Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stone Zoo Christmas Lights and Portsmouth Candelight Stroll- 2 Christmastime Must Sees in New England!

Up First: Stone Zoo Christmas Lights

(Stone Zoo is a medium-small sized zoo of about 26 acres in Stoneham, Massachusetts, United States, by the Spot Pond reservoir. It is operated by Zoo New England, which also operates the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.) At Christmastime, they put on a beautiful light display and have all kinds of fun for the kids (and adults too!)
We have tried to make this an annual tradition with my parents.  We have been successful at attending the last few years.

Diana was less than four months old the first time we attended :)
See that post HERE 

They have done a great job with adding to the display every year

We went again in 2009.  See that post HERE 

and then we went again last year- it was Eva's first time there!  See that post HERE 

 This year, Mimi and Papa took us again on Saturday night.
We had a ball!  The girls got to visit with Santa and tell him what they wanted (which was the highlight) and we bumped into one of my old work friends and his family which was so fun!
We enjoyed all of the lights and definitely noticed that they have added even more.
Check out some pics

and there were even a few animals out like the otters and the flamingos! These are the only birds I will get remotely close to because they are SO PRETTY :)

 After the zoo, we headed over to Mimi and Papa's for dinner.  My mom made her incredible homemade meatball soup and we all slurped it down with some pizza.  Such a festive night and the girls enjoyed it to the fullest!

Second: Portsmouth Candlelight Stroll

I have been hearing about this event for years and it truly peaked my curiosity, especially given that it occurs in my favorite town in America- Portsmouth NH!  
This event occurs at Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth.
(Strawberry Banke Museum, in the heart of historic downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is an authentic 10-acre outdoor history museum dedicated to bringing 300+ years of American history in the same waterfront neighborhood to life. The Museum is a place for children, adults, multi-generational families and groups to gather to explore eight heritage gardens, 32 historic buildings and traditional crafts, preservation programs, hands-on activities, the stories told by costumed role-players and the changing exhibits that offer hours of fun and discovery. The Museum's restored buildings and open space invite visitors to immerse themselves in the past, using objects from the museum's collection of 30,000 artifacts, and the histories of the families who lived and worked in the
Puddle Dock neighborhood to engage, educate and entertain.)  

and the Candlelight Stroll....

(Candlelight Stroll, an annual holiday tradition at Strawberry Banke since 1979 showcases 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 wood smoke from the bonfire. Its authenticity is the foundation for the claim that the Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth holiday celebration, echoed by Travel + Leisure magazine, makes Portsmouth ‘the Christmas capital of North America.’
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. Mrs. Shapiro prepares a Hanukah celebration her 1919 Russian Jewish kitchen. Mrs. Goodwin, her family and servants prepare a Victorian Christmas. Father Christmas, the night watchman, “Mayor Frank Jones” and other role-players make their rounds along the dirt lanes; and the Abbotts await news of their soldier fighting in Europe in the Second World War. Carolers, chestnuts and holiday crafts bring all the sounds, scents and moments for family 'stopfulness' to this event that is a cherished New Hampshire tradition.  Complimentary refreshments and hot apple cider are offered at the Cider Shed. Traditional hearth-cooking demonstrations, crafts demonstrations, and winter projects for kids provide interactive fun for multiple generations.)

We headed up on Sunday with the Batsons.
First we stopped at the Gas Light Co. for a late lunch/early dinner and it was terrific- highly recommend for families!  Food was yummy, drinks were fab, service excellent and nice and loud when you have little ones!

After we finished up at Gas Light, we bopped into some shops and of course Lea and I found matching ear warmers that we had to have.  I actually fell in love with a hat but the price tag was crazy- I thought to myself, "I can find this on Ebay for so much cheaper!"  After the hat let down is when we found our new "fur" pieces- what do you think?

Snow Bunnies Right?
and I love the charm of Portsmouth; at Christmastime it is even better with all of the little touches the businesses add.
Then it was time to head to Strawberry Banke- the walk over was about 10 minutes and it felt great.  We were so bundled up that we didn't get that cold!

While the guys and the kiddos waited at the gate to get in, Lea and I bopped into a little country store; UN-benounced to us, Brooks followed us and fell in love with a wooden rifle.  (Later on, when the kids got to talk to Santa, he asked Santa for that same rifle- as a result, Lea and I are taking another drive up there to get it for him- too funny)
I picked up the most beautiful glass ornament- it is the Mother and Child and it literally jumped off the tree!
Then it was time to walk around and get in line for a horse-drawn carriage ride!  That was my favorite part!  Here we are
   (Notice Brooks ducked down so you can't see him)

After the ride, we walked into the different homes- each had a different theme and something different going on.  One had homemade tin lanterns that were beautiful.  Another one was serving warm cider and had a live folk band playing Christmas tunes- we sat in there for awhile- that was fun!

I snapped so many pics!

Here the kids are shaving wood

After we made our way around all of Strawberry Banke, we walked back to the center of town and bopped into Popovers on the Square for a night cap.
Popovers is an awesome place for not only popovers but coffee, breakfast, pastries and even a night cap!
Great way to wrap up our night!
Right before we got in the car, we looked up at the condos across from the garage and spotted this beautiful little tree in someone's living room- I had to get a picture of course :)
  Oh Portsmouth...I love you....


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