Road Trip

These six towns are brim­ming with old-fash­ioned Christ­mas spirit.

Country - - CONTENTS - LORI VANOVER SE­NIOR ED­I­TOR

1 MANISTEE, MICHI­GAN

Travel back in time dur­ing the 30th an­nual Old Christ­mas Week­end on Dec. 6-9 in the fes­tively dec­o­rated down­town. The high­light is the Vic­to­rian Sleigh­bell Pa­rade, in which a team of draft horses pulls a 30-foot Christ­mas tree down River Street. Af­ter the pa­rade, gather for car­ol­ing and the light­ing of the tree. Other can’t-miss spec­ta­cles in­clude a dis­play of Vic­to­rian-era hol­i­day items, a meet-and-greet with Dr. Seuss char­ac­ter the Grinch, and a Fes­ti­val of Trees. man­is­teesleigh­bell­pa­rade.com

2 FREDERICKSBURG, TEXAS

A month­long hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tion blends Old World Ger­man Christ­mas tra­di­tions and Texas hos­pi­tal­ity. Shop along the glow­ing Main Street Mark­t­platz, which fea­tures a hand­carved 26-foot Christ­mas pyra­mid and an out­door ice-skat­ing rink. On Dec. 7 watch the Light the Night Christ­mas Pa­rade, and on Dec. 8 bring the lit­tle ones to Kin­der­fest, a chil­dren’s fes­ti­val, at the Pi­o­neer Mu­seum. Or visit the drive-through Na­tiv­ity at Bethany Lutheran Church on Dec. 14 and 15. vis­it­fred­er­icks­burgtx.com

3 BED­FORD, OHIO

This hol­i­day sea­son, visit a place in touch with Christ­mas in the 1940s. On the af­ter­noon of Dec. 8, the city trans­forms into the iconic small town of Bed­ford Falls, de­picted in the clas­sic film It’s a Won­der­ful Life. Shop­keep­ers greet cus­tomers with a bevy of de­light­ful sweets and treats. Santa and Mrs. Claus wel­come young chil­dren and lis­ten to their hopes and dreams for gifts they will find un­der the tree. The free event in­cludes crafts, hot co­coa, live mu­sic, Lolly the Trol­ley tours, Po­lar Ex­press Story Time, let­ter-writ­ing to vet­er­ans, and more. christ­mas­inbed­ford­falls.com

4 NE­VADA CITY, CAL­I­FOR­NIA

Visit this small gold rush town in the Sierra Ne­vada foothills in De­cem­ber, and you might think you’ve stepped into a scene from a Cur­rier & Ives print. Twin­kling white lights and gas lamps il­lu­mi­nate the wind­ing streets, and wan­der­ing min­strels, bag­pipers and car­ol­ers in Vic­to­rian garb min­gle with the crowds. (Vis­i­tors are wel­come to dress in pe­riod at­tire, too.) Tan­ta­liz­ing aro­mas of roasted chest­nuts and other hol­i­day foods fill the air. Make sure to look for the Walk­ing Christ­mas Tree and Fa­ther Christ­mas. nevadac­i­ty­cham­ber.com

5 NEW CAS­TLE, DELAWARE

Tour dec­o­rated homes and churches and en­joy live mu­sic dur­ing the Spirit of Christ­mas on Dec. 8, a town­wide event spon­sored by the New Cas­tle Pres­by­te­rian Church. Ad­mis­sion is free on that date at the Am­s­tel House, which is adorned for a tra­di­tional 18th-cen­tury Colo­nial hol­i­day, and the Dutch House, host­ing a cel­e­bra­tion of St. Ni­cholas’ Eve. Also check out A Dick­ens Ex­pe­ri­ence, com­plete with a Vic­to­rian ball, on Dec. 7—when the New Cas­tle Vis­i­tor Cen­ter at The Arse­nal be­comes the Fezziwig house from A Christ­mas Carol—and a Vic­to­rian tea on Dec. 8. new­castle­his­tory.org

6 RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA

Main Street Square is a place of com­mu­nity and mirth as it gets dressed up for Christ­mas, says Field Ed­i­tor and Rapid City res­i­dent Kath­leen Un­gerer. On Nov. 24, visit the win­ter mar­ket and watch as the Fes­Ti­val of Lights Pa­rade marches along with over 75 floats. All sea­son, the square trans­forms into a skat­ing rink. Gather over a fire pit to warm your hands while chil­dren glide across the ice. Stat­ues of pres­i­dents down­town wear hats and scarves, do­nated so the less for­tu­nate can help them­selves to what they need. down­town­rapid­c­ity.com.

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