Candlelight Stroll. (c) David Murray, Clear Eye Photo
Strawbery Banke Museum celebrates “Once Upon a Winter’s Eve” during the 34th annual Candlelight Stroll, December 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22, 2013. The event takes place from 5 to 9 pm on Saturdays and 4 to 8 pm on Sundays. Candlelight Stroll is generously supported by Bank of America, the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts, Lincoln Financial Group, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Amica Insurance, The Provident Bank, Newburyport Five Cents Savings, R.M. Davis, Inc, The Mark Wentworth Home, Kennebunk Savings, the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel, Darrell’s Music Hall, Bruce Mast & Associates, Inc., Northeast Credit Union, and Wentworth Greenhouses.
Showcasing 350 years of seasonal and holiday traditions against the backdrop of the Museum’s furnished historic houses. On these weekend evenings, the Museum grounds glow with hundreds of lighted candle lanterns, the houses are adorned with thousands of hand-made decorations crafted from live greens and dried flowers and herbs collected from the Museum gardens, and the air is filled with the sound of holiday music and scent of woodsmoke.
Visitors stroll from house to historic house, greeted by costumed role players and performers who recreate the traditions of times past, rediscovering the joys of simpler times. A toasty bonfire crackles throughout the event to warm frosty fingers and toes. Complimentary refreshments and hot apple cider are offered at the Cider Shed. The White Apron Café at Strawbery Banke offers light meals and serves a pub menu in Pitt Tavern — visited by George Washington, John Hancock, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Traditional hearth-cooking demonstrations, crafts demonstrations, and winter projects for kids provide interactive fun for multiple generations. “Candlelight Stroll is a cherished holiday tradition that offers a charming setting for children and adults to enjoy America’s multicultural holiday activities and customs,” said Strawbery Banke Museum president and CEO Lawrence J. Yerdon. “Candlelight Stroll is a magical event at an enchanting time of year. We are delighted to anchor the city-wide Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth celebration with this authentic and unique experience.”
Highlights this Year
The theme for this year’s Candlelight Stroll is “Once Upon A Winter’s Eve” and visitors will experience a variety of holiday preparations across cultures and across time:
ALDRICH HOUSE — 1908 Pineapples & Posies with Mrs. Lillian Aldrich
CHASE HOUSE — 1818 A Mid-Winter Wedding
GOODWIN MANSION — 1870 T’was the Night Before Christmas
MARDEN-ABBOTT HOUSE & STORE — 1943 Dreaming of a White Christmas
SHAPIRO HOUSE — 1919 Fourth Night of Hanukkah
SHAPLEY-DRISCO HOUSE — 1795 Snowy Days on Puddle Dock and a 1958 Holiday Avon Party.
— Live music, cookies & hot cider at the Cider Shed.
— Horse drawn carriage rides
— bundle up on Puddle Dock and enjoy this age-old tradition.
— Families learn wreath-making and create handmade holiday decorations in the Jones House.
— Savor 18th century holiday hearth cooking and tinsmith crafting handmade lanterns and tin star ornaments in the Wheelwright House.
Tickets and Other Information
Avoid lines by purchasing tickets in advance! Tickets can be purchased in advance in person at the Strawbery Banke Visitors Center at 14 Hancock Street up to the date of the event. Advance tickets may also be purchased online at www.strawberybanke.org starting November 1st. Tickets are $22/adults, $11/children (ages 5-17), and $55/family. Group and corporate rates are available. November discount: $2 off the ticket price on all tickets purchased by November 30, 2013.
Visitors who are concerned about parking for this popular event can enjoy all that Portsmouth has to offer hassle free with the FREE Vintage Christmas trolley connecting Strawbery Banke Museum, The Music Hall, the municipal parking garage on Hanover Street, and numerous free satellite parking areas. The trolley is generously provided by the City of Portsmouth as part of a Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth. The Vintage Christmas collaboration aims to highlight the rich seasonal programs of Strawbery Banke Museum and The Music Hall, and is the result of a fruitful collaboration among the City of Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke Museum, The Music Hall, the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, and local hotels and retail shops.
“If another city does a better job of celebrating Christmas, I have yet to find it.” – Yankee Magazine
“One of the ‘Top Ten Things Not to Miss in New England’” – Boston Globe
Plan the perfect holiday visit now!
It’s time to make plans now for the perfect holiday visit during Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth throughout the entire month of December 2012. Presented by cultural anchors Strawbery Banke Museum and The Music Hall, it’s a month of Strolls, Shows and Stayovers in the historic working seaport of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Listed as “one of the Top 100 Events in North America” (ABA) and “one of the Top Ten Things not to miss in New England” (Boston Globe), Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth has people returning year after year to the small city that Travel Guide of America calls “the crowning glory of the New Hampshire Seacoast.” Now in its eighth year, Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth will once again offer the irresistible Candlelight Stroll that Strawbery Banke Museum has created for 32 years, the live holiday shows, opera broadcasts and films in The Music Hall’s landmark Historic Theater and the intimate Music Hall Loft on Congress Street, and the welcoming stays in the elegant and delightful holiday downtown. Get ready to cuddle up with a free trolley ride through red-bricked Market Square, stroll through the snowflakes to the many eclectic shops, step back in time through living history at the festively decorated Strawbery Banke Museum, sample Portsmouth’s famous culinary specialties, or enjoy a first-class show at The Music Hall. Back by popular demand – the free Vintage Christmas Trolley shuttles patrons around the historic seaport each Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening for the first three weekends in December.
According to Patricia Lynch, executive director of The Music Hall, “Portsmouth is the perfect town for Vintage Christmas since it’s a charming mix of the contemporary and historical. It’s all about celebrating the winter, the warmth, the light, and our collective memories of holidays past. The Music Hall, with its landmark Victorian theater (one of the prettiest theaters in America!) is also the most popular New Hampshire performing arts center recognized nationally for its programming and Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is no exception. Expect lavish decorations in the both the Historic Theater and the chic new Loft, top flight comedians spoofing the holidays, great holiday music from legends like Natalie MacMaster, literary events, and of course magical holiday treats. When I created Vintage Christmas back in 2005 and approached our partner Strawbery Banke Museum, I envisioned that Portsmouth could become the Christmas Capital of North America, and well 2012, here we are!”
Joining the two nonprofits this year will be Presenting Sponsors Churchill’s Garden Center; the City of Portsmouth; Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce; Seacoast Media Group; and The White Apron. Lead Sponsors include Holloway Automotive; Seacoast Local; and Weather Partner 107.1 WERZ. Great Bay Academy of Dance, which produces An 1836 Portsmouth Nutcracker at The Music Hall’s Historic Theater, will be participating as a Community Partner. A handy calendar/map will be available to visitors to make it easy to get around town. Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth also has its own website, VintageChristmasNH.org to make it even easier for visitors to plan their trips. The map/calendar will also be available on the site to download.
Back by popular demand: City provides free Vintage Christmas Trolley
The free city trolley is wildly successful. Patrons use it to not only ferry themselves from free parking lots to the center of town, between The Music Hall and Strawbery Banke Museum, but also to give themselves a brief overview of what Portsmouth has to offer. The trolley’s scheduled route – to run the first three weekends of December on Saturday and Sunday from 1:30-10:30pm – is a quick 20-minute loop with several stops to jump on/off for shopping, and to get a bite to eat and drink. Day visitors will be able to park at various lots around town and jump on the trolley, while overnight visitors in downtown hotels will be able to walk to convenient trolley stops.
Strawbery Banke Museum visitors tour Portsmouth’s oldest neighborhood
The holiday decorations, vignettes and role-players at Strawbery Banke Museum’s Candlelight Stroll (Dec 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 14 & 15; 5-9 pm on Saturdays and 4-8 pm on Sundays) are designed to carry visitors into holiday lives from the past as the 10-acre museum and its 40 historic buildings recreate December through the centuries in the Portsmouth neighborhood of Puddle Dock. Visitors are welcomed into the 1919 Russian Jewish kitchen of Mrs. Shapiro as she prepares the Hanukah celebration. The 18th century night watchman stops to warm himself in front of the bonfire. The wagon drawn by a winter-furry farm horse, Doc, makes the rounds along the dirt lanes lined with the flickering wood-and-glass candle lanterns that are the signature of Candlelight Stroll. New this year, the tiny white lights that outline the grounds and the electric candles in the windows will remain on each night throughout December – not just on the weekends of Stroll. The holiday decorations in each house, including the family Christmas tree in all its Victorian glory in the front parlor of the Goodwin Mansion will be showcased during holiday house tours the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Beyond the Candlelight Stroll, there will be Holiday House Tours December 26-30. Candlelight Stroll tickets are on sale now on the website, strawberybanke.org
About the Music Hall’s two theaters
Historic Theater: Step over the threshold of this landmark Victorian theater – the oldest in New Hampshire – and into the Beaux Arts Founders Lobby featuring superlative patron amenities. Upstairs, the newly renovated upper lobby leads into the elegant 900-seat auditorium – now restored to its 1878 splendor – has welcomed artists ranging from Mark Twain to Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Patrons greet friends and neighbors in this community great room, a gathering place for conversation on a site dating back to the days of Frederick Douglass. The original hardwood floor and horseshoe balcony ensure superior acoustics for stage and screen events. Full concessions are available in both lobbies. Just around the corner from the Historic Theater, the Music Hall Loft features the same fabulous programming, but in a smaller more intimate (125-seat) setting, with gourmet food and cocktails that can be taken right to each seat.
Tickets for all Music Hall holiday shows can be purchased at The Music Hall box office at the Historic Theater (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth), on the phone at 603.436.2400, or online at http://www.themusichall.org
Ticket prices for Strawbery Banke Museums’ Candlelight Stroll are $20 for adults, $10 for children, and $50 for families (2 adults and their children ages 17 and under). Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.strawberybanke.org or by phone at 603.433.1107. Tickets may be used any night of the Stroll.
About Strawbery Banke Museum
Connect with the Past! See how people in the Puddle Dock neighborhood of Portsmouth lived over nearly 400 years of New England history. Through restored furnished houses, exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens, and costumed role players, Strawbery Banke interprets the living history of generations who settled in Portsmouth, NH from the late 17th century to the mid 20th century on its 10-acre campus. Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH is open 10am-5pm daily May through October and for Candlelight Stroll and historic house holiday tours in December. Call 603-433-1100 for more information or visit: http://www.strawberybanke.org
About The Music Hall
The Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus – one, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, the other the intimate Music Hall Loft around the corner, recently named “best performing arts venue” by Yankee Magazine and the recipient of the NH AIA award for design excellence. Acclaimed signature series bring top authors and artists to both stages, while HD broadcasts and independent film fill both screens. A radio show broadcast on NH Public Radio originates here. This dynamic arts center urges patrons to Explore + Learn via master classes, post film panel discussions, and matinees for children. An anchor cultural organization in this historic working seaport, The Music Hall is one of downtown Portsmouth’s biggest employers and largest contributors to the regional economy: The Music Hall and its patrons contribute $7 million annually to the local economy through show and visitor related spending. Innovative in its outlook, the organization is community oriented and committed to making the Seacoast flourish. The Music Hall is 501c3 nonprofit managed by a professional staff with the assistance of a volunteer board. Though global in the scope of its artists and programs, The Music Hall operates independently with the support of 3,000 members, 300 business supporters and 40 community partners. Welcoming more than 100,000 patrons (including 20,000 children) each year from the tri-state area and beyond, The Music Hall is the region’s center for the performing arts, literature and education…easy to get to, impossible to forget. http://www.themusichall.org
“the beating cultural heart of New Hampshire’s seacoast” – Boston Globe