative.

This house won the Kid’s Choice award.

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I liked this one best.  It won “Most Tasty.”  You can’t go wrong with that!

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This house won for best decoration.

And, this wintry display won Best In Show.

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Of course, the biggest part of the festival are the shops.  With over 350 vendors, there was something for everyone.

There’s nothing like colorful wreaths and trees to get you into the spirit.

The best time to visit the event, in terms of crowds, is Friday (preferable when it begins at noon time on Friday) or early on Saturday and Sunday, although I have remembered walking past the World Trade Center last year during this festival and seeing people waiting outside to get in before the doors opened.  Many people were either still at work or more interested in getting home on a Friday night.  The festival was actually pretty quiet and I did not have to wait in line to get in.  There was lots of room to roam around during my visit.  These aisles were surely more packed on Saturday and Sunday.

I particularly liked the wooden decorative displays at Wired Primitives.  Based out of Auburn, MA, Wired Primitives uses pine to make these displays.  They are all hand made and each piece is hand drawn and made by Beth, the owner of the company.

Another cute shop was this vendor who makes all of the outer shells of her ornaments out of egg shells.

The ladies at One Simple Chick have some home made wreaths and other holiday items.

We’ll be needing these soon enough.  In fact, I’m pretty sure some of us New Englanders have already used them.

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Kathleen at Holiday House Treasures makes seasonal figurines,

Lynne at  Garden Treasures Designs  makes floral arrangements for weddings as well as arrangements and decorative items for the holidays.

Pauline at Country Snowmen and Friends makes all of her holiday decorations by hand.  Her shop is located in Portsmouth, NH.

These holiday goods are made out of re-purposed or “up purposed” items.

Some of the vendors and shoppers got in the holiday spirit.

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Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like illuminated hats!  I purposefully underexposed this photo (yeah, I did it on purpose, sure let’s go with that) to show off the lights on these hats.

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This vendor was dressed for the season.  He told me he was planning on wearing a different holiday themed suit for each day of the festival.

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I saw so many people dressed with antler headwear and other holiday headwear.  I love the snowman hat in this photo!

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Although it may be too late to attend the festival this year, this annual event occurs every year at the World Trade Center in Boston.  See you there next year!


27th Annual Gingerbread House Contest (Portsmouth, NH)

Date Of Visit: December 17, 2017

Location: Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street
Portsmouth NH 03801

Hours: Open March 18, through December 23, 2017, 9:30-5, Daily and First Fridays until 8pm for Art ‘Round Town

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking lots in the Portsmouth area.  The closest lot to the exhibit is on Bridge St (enter 1 Bridge St in your GPS).  It is literally across the street from Discover Portsmouth

Handicapped Accessible:

Website:2017 Gingerbread Houses

Highlights: Gingerbread houses

Tips:

  • The Gingerbread Houses are on display from Dec.1 until Dec. 23 each year
  • Most parking lots in the area don’t start charging until 12 p.m. on Sunday, although you can park there by 9 or 10 and park for free until noon time

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Each Christmas the Portsmouth Historical Society sponsors a Gingerbread House competition.  Besides being delicious looking, the gingerbread houses on display

The houses ranged from the elaborate to basic.  Most of the houses were created by children.  But there were some adult, non profit, business and family entries as well.

Some of the gingerbread houses already had winning ribbons on them.

Below are all of the gingerbread houses on display before Christmas.  They are no longer on display, at least not until next year’s competition.

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St. Nichols – Family Entry

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The Candy Factory – Youth Group

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Candy Factory Restaurant – Youth Group

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The Ox Cart Man _ Youth Group

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Candy Land – Family Entry

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Winter Lighthouse – Youth Group entry

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Holiday Lighthouse – Youth Group entry

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The Holiday barn – Youth group entry

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The Yummy House _ Youth Group entry

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John Paul Jones House (a replica of the landmark house on the same street as the historical society) – Adult Entry

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The Ice House – Adult Entry

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Cottage Christmas – Youth Group entry

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Lost In The Snow – Family Entry

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Montessori Magic On Dover’s 6th Street – Adult Entry

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Home Sweet Home – Youth Group

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Surf Shop – Youth Group Entry

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Candyland Palace – Youth Group

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The Skating Snowflake Lodge – Youth Group

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The Year Santa Got Stuck – Adult Entry

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Frozen Wonderland – Family Entry

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Day After The Storm – Youth Group

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Fisher Cat Express – Youth Group

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We Fish You A Merry Xmas – Family Entry

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Panda Christmas – Family Entry

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The Elves Garden – Youth Group

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The Island Villa – Youth Group

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Cindy Lou Who Gets An IPhone – Adult Entry

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Gingerbread Council – Organization Entry

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Gingerbread Mouse – Family Entry

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The Moffatt-Ladd House – Business Entry

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Bright Lights And Nothing But Blue Skies

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Stained Glass Cathedral – Adult Entry

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The Winter House – Youth Group

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The Christmas Barn – Youth Group

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Winter Camping – Youth Group

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Easy Peasy Winter Breezy – Youth Group

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Mushroom Castle – Youth Group

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Snowy Cottage – Youth Group

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Winter In Paradise Falls – Youth Group

The Ginga Ninja’s of New Castle – Youth Group

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Sweet Holiday – Adult Entry

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Madi’s House – Youth Group

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Harborside Christmas – Youth Group

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Candy Village – Family Entry

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Bunny School – Youth Group

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Snowy Land Stadium – Youth Group

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Arrested For Breaking And Entering – Adult Entry

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Winter House – Youth Group

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Pink Wonderland – Youth Group

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Santa’s Snow Coaster – Family Entry

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The Lonely Lodge – Youth Group

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Winter Wonderland – Youth Group

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Sweet Shack – Youth Group

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Christmas In Gillette – Business Entry

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Emmet’s House – Youth Group

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The Candy House – Family Entry

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Celebrating Together Because Families Come First – Nonprofit Entry

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Halloween Hut – Youth Group

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Elf Village _ Youth Group

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Hansel & Gretel’s Mansion – Youth Group

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Hurricane Irma – Youth Group

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Troop Club House – Youth Group

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Snowmobile – Youth Group

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The House Of Candy Past – Family Entry

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California Garden – Family Entry

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The Three Disney Eers – Youth Group

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Fort Constitution – Youth Group

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Hoping For A White Christmas (and their wish came true) – Family Entry

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Temple Israel In Honor Of Rabbi Senter – Adult Entry

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The Village – Youth Group

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Santa’s Coming – Adult Entry

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Castle Byers – Youth Group

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Christmas House – Youth Group

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The Babysitting Palace – Youth Group

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Merrily We Go Around – Business/Non-Profit Entry

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Little Harbor Chapel – Adult Entry

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Polar Pond – Youth Group

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Igloo Oasis – Youth Group

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The Crusher – Youth Group

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Meowy Christmas – Family Entry

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Cutts Mansion – Adult Entry

Looking at all of those gingerbread houses can make you hungry.  Not to worry.  The historical society has your back.  Cans of loose candy are scattered throughout the displays.

The historical society was decorated tastefully for the holiday event.

After viewing the gingerbread houses, visitors were given the opportunity to build their own gingerbread houses on the second floor of the historical society.

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Which gingerbread house(s) did you like best?

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a very happy and successful 2018!


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 ( :


Nubble Lighthouse Holiday Lights (York, ME)

 

Dates Of Event: November 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017 (photos are from my visit on December 10, 2016)

Location: 11 Sohier Pard Rd, York, ME

Hours: from dusk (roughly 4:30 EST) until midnight

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking area for about 20-30 vehicles and adeparate parking lot for about 10 cars nearby

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: Nubble Lighthouse decorated and lit up for the holidays.

Each year the Nubble Lighthouse (also known as Cape Neddick Lighthouse) is lit up

The annual lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse is a big event.  The annual lighting begins each holiday season on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Santa makes a visit, the fire department stops by to let the children check out their trucks and a bus shuttles people back and forth from Ellis Park to Sohier Park.  Yes, they take their lighthouse lightings pretty seriously in York.

Interestingly, this isn’t the only time of the year the lighthouse is decorated with lights.  In July of each year the lighthouse is lit up as part of their “Christmas In July” celebration.  So, if you miss this viewing you only have to wait 7 more months.

We started the viewing of the lighthouse with the last stages of yet another beautiful Maine sunset.

It was a bitterly cold night at Sohier Park with temperatures in the teens and 20’s and a wind chill making it feel about 10 degrees colder.  So, in between visits to the car to thaw out, I was able to take photos of the lighthouse at various stages.  If you look closely, you may see a drone that a visitor was flying by the lighthouse, presumably for video footage.  Also, you can see a Christmas tree through one of the windows in some of the photos.

Below is a video of the lighthouse lit up.  I had only been there about an hour when I videotaped the lighthouse.  But, darkness comes quickly in this part of New England.  So, the video doesn’t look great.  It actually looks kind of spooky.


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!


Yankee Candle Village (Deerfield, MA)

Date visited: December 23, 2015

Every year during the holidays, I make my annual trip to Yankee Candle Village in Deerfield, MA.

 

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The flagship shop of New England, the Yankee Candle Village is known for his decorative and at times eccentric displays.  But, during the holidays they go the extra mile.

From the moment you walk onto the property, the Yankee Candle Village welcomes you with holiday cheer and some unique decorations.

Inside the store, there is an assortment of holiday decorations and not just holiday decorations.  Wizard of Oz statues, model cars and other displays can be found throughout the shop.

There are Christmas trees galore.  Every where you look it seems there is a tree decorated in a unique way.

 

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There are also Christmas village light up displays located in one room.  They also have a Halloween village set up.

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There is also a stream with koi fish

Try as we might, we could not find Santa.  He wasn’t at his regular place

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He wasn’t at his desk either

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Finally, I found him in the shopping area

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There is also an area where customers can make their own candles with the colors and scents they choose.  They can also have a candle made in the form of their hands whether it be a fist, peace sign or index finger extended (no middle fingers allowed)

 

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There is also a fountain in the shopping area and a mechanized band that plays for the children.  It looks kinda creepy to me, though.

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As I left the shop and day turned into night, the lights from the trees and decorations outside lit up the area.  It was raining pretty hard so some of the images produced spots that almost look like snow.  Sadly, it was only raindrops.  There will not be any snow on Christmas for us this year.

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There are also many automated attractions at the shop.  For instance, in the front of the store there is a toy train that runs along the wall.

Every 4 minutes, it “snows” at the Snowplace Factory in the North Pole of the store.

 

To get a full appreciation of the light display, I am including a short video showing off all the lights outside the store.


The Elms (Newport, RI)

Holidays and mansions.  Sounds like a pretty good combination to me.  That is what the folks at  the Newport mansions are offering all their patrons.  As part of the holiday season, the Newport mansions have been decorated for the season.  The $29 tour includes 3 of the mansions (The Elms, The Breakers and The Marbles).  But, I was only able to see The Elms Mansion.

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The mansions aren’t the only ornate buildings in the area.  Some of the homes in the area are very pretty as well.  Before you arrive at the mansions, you can peak at the pretty houses in the neighborhood.

When you enter the mansions, you are given an audio player with headphones to use as part of the self guided audio tour.  Indoor photography is limited to certain rooms (usually they don’t allow photography at all in the mansions but they relaxed their policy slightly for the holiday tours).  I might have sneaked in a few more photos from the rooms that weren’t authorized for picture taking.  It’s actually kind of a good thing that they limit photography because you could easily be inundated with things to photograph.  One room seemed more beautiful or interesting then the previous room.

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Photo taking is allowed on the exteriors of the mansions and the grounds of the buildings.

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The mansions are available for tours throughout the year.  So, if you can’t make it there during the holiday try going another time when it is less busy.  If you go to the holiday mansion tour, it is only during daylight hours.  Parking can be difficult, especially if you arrive later in the day.  But, you should be able to find parking somewhere in the area if you can’t find a spot in the parking lots at the mansions.