38th Annual Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Says, “Welcome, Stranger”

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (October 9, 2017)  -- Candlelight Stroll, an annual holiday tradition at Strawbery Banke since 1979, showcases 350 years of seasonal and holiday traditions against the backdrop of the Museum’s furnished historic houses. The theme for this year’s 38th annual Candlelight Stroll is “Welcome, Stranger.”

Candlelight Stroll takes place the first three weekends in December: December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17. Saturdays, 5-9 pm. Sundays, 4-8 pm. Sponsors include Lincoln Financial Group, CPManagement, Proulx Oil & Propane, and R.M.Davis. 

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 woodsmoke 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.’

Tickets are now on sale at and at the door. Regular admission prices: $25/adults, $17.50/children (ages 5-17), and $60/family. Group and corporate rates are available.

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.

Additional holiday features include:

Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, provides seasonal outdoor ice skating at the heart of the 10-acre living history museum. The rink operates seven days a week, 9 am to 9 pm throughout December and on New Year's Day, and the months of January and February.

UBS Financial Services Portsmouth Lighted Tree: The holiday atmosphere is enhanced by an 18-foot tall Christmas tree in the center of the Strawbery Banke campus, donated by UBS Financial Services  of Portsmouth to add extra festivity to the museum’s 38th Annual Candlelight Stroll and the rink.


Figtree Kitchen Café offers seasonal food and beverages during ice skating rink hours and during Candlelight Stroll in the TYCO Visitors Center.

Pickwick’s at the Banke, complements the museum with a shopping experience reflecting Portsmouth’s colonial maritime heritage. Pickwick's also presents a ticketed, costumed holiday dining experience in Pitt Tavern -- visited by George Washington, John Hancock, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

Weather Information: Candlelight Stroll will be held regardless of weather conditions. Tickets are nonrefundable and non-transferable.

Parking & Other Information -- There is ONLY handicapped parking available at the Museum for Candlelight Stroll. All other visitors should utilize the free Vintage Christmas Trolley and public parking areas. The City of Portsmouth provides the free Vintage Christmas trolley, which runs on a 20-minute loop, on each evening of Candlelight Stroll.  The heated and decorated trolley will pick up and drop off visitors at parking lots, hotels, and other sites around town. There is a trolley stop right at Strawbery Banke Museum as well as The Music Hall. Please click here for a map for the free Vintage Christmas Trolley.

Guided Holiday House Tours, weekdays, Dec 26-31
Guided tours of five decorated historic houses at Strawbery Banke Museum offered on the hour, 10 am to 2 pm. Adults $15, children 5-17 $9, children under 5 free.

Candlelight Stroll is a signature event of Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth . Travel + Leisure says Portsmouth has good reason to claim the title of "Christmas Capital of North America" and the Boston Globe says Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is "One of the top ten holiday things not to miss in New England. "