Celebrate the season at these winter festivals

The Berkshire Museum’s Festival of Trees. Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Festival of Trees 2019: Heroes

Berkshire Museum
Pittsfield, Mass.

Nov. 16- Jan. 5

Who inspires you? Festival of Trees 2019: Heroes celebrates those who motivate us to reach great heights, attempt the impossible and change the world. This year, more than 100 dazzling holiday displays, designed and decorated by local businesses, schools and organizations, will honor heroes of every type, from the action-packed caped crusaders of the silver screen to the everyday heroes in our community. Annual Festive Preview Party takes place 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15. As a special treat, Festival of Trees After Dark, held from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturdays, allows visitors to explore a twinkling holiday forest, created when the galleries are only lit by the lights on the trees.

Information: berkshiremuseum.org

Bellows Falls Santa Express

Bellows Falls Union Station
Bellows Falls, Vt.

Nov. 24

Take a magical train ride with Santa Claus, the Grinch and caroling elves to the North Pole and back aboard the Santa Express (the historic Green Mountain Flyer). The train departs from Bellows Falls Union Station on Nov. 24 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The entire ride lasts about two hours and 45 minutes, about an hour each way, with a 30- to 45-minute stop at the North Pole (Chester Station). Tickets, available online or at Village Square Booksellers and Phoenix Books Misty Valley, are $25 for ages 13 and older; $20 for children ages 2 to 12; and free for younger than 2 (seated on an adult’s lap).

Information: sustainablevalleygroup.org

The Manchester Lighted Tractor Parade. Bennington Banner File Photo

Manchester Merriment

Manchester, Vt.

Nov. 30 – Jan. 1

No one celebrates the holidays quite like Manchester. The festivities kick off Thanksgiving weekend and continue for six weeks of festive events and activities. Annual favorites include the Historic Inn Christmas Tour on Dec. 7 and 14, the Lighted Tractor Parade on Dec. 7 and the Elf Express train ride on Dec. 21 and 22. Other activities include a holiday artisan market, concerts, pop-up shops and more.

Information: manchestervermont.com

Santa Claus greets the passengers aboard the Berkshire Scenic Railway’s Tinseliner Train. Berkshire Eagle File Photo

Holiday Train Rides

Berkshire Scenic Railway
Adams, Mass.

Nov. 29-Dec. 22

Celebrate the holidays with the Berkshire Scenic Railway’s Hoosac Valley Train Ride. The service, which runs between Adams and North Adams, offers two special train rides during the holidays.

Its family-friendly Tinseliner Train Rides are a 1950s Christmas-style train ride with a visit from Santa Claus. The trip includes a layover at the PopCares Tree Lot, where riders can pick out a tree for pickup later. The train has multiple departure times on the weekends of Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-22.

The adults-only Mistletoe & Martini Holiday Cabaret Train, departing at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 14, features live holiday music by Ron Ramsay and Samantha Talora. The cabaret trains are BYOB beverages and snacks. Tickets can be purchased online.

Information: berkshiretrains.org

30th Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas

Stockbridge, Mass.

Dec. 6-8

Celebrate Norman Rockwell’s painting of the quintessential New England town at Christmas with this annual favorite that culminates in a recreation of the scene, complete with vintage automobiles. Highlights include holiday readings around the hearth, a children’s singalong, Holiday House tours, caroling, a luminaria walk and a holiday concert.

Information: stockbridgechamber.org/visit/stockbridge-main-street-at-christmas

The Reindog Parade is an annual highlight of the Williamstown Holiday Walk. Berkshire Eagle File Photo

36th Williamstown Holiday Walk

Williamstown, Mass.

Dec. 6-8

This annual festival has everything: cookie decorating, hot chocolate, visits with Santa Claus, a pancake breakfast, 5-kilometer fun run, Christmas tree showcase, beer garden, Penny Social and Reindog Parade. There’s also reading of “A Christmas Carol,” screening of “Elf,” craft fair, comedy review on the steps of the post office and more.

Information: williamstownchamber.com

Hildene Holidays

Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home
Manchester, Vt.

Dec. 6-Jan. 1

Experience Hildene, the estate of Robert Todd and Mary Lincoln, as guests visiting the couple for the holidays in 1912 would have. The house remains decorated throughout the month, and on weekends, musicians will be on hand to play the Lincolns’ 1908 Aeolian organ and Steinway piano.

Information: hildene.org

Winter Wonderland Member Show

Southern Vermont Arts Center
Manchester, Vt.

Dec. 6-15

In December, the Southern Vermont Arts Center will transform its galleries into a winter wonderland. In the Yester House, winter-themed art from Southern Vermont Arts Center member artists will deck the halls. In addition, a Holiday Market, and a vendor and artisan craft fair, will be held the weekends of Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15. Join SVAC on Dec. 6 for its tree lighting and a Sip n’ Shop event at 5 p.m.

Information: svac.org

25th Light Up the Holidays

Dalton, Mass.

Dec. 7-15

This longtime December tradition celebrates its 25th anniversary. The festivities begin with the 11th Handmade Holiday Festival at the Stationery Factory on Dec. 7-8 and continue throughout the week. On Dec. 14, luminarias will line the streets as local businesses hold open houses, offer specials and treats, and host musical guests during the Light Up the Holidays Parade. Follow Santa Claus and his elves as they make their way along Depot and Main streets to the Dalton CRA for the tree lighting. Santa also will stop by the Dalton CRA on Dec. 15.

35th Wassail Weekend

Woodstock, Vt.

Dec. 13-15

For one weekend in December, the entire town of Woodstock transforms into a holiday wonderland. Enjoy breakfast with Santa Claus, tour some of the town’s most historic homes, take in a concert, eat like royalty at the Wassail feast, shop for friends and family at the pop-up markets and take a step back into the 19th century at Billings Farm. And last, but not least, don’t forget to attend the 35th Wassail Parade.

Information: woodstockvt.com/events/wassail-weekend

Vermont Country magazine

Vermont Country has a hyperlocal focus on the Green Mountain lifestyle, its personalities, events, attractions and culture. The magazine appears six times a year, designed to complement the state and four-season living. VtCo magazine is a Southern Vermont publication of Vermont News & Media.

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