Paging Normal Rockwell
by Amy Lignor
For those who may not have had the pleasure before – and all you true Christmas “classic” lovers who have always wanted to see it – Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is the most brilliant and beautiful place during the holiday season. Made famous by the original Norman Rockwell, whose museum is part of the line of historic buildings making up that classic Main Street, Stockbridge is dressed up as if it were the 1800’s, when horse-and-carriage was the main mode of transportation, and is truly a sight you will never forget.
This magical setting is decorated to the hilt with holiday wreaths and festive lights, while the town celebrates “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas.” Hosting a full range of activities for all ages, with highlights including holiday readings, house tours, caroling, and a holiday concert, this is one of those annual events that should not be missed. Being capped off with the re-creation of a scene depicted in Rockwell’s own “Main Street at Christmas,” the vintage automobiles arrive and park in the spots they once occupied in the painting long ago. Horse drawn rides, a visit from Santa, Roger the Jester, lunch at the Christmas Food Booth, and the list goes on.
But there are others out there as well for those who want that “classic” Christmas tale come to life. You can find no place that smells more like pine needles than Woodstock, Vermont. Is the ground dusted with snow? More likely than not. There is hardly a recorded time in history when Vermont was not snow-laden when the holidays came to pass. Sleigh rides and tours of the city’s most notable historic buildings are given, and the period costumes and beautiful shop window displays speak to the beauty and soul of what Christmas is all about.
And if you wish to travel to paradise for Christmas, you will find that small town in the heart of Pennsylvania Amish Country. The site for the National Christmas Center, Paradise houses this 20,000-square-foot museum dedicated to preserving Christmas memories, both past and present. Nativity scenes throughout time, over 10,000 Santas, toys by the thousands – something for all to see who wish to visit and meet Santa in person before enjoying everything laid out on “Sunday’s Main St.”
If closer to the West Coast than the East, Durango, Colorado, is a stunning Christmas town for you and the family to visit. Between those red bluffs, Durango is a railroad town dating back to the 1880s, and their ‘ode to history’ certainly shines through every holiday season. Almost every evening, running from Thanksgiving to Christmas, kids in pajamas line up to board the well-known and stunning Polar Express. This very real train pulled by an actual steam locomotive allows families a chance to snuggle in, enjoy the hot chocolate served, and visit Santa at the North Pole – exactly what the writer of the very popular “The Polar Express” saw in his own creative imagination. …Or was it just his imagination? Go to Durango and see.
In the Southern tier of the U.S., the winner of the most incredible Christmas village is not exactly a shock. The Most Magical Place on Earth is most definitely the most magical place on Earth when Santa is getting ready to arrive. In the months of November and December, guests of Walt Disney World Resort have a ball at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. With a parade, a fireworks show that outdoes everyone else in the world, and a magic snowfall that takes place on Main Street, U.S.A., the Magic Kingdom turns into Santa’s Kingdom on 19 select nights.
Even though Newport Beach doesn’t boast snowfall, this city in Orange Country has boasted an annual Christmas Boat Parade since 1908. For five consecutive nights 100+ boats, decorated with various unforgettable holiday themes, sail 14 miles around Newport Harbor. The amount of money spent to light up these boats (from canoes to yachts) is incredible. Tens upon thousands of dollars are poured into elaborate Christmas spectacles, with prizes ranging from “Best Animation” to “Humor and Originality.”
No list of Christmas’s “best” would be complete without the one and only, Big Apple. From the classic Rockettes spreading their holiday cheer in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular to skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center trying to see to the very top of that stunning Christmas tree, NYC has it all. If all family members have different likes, NYC has everything to choose from. Go see the origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History; take your shades and see the beauty of Grand Central Station’s laser light show; or sit back and enjoy The Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center. No matter what you pick, any Christmas in NYC will be remembered forever.
The small towns with their historic Main Streets dressed in Christmas splendor. The big cities with light shows and parades galore. No matter where you wish to spend your holiday time, the fact remains the same: the U.S. of A. delivers it all!
Source: Baret News