HOLIDAY EVENTS AND
FESTIVITIES IN CONNECTICUT ~ A SEASONAL NEW ENGLAND CLASSIC ~
December Activities Lure Travelers
Quintessential, New England Holiday Experience
HARTFORD, CT, November 5, 2004 - As captured in classic films
like "Christmas in Connecticut," the holiday season in Connecticut
conjures New England images of sleigh rides, crackling fireplaces and families
choosing their own Spruce Christmas tree. This holiday season, Connecticut
offers a diverse range of events for families and friends seeking to capture the
holiday spirit. A sampling of this year's holiday activities - located only a
short drive away - includes:
24th Annual Christmas Town Festival -
Travelers in search of an old-fashioned Christmas celebration can venture to
the town of Bethlehem - in Connecticut - which features a tree lighting
ceremony, arrival of Santa Claus, hayrides, musical performances, arts and
crafts, and a candlelight procession and re-enactment of Mary and Joseph
looking for shelter. In addition, visitors who mail their Christmas cards
from the Bethlehem Post Office will get a special Christmas Cache on the
envelopes and will receive a special edition pewter Bethlehem Christmas
The Annual Christmas Town Festival will run December 3-4. On Saturday,
December 3, the festival will run from 5:00 - 10:00 p.m. and Sunday,
December 4 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more
information, call (203) 266-5557.
North Pole Express on the Essex Steam Train -
What a better way to enjoy the holiday lights than by boarding a steam train
and sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies while listening to a reading of
holiday stories. During the one-hour train ride, guests can also take
pleasure in the spectacular light displays in the backyards of homes along
the route. The ride ends with Santa Claus making an appearance on the train
and bringing a gift for each child.
The North Pole Express will run December 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 and
Departures are scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Cost is $20 for adults,
$15 for children under 12, and children under one get in free. Reservations
are strongly recommended. For more information and to make reservations,
call (860) 767-0103 or (800) 377-3987.
A Lighthouse Keeper's Christmas, Henry Whitfield State
Museum - Guilford, CT
Travelers can take a step back into time for a Victorian evening of
Christmas cheer and experience a distinctive re-enactment of lighthouse
keepers and their families by costumed interpreters as it was celebrated in
the 1800s. Built in 1639 and recognized as Connecticut's oldest house, the
Henry Whitfield House and State Museum will provide mulled cider and
refreshments around an outdoor fire. In addition to the re-enactment,
visitors can enjoy a self-guided tour of the home, which includes the
current Bicentennial Beacon: Faulkner's Island Lighthouse, 1802-2002
exhibit, which has inspired this unique holiday celebration. In addition to
the lighthouse exhibit, families can enjoy the Feast, Famine & Fables:
The Real Story of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Winter in Puritan New England
exhibit, which explores the history and myths surrounding the seasons.
Date: Friday, December 3. Hours are 5:00 - 9:00 p.m., and admission is $3.50
for adults, $2.50 for seniors and students and $2.00 for children ages 6-17.
For more information, call (203) 453-2457.
27th Annual Lantern Light Tours,
Mystic Seaport - Mystic, CT
Families can immerse themselves in a tale of magic, merriment and the
mystery of Christmas Eve as they search for the elusive, jolly old Saint
Nick. Costumed characters will lead visitors through a festive holiday
village, as it was in 1876, and invite them to kick-up their heels in a
tavern dance and visit with the colorful locals and sailors in port for the
Also, new this year, is Family Night on December 9. On this night, in
addition to the tour, families can make their own ornaments and visit with
Seventy-minute tours are available December 3-5, 9-12 and 16-20, leaving
every 15 minutes beginning at 5:00 p.m., with the last tour departing at
9:15 p.m. (Due to the length, the tour is not recommended for children under
the age of four). Tours are wheelchair accessible and, on December 5, at
5:30, 7:00 and 8:30 p.m., an interpreted sign language tour is available.
Tickets are $25 for adults; $18 for kids (ages 4-18). For more information
or to purchase tickets, call (888) 973-2767. For Friday and Saturday tours,
reservations are strongly recommended.
Santa's Workshop -
Children won't have to travel to the North Pole to check out Santa's
workshop this year. Families will actually have the opportunity to visit
with Santa and Mrs. Claus at his satellite workshop in Connecticut. In
addition to spending time with Santa, children will have the opportunity to
watch busy elves making the toys, enjoy refreshments in a log cabin with
decorations, music and a roaring fire in a great stone fireplace.
Admission is free, and the village will be opened at Wickham Park on
December 11-12 and December 15-23 from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Mon.-Fri and 1:00
- 5:00 p.m. on Sat.-Sun. For more information, call (860) 528-0856 or visit www.wickhampark.org.
37th Annual Gingerbread Village and Christmas Bazaar -
For visitors seeking a holiday festivity that brings to mind warm baked
goods and crafts, the 37th Annual Gingerbread Village and Christmas Bazaar
is good reason to venture up to the Northwest corner of Connecticut. The
Village will consist of 50 to 60 gingerbread houses, along with other
holiday scenes that are completely edible. Houses will be available for
purchase and will be on view throughout the entire week.
Admission is free, and the village will be opened at St. George's Church
December 4-11. Please call for times at (203) 758-9557 or (203) 758-2165.
Holiday Tours, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum -
Visitors can experience the holidays through the centuries with Holiday
Tours at the Webb-Deans-Stevens
Museum, which promotes understanding of
colonial life in the lower Connecticut River Valley through the preservation
and interpretation of the Joseph Webb, Silas Deane and Isaac Stevens homes.
This year's holiday tours allow visitors to walk through the homes, each
representing a distinct holiday tradition: Colonial Thanksgiving, Christmas
in the 1840s and Christmas in 1925.
The Holiday Tours will run Saturdays and Sundays December 1-31 from 10:00
a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for children
and kids under age 5 get in free. For more information, call (860) 529-0612.
For travelers staying overnight in Connecticut this holiday
season, great getaway packages and values in Connecticut can be found through
the Connecticut Commission of Culture and Tourism's web site at www.ctbound.org
and by clicking onto Specials. With one simple click, a list appears
highlighting some of the hottest deals around the state. All essential
information - including a description of the package, dates of availability and
contact information - is clearly outlined, plus some direct links are provided
to each individual property and attraction mentioned in the package. For
suggested itineraries already created by the state log onto www.ctbound.org
and select from one of the 52
Getaways. For other holiday activities, travelers can
also click onto the Events section of the web site.
# # #
Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism
Tel: (860) 256-2800
"So I'm a Yankee...Why I could make anything a body wanted...and if there wasn't any quick new-fangled way to make a thing, I could invent one."
Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
- Locks and clocks were big business in Connecticut in the Industrial Revolution and you can see the largest collections of both on this getaway. The Lock Museum of America, I-84 Exit 38 in Terryville has 22,000 items tracing the history of the American lock industry.
- American production clocks fill the rooms of the American Clock & Watch Museum, off Rte. 6 in Bristol.
- Then head south to Cheshire and visit