40th Annual CANDLELIGHT STROLL
Anchoring "Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth"
December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22, 2019
Saturdays, 5:00-9:00 pm. Sundays, 4:00-8:00 pm.
Avoid lines by purchasing tickets in advance! Save $5 per ticket by purchasing before Dec 1 (ticket purchase price reflects the discount).
Tickets are $25/adults, $12.50/children (ages 5-17), and $60/family (covers 2 adults + 2 children age 5-17). Children under 5, free. Active duty military and their families, and veterans, free. (These tickets are always available at the door.) Group and corporate rates are available.
*Parking at the Museum is reserved for HANDICAP ONLY during Candlelight Stroll. All other visitors should utilize the free Vintage Christmas Trolley and public parking areas. For a downloadable PDF map of public parking and the free Vintage Christmas Trolley route, click here.*
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. 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 the 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.’
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 in 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.
Richard Spicer returns to Chase House for Candlelight Stroll 2018. To hear selections performed by Richard on his harpsichord (accompanied by Anne Federowicz), click here.
- 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.
- Figtree Kitchen Café offers seasonal food and beverages during Candlelight Stroll in the TYCO Visitors Center.
- Pickwick's Holiday Tavern Dinners: Pickwick's Mercantile/Fezziwig's presents a ticketed (not included in Candlelight Stroll ticket), costumed holiday dining experience in Pitt Tavern -- visited by George Washington, John Hancock, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Offered each night of Candlelight Stroll, with seatings at 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 8:00 pm. For information and tickets to the holiday dinners, click here.
- Pickwick’s at the Banke complements the museum with a shopping experience reflecting Portsmouth’s colonial maritime heritage.
- Weather Information: Candlelight Stroll is 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. For a downloadable PDF map of public parking and the free Vintage Christmas Trolley route, click here.
* The free Vintage Christmas trolley operates on Dec 2, 8, 9, 15, 16 and 22. It does NOT operate on December 1 as it is in the City of Portsmouth Holiday Parade.
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. " For complete details of the Vintage Christmas events please visit the Vintage Christmas website.
Take advantage of special hotel offers and make a weekend of Candlelight Stroll! Candlelight Stroll -- show a Stroll ticket to receive 10% off stays November 30 through December 23:
Guided Holiday House Tours, weekdays, Dec 26-31
Guided tours of five decorated historic houses at Strawbery Banke Museum
The Victorian ornamentation of Goodwin House
Classic 1762 Federal style of Chase House
A Hannukah celebration at Shapiro House
Christmastime during WWII in Abbott House
Hearth-cooking in c. 1785 Wheelwright House
Offered on the hour, 9:45 am to 1:45 pm. Adults $15, children 5-17 $10, children under 5 free. For tickets, click here.