Best Historic Christmas Celebrations in New England
In a region as rich in history as New England, taking a trip to the Christmas past is easy, and doesn’t require help (or a visit) from any Dickensian spirits. If you’re feeling historically festive, you can head to one of the region’s many terrific living history museums for special holiday programs, or tour a historic house or two for examples of Christmas decor and style from different eras of New England history.
Here are some of our favorite places to experience the best historic Christmas celebrations in New England. If we missed yours, please share it in the comments section!
Christmas by Candlelight | Old Sturbridge Village – Sturbridge, MA
Taking place each weekend in December leading up to Christmas, Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village whisks you back to New England during the early 1800′s. Admission includes sleigh rides, Victorian carolers, Christmas readings, gingerbread and mulled cider samples, a re-creation of Mrs. Cratchit’s Christmas dinner, musical performances, the chance to vote in the annual gingerbread house contest, and so much more!
BONUS! See our “Explore New England” post on Old Sturbridge Village | A Christmas by Candlelight Celebration
Lantern Light Tours | Mystic Seaport – Mystic, CT
Taking place throughout December, Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport offer a glimpse of Christmas Eve in 1876. Seasonal delights include a traditional tavern dance, a horse-drawn carriage ride and the glow of hundreds of lanterns, not to mention the possibility of a visit from jolly St. Nick himself!
Christmas at the Newport Mansions | Newport Mansions – Newport, RI
Taking place from late November through early January. Prepare to be sparkled and dazzled as you tour three of the magnificent Newport Mansions (The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House) decked out in Gilded Age Yuletide finery, including thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens, wreaths, and more than 20 Christmas trees. At The Breakers, don’t miss the gingerbread mansion display in the kitchen or the iconic 15 foot tall red poinsettia tree.
Christmas at Victoria Mansion | Victoria Mansion – Portland, ME
Taking place from late November through early January. Explore one of New England’s finest 19th century mansions decked out in glittering holiday finery. Each year a team of local designers get to work decorating each room to complement the year’s theme. Tours are self-guided, and the mansion also hosts a roster of special holiday events throughout the season.
Christmas at the Farm | Billings Farm & Museum – Woodstock, VT
Taking place each weekend in December leading up to Christmas. Discover the traditions of a 19th century Vermont farm Christmas, complete with horse-drawn sleigh and wagon rides, farmhouse tours, and the chance to make special Christmas crafts. Each weekend offers something new.
Candlelight Stroll | Strawberry Banke Museum – Portsmouth, NH
Taking place each weekend in December leading up to Christmas. Stroll through life in a simpler time as 350 years of American history, winter traditions, and holiday celebrations unfolds around you in the state’s oldest waterfront neighborhood. Activities include historic house tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, traditional barrel making demonstrations, 18th century holiday hearth cooking, tinsmith demonstrations, and more.