One town in New Hampshire really pulls out all the stops for Christmas with a month of events ranging from musical performances to ice skating.
Vintage Christmas once again showcases the magical Candlelight Stroll, now in its 44th year, 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 Christmas shopping.
Here are a few of this year’s events:
November 24 through December 30: 33rd Annual Gingerbread House Contest
Celebrate the sweetest season by joining Portsmouth Historical Society for the 33rd Annual Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibition. Gingerbread creations will be displayed at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center and throughout downtown in the windows of shops and restaurants. This year’s theme is “Portsmouth Past, Present and Future.” 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 a variety of Portsmouth retail locations.
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 closures and changes to their weekly schedule. The target opening date for the 2023-2024 season is November 24.
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.
December 2- 17: 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, Strawbery Banke returns to its classic tour of its furnished historic houses, featuring handmade decorations and costumed performers roleplaying as the families who once lived in the neighborhood’s houses.
The museum grounds glow with hundreds of lighted candle lanterns, and house doors and railings are adorned with live greens, dried flowers and herbs collected from the museum gardens. Visitors stroll along candlelit pathways, absorbing the season’s greetings of past and present.
Ticket prices for the Strawbery Banke Candlelight Stroll are $32 for adults and $16 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 Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
November 29- December 17: The Sound of Music
Don’t miss the magic of The Sound of Music this holiday season! This beloved classic tells the story of a problem named Maria, a governess for the von Trapp family, set against the backdrop of Austria at the beginning of World War II. Coming to The Music Hall stage for a limited time, the final collaboration between the acclaimed songwriting team Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein has become one of the world’s most cherished musicals, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
This heartwarming tale of love, family, and the resilience of the human spirit features some of the most unforgettable songs ever composed for the stage, including “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss,” “Do-Re-Mi,” and the iconic “The Sound of Music.” Join us for a breathtaking journey that will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired. Whether you’re a diehard fan or a newcomer, this timeless classic is sure to delight and enchant you.
Tickets prices vary. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St. Visit their website for tickets and more information.
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