The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








Hundreds of lights illuminate the walkways at the Candlelight Stroll. Courtesy photo.

36th Annual Candlelight Stroll

Where: Strawbery Banke, 14 Hancock St., Portsmouth
When: Saturday, Dec. 19, 5 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 20, 4 to 8 p.m.
Cost: Tickets $25 for adults, $12.50 for ages 5 to 17, free for kids under 5, $60 for a family of two adults and two youth. 
Parking: Parking at the museum is handicapped parking only. Others should utilize public parking areas, then take the Vintage Christmas Trolley. The trolley runs in a 20-minute loop and stops at parking lots, hotels and other sites around town, including Strawbery Banke. 

A stroll through the ages
Strawbery Banke recreates holidays of the past

By Angie Sykeny

Celebrate the holidays in four different centuries at the 36th Annual Candlelight Stroll on Saturday, Dec. 19, and Sunday, Dec. 20, at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth. 

At the stroll, Puddle Dock, the state’s oldest waterfront neighborhood, is brought to life by costumed role-players, traditional craft demonstrations, recreations of historic scenes and more. 
This year’s theme, “Winter Pastimes,” explores how Puddle Dock residents entertained themselves during the colder months.
“[It shows] how people in all different time periods spent their leisure time when it was too cold or dark to go out,” Alena Shellenbean, event manager, said. “They would [stay] indoors and enjoy stories and games, jokes and songs and just each others’ company.”
Strollers will find the museum illuminated by hundreds of candle boxes and filled with the sound of wandering musicians. The historic houses are adorned with old-fashioned decorations handmade from florals, greens and herbs grown in the museum’s gardens.
Take a free horse-drawn carriage ride around the candlelit streets as costumed role-players roam the walkways. 
Some scenes you may encounter inside the buildings include the Goodwin children playing games in their Victorian parlor in 1870; the Shapiros, a Russian Jewish family, preparing a Hanukkah celebration in 1919; and the Abbott family playing board games and listening to the radio in 1943 as they await news of their soldier fighting in WWII.
Young strollers will enjoy the Candlelight Kids’ Treasure Hunt. Pick up a treasure map and list of questions at the visitors center, then follow the map to Puddle Dock townsfolk who can provide the answers. Complete the hunt and receive a prize.
See a variety of traditional craft demonstrations like hearth-cooking, barrel-making, woodworking, tinsmithing, weaving, wreath-making and more. There will also be hands-on crafts for visitors to make, such as a botanical card or a colonial toy.  
New to the stroll this year are author readings. On Saturday, Dennis Robinson will read from Strawbery Banke: A Seaport Museum 400 Years in the Making, and Wentworth-By-The-Sea: The Life and Times of a Grand Hotel, and Kevin Martin will showcase Big Trees of New Hampshire. On Sunday, children’s author Wickie Rowland will read Good Morning, Strawbery Banke, and children’s author Sue Thoresen with illustrator Keith Eveland will present The Yoyo & the Piggy Bank.
Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond returns for its second year at the stroll, hosting open skating ($10 for adults, $8 for children, skate rentals available) as well as ice dancing performances (6 and 7 p.m., both days).
Other performances include the Pontine Theatre’s presentation of “The Christmas Monks” story (every 45-minutes, both days), holiday carols by local music groups (continuous on Saturday, 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday) and ongoing live piano in the visitors center.
There will be refreshments, hot apple cider and live music in the Cider Shed (folk band on Saturday, swing band on Sunday), or you can stop at the museum’s cafe Figtree Kitchen for coffee, dessert, homemade soup and other light snacks. 

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