When I moved to Portsmouth, NH, the first holiday event I attended was the Candlelight Stroll. To this day, I remember the bonfire, the live music, hot apple cider, donuts, and houses decorated for the season. I have returned several times over the years and enjoy the evening more each time.
Held each year on the first three weekends in December, the grounds of the Strawbery Banke Museum are transformed by this annual holiday event. Throughout the months proceeding the Stroll, volunteers weave garlands made of flowers and leaves grown in the gardens of the Museum, dried and then transformed. Each building is decorated in accordance with the time and beliefs of the occupants. The Goodwin Mansion is decked out in the Victorian style we are most accustomed to with a fully trimmed tree, presents wrapped and a full dining room ready for guests. The Shapiro House is decorated for Hannakah and the barn reverberates with the sounds of live music.
The first year, I spent 45 minutes in the Pitt Tavern listening to harpsichord music and learning of the history of that instrument. At the Goodwin Mansion, role players explain the traditions of Victorian era holiday gatherings and talk about the scrumptious fare that would typically grace their table. After touring the houses, enjoy a horse-drawn ride before walking into downtown Portsmouth for a festive dinner.
The Stroll runs from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday nights and from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday nights. The Strolls will be on the weekends of December 1st, December 8th, and December 15th, 2012. Tickets can be purchased on line through the Museum’s website. Guests staying at the Martin Hill Inn can sign up for our Vintage Holiday Magic Package and enjoy the Stroll at a discount.