Christmas: the time of our brightest hopes and aspirations for a kind peaceful future.
Christmas is truly the most amazing time of the year in its beauty and spiritual grace, heartfelt peace, brightest hopes and aspirations for a kind peaceful future.
Which Christmas atmosphere do you prefer: the splendor of the Gilded Age or the traditional Christmas villages?
We offer you some of the best places in the United States that are worth visiting at this wonderful time that we all love so much, no matter what style you celebrate Christmas in.
Enjoy the festive splendor of the Gilded Age at the sprawling Biltmore Estate, a 250-room French Renaissance mansion and surrounding grounds built in the 1890s by George Washington Vanderbilt. Christmas at the Biltmore is a long-standing tradition in Asheville.
Biltmore is one of America’s largest homes, with its famous 65 fireplaces and ballrooms decorated in the festive style of the Gilded Age. Every year, the 35-foot Christmas tree in the banquet hall shines with festive lights.
When you want your holiday celebration supercharged, you go to Branson. This American mecca for family entertainment goes all in starting with the dazzling “An Old Time Christmas” at the Silver Dollar City theme park, which includes an eight-story Christmas tree and performances of “A Christmas Carol” and a living Nativity.
The city’s home to multiple drive-through light displays, a tour of over 100 of Branson’s most striking Christmas trees, a Polar Express train ride, Christmas on the Showboat Branson Belle. And don’t miss Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede, which in addition to its usual horsemanship includes a live nativity with flying angels.
Vermont is a holiday wonderland, and the city of Burlington is a perfect example with its Church Street Marketplace, a holiday festival throughout the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfare.
Shop windows are overflowing with flair, thousands of colored lights twinkle above, the Christmas tree lights up outside the church at the top of the street, and a nine-foot-tall menorah lit up on December 10. Santa is in residence for visits and requests, and carolers circulate throughout the streets.
Another Hallmark Christmas location is Duluth, the setting for “Rescuing Christmas.” Marvel at the sweet architecture of the Pepperkakebyen, a giant gingerbread village at the Nordic Center or hop aboard the North Shore Scenic Railroad’s Christmas Tree Train. Live entertainment abounds: Catch “The Nutcracker: A Duluth Tale,” or if comedy (and personal space) is more your thing, try “A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol.” And don’t miss a visit to Bentleyville, the largest display of Christmas lights in the US.
When it comes to throwing festivals, the state of Louisiana is unrivaled. The city of Natchitoches, the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, has consistently ranked on lists of the best holiday celebrations; it’s also one of the oldest community holiday celebrations in the country. The six-week Natchitoches Christmas Festival takes place throughout the downtown district and along Cane River Lake, with thousands of holiday lights, a parade, live music, fireworks over the river on Saturday nights, a holiday-themed tour of historic homes, and a Christmas Gala hosted by Northwestern State University.
North Pole, AK
If you’re really going for the full Christmas experience, is there any other destination but North Pole, Alaska? Located in the Fairbanks metropolitan area, the small town’s main attraction is Santa Claus House, which started in 1952 as a trading post and quickly expanded into a year-round attraction for Santa Claus fans of all ages. A 42-foot-tall Santa statue greets visitors, who can visit the “real” Santa inside and shop for gifts made by local artisans – as well as pay a visit to Santa’s reindeer next door, at the Antler Academy.
The small town of Leavenworth, a Bavarian-style village nestled in the Cascade mountains, is “Sound of Music” picturesque all year round. But Christmastime takes it to a whole new level, with live entertainment, visits with Santa, gingerbread exhibits, and more. For extra holiday charm, skip the drive on snowy mountain roads and enjoy a ride on the Amtrak Empire Builder, running from Seattle to Leavenworth every afternoon.
Myrtle Beach, SC
This famed South Carolina botanical garden wraps its towering, moss-draped trees in millions of lights for its magical Low Country holiday festival, Nights of a Thousand Candles, running from late November until December 31. More than 2,700 hand-lit candles adorn the paths along selected areas of the 9,000-acre gardens. Live music and art and artisan exhibitions add to the nightly enchantment.
The historic downtown district of this Middle Tennessee city is the setting for the annual Dickens of a Christmas Festival, in which Charles Dickens characters stroll the streets interacting with the crowd. From “A Christmas Carol,” naturally, you’ll find Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and his family, the Cratchits, as well as a Father and Mother Christmas. Musical performances, arts and crafts, a KidZone add to the fun.
By Alex Arlander | ENC News