Candlelight Stroll PDF Print E-mail

Saturday and Sunday, December  5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 2015
Saturdays from 5:00pm-9:00pm & Sundays from 4:00pm-8:00pm


36th Annual Candlelight Stroll in the "Holiday Capital of North America"

For December 5-6,12-13, 19-20, 2015


For the overall Candlelight Stroll program, please click here.

For the changing artists' program for December 5 & 6, please click here.

For the changing artists' program for December 12 & 13, please click here.

For the changing artists' program for December 19 & 20, please click here.

For the Peter E. Randall Publisher Author Schedule, please click here.

Stroll through life in a simpler time as 350 years of American history, winter traditions, and holiday celebrations unfolds around you in New Hampshire's oldest waterfront neighborhood.

  • Historic houses from four centuries with decorations hand-crafted from natural materials 
  • Hundreds of wood and glass candle boxes lighting the lanes and landscape
  • Live music and holiday entertainment for all ages
  • Horse-drawn carriage rides
  • Holiday decoration demonstrations
  • Traditional barrel making demonstrations
  • 18th century holiday hearth cooking
  • Tinsmith demonstrations
  • Ice skating at Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, daily December-February.

There is NO PARKING at the museum for this event, except for ADA-access. For a map of nearby parking lots and garages and the stops for the FREE Vintage Christmas Trolley (available Dec 5 from 1 pm to 6 pm and 8 pm to 10 pm; Dec 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 from 1 pm to 10 pm) please click here.

Avoid lines by purchasing tickets in advance! Tickets can be purchased in advance in person at the Strawbery Banke Visitors Center at 14 Hancock Street up to the date of the event. To purchase tickets in advance, click here. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12.50 children (5-17), $60 for family (2 adults and 2 children under 17). Group and corporate rates are available. 


Strawbery Banke Museum Celebrates 36th Annual Candlelight Stroll “Winter Pastimes”


Strawbery Banke Museum celebrates the theme of “Winter Pastimes” during the 36th annual Candlelight Stroll, December 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20, 2015. The event takes place from 5 to 9 pm on Saturdays and 4 to 8 pm on Sundays. Candlelight Stroll is generously supported by the Lincoln Financial Group, Bank of New Hampshire, D.F.Richard, FairPoint Communications, People’s Bank, Amica, Heinemann Publishing, Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, Northeast Credit Union, Northeast Delta Dental, Northway Bank, Optima Bank & Trust, Sheraton Harborside, York Hospital, Joy’s HVAC, Inc., R.M.Davis.


Showcasing 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 scent of woodsmoke.


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. A toasty bonfire crackles throughout the event to warm frosty fingers and toes. Complimentary refreshments and hot apple cider are offered at the Cider Shed. Figtree Kitchen at Strawbery Banke offers light meals in the visitors center and Pickwick's presents a costumed holiday dining experience in Pitt Tavern -- visited by George Washington, John Hancock, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Traditional hearth-cooking demonstrations, crafts demonstrations, and winter projects for kids provide interactive fun for multiple generations.


“Candlelight Stroll is a cherished holiday tradition that offers a charming setting for children and adults to enjoy America’s multicultural holiday activities and customs,” said Strawbery Banke Museum president and CEO Lawrence J. Yerdon. “Candlelight Stroll is a magical event at an enchanting time of year. We are delighted to anchor the city-wide Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth celebration with this authentic and unique experience.”  

Now in its 36th year, Strawbery Banke Museum's Candlelight Stroll carries visitors into holiday lives from the past as the 10-acre outdoor history museum and its 40 historic buildings recreate December through the centuries in the waterfront Portsmouth neighborhood of Puddle Dock. Thousands of decorations, hand-crafted from natural materials grown in the museum's gardens, flickering wood-and-glass candle lanterns, carolers around the bonfire and costumed role-players set the scene for “Winter Pastimes.” Mrs. Shapiro prepares a Hanukah celebration her 1919 Russian Jewish kitchen. Mrs. Goodwin, her family and servants prepare a Victorian Christmas. The night watchman makes his 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. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12.50 for children 5-17, and free to children under 5. 

Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, the seasonal outdoor ice skating rink at the heart of the 10-acre living history museum site will be in full operation, seven days a week, 9 am to 9 pm throughout December and on through New Year's Day, and the months of January and February. The outdoor ice skating rink offers 12,500 square feet of professionally maintained ice surface combining an 80' x 125' oval and a 60' diameter circle all surrounded by a post and rail fence. A seasonal pavilion houses ticketing, skate rentals and concessions. Figtree Kitchen cafe in the adjacent museum Tyco Visitor Center serves food and beverages. Labrie Family Skate offers public skating (including several free sessions each week), pond hockey for children and adults, and skating lessons for all ages. Skate rentals and sharpening services are available

Pickwick’s at the Banke,
complements the museum with a shopping experience reflecting Portsmouth’s colonial maritime heritage. The new store is located at 43 Atkinson Street (on the corner of Court and Atkinson) on the museum campus, and is open to the public. No museum ticket is required to shop at Pickwick’s at the Banke. Described as a ‘magical space’ featuring local art, artisans and products; Pickwick’s at the Banke is designed to be a nostalgic space that’s accessible to a new generation. Pickwick’s creates “an experience” for guests. The merchandise, the atmosphere and the hospitality of the costumed staff – especially in full-blown Victorian holiday splendor -- make shopping more than a pastime. Like Strawbery Banke itself, Pickwick’s at the Banke is about preserving Portsmouth heritage, historical role-playing and participating in “time travel” through 300 years in this Puddle Dock neighborhood. On the six nights of Candlelight Stroll, Pickwick's and Chef Evan Mallett presemt a costumed holiday dining experience in the museum's historic Pitt Tavern (sold out).

Figtree Kitchen at Strawbery Banke café offers seasonal food and beverages during Candlelight Stroll, both in the newly-redecorated space in the Tyco Visitor Center.

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, from 1:30pm - 10:30pm on the first three Saturdays and Sundays in December*. 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. Please click here for a map with additional parking information.
* The free Vintage Christmas trolley will be in the City of Portsmouth Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 1 and will not be available from 4-8pm.

The trolley is generously provided by the City of Portsmouth as part of a Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth. The Vintage Christmas collaboration aims to highlight the rich seasonal programs of Strawbery Banke Museum and The Music Hall, and is the result of a fruitful collaboration among the City of Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke Museum, The Music Hall, the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, and local hotels and retail shops. For more information on scheduled activities and participating hotels, visit


Guided Holiday House Tours, weekdays, Dec 26-31
Guided tours of five decorated historic houses at Strawbery Banke Museum offered on the hour, 10am to 2 pm. Adults $15, children 5-17 $10, 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. " For complete details of the Vintage Christmas events please visit the Vintage Christmas website.

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



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