One town in New Hampshire really pulls out all the stops for Christmas with a month of events that range from musical performances to ice skating.
Vintage Christmas once again showcases the magical Candlelight Stroll, now in its 42nd year and outdoor only, at Strawbery Banke Museum and live small gathering holiday shows at The Music Hall’s landmark Historic Theater and the intimate Music Hall Loft on Congress Street. It all takes place in elegant and festive downtown Portsmouth, which also happens to have some excellent independent stores for socially distanced Christmas shopping. (Don’t forget your mask!)
Here are a few of this year’s events:
November 26-December 22: 31st Annual Gingerbread House Contest
Celebrate the sweetest season by joining Portsmouth Historical Society for the 31st Annual Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibition. This year, gingerbread creations are on display both at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center and throughout downtown in the windows of shops and restaurants. Vote for your favorite designs in the People’s Choice awards and participate in a downtown scavenger hunt with a chance to win a gift card to Cure or the Roundabout Diner.
Every day in December: Labrie Family Skate
The entire family will love skating at Strawbery Banke’s Puddle Dock Pond, a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink at the heart of the 10-acre living history museum. Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke opens in late November/early December (weather permitting) and will be in full operation seven days a week. Make sure to check their Facebook page for COVID-19 protocols, closures and changes to their weekly schedule.
Puddle Dock Pond offers 12,500 square feet of professionally maintained ice surface combining an 80-by-125-foot oval and a 60-foot diameter circle, all surrounded by a post and rail fence. A seasonal pavilion houses ticketing and skate rentals. Puddle Dock Pond offers public skating (including several free sessions each week) and skating lessons for all ages. Skate rentals, sharpening services and private pond rentals are available. For details, schedules and more information, visit puddledockpond.org.
December 4-5, 11-12, 18-19: The Candlelight Stroll
In the spirit of a truly Vintage Christmas, Strawbery Banke Museum welcomes visitors to travel through over 300 years of daily life in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. This year, due to the pandemic, Strawbery Banke presents “Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars,” focusing on the lights, wreaths, role players and holiday magic on the exteriors of the museum’s historic buildings.
The museum grounds glow with hundreds of lighted candle lanterns, and house doors and railings are adorned with handmade decorations crafted from live greens, dried flowers and herbs collected from the museum gardens. Visitors stroll along candlelit pathways and are greeted along the way by costumed role players and performers who recreate the traditions of times past.
Ticket prices for the Strawbery Banke Candlelight Stroll are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets can be purchased online at strawberybanke.org or by phone at (603) 433-1107. All tickets MUST be purchased in advance. Tours are on Saturdays from 5-9 p.m. and Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m.
December 26-28: Juston McKinney’s Last Laugh 2021
End the year with laughter as the Seacoast’s own Juston McKinney performs three hilarious nights at The Music Hall. He has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Conan O’Brien” and has two Comedy Central specials including his own one-hour special. He has also been named Best Comedian of NH by New Hampshire Magazine. Have the last laugh of 2021 with Juston as he dishes on New England life and looks back at the year that was. Tickets are $27-$34. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St. See the website for tickets and more information.
Want even more Vintage Christmas information and events? Click here for a complete schedule and more information.