Anchoring "Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth"
December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20, 2020
Saturdays, 5:00-9:00 pm. Sundays, 4:00-8:00 pm.

Avoid lines by purchasing tickets in advance!  

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. 

Visitors stroll from house to historic house, greeted by costumed roleplayers and performers who recreate the traditions of times past, rediscovering the joys of simpler times. 

Mrs. Shapiro prepares a Hanukkah 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.

Another repeating tradition is the appearance by skaters in Victorian "Currier & Ives" costumes.  And a new number this year called: TIDINGS OF JOY set to Early American Music: Portsmouth, Staines Morris, Rusty Gallant, and Chelsea Reach.  With Sweet Slumber, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and Joy to the World, choreographed by Doug Webster, artistic director of Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond and founder of Ice Dance International. Currier and Ives skaters:  Caroline Mann (point person); Lenaye Marsten; Erik Nylund; Michael Mertaugh; John Salwen; and new cast member this year: Lydia Waldo. And the kids are Jordana Grossman and Matthew Grossman (Matthew is the 2019 National Juvenile Silver Medalist and 2020 Eastern Sectional Intermediate Champion),  Jack Liu and Effie Chen: (Jack and Effie are the 2020 US Dance Final Juvenile Silver Medalists). 

These special performances take place each night of Candlelight Stroll:  Saturdays at 6:00, 6:45, 7:30 pm and Sundays at 4:30, 5:15 and 6:00


  • LABRIE FAMILY SKATE AT PUDDLE DOCK POND provides seasonal outdoor ice skating at the heart of the 10-acre living history museum. Add skating to your Stroll ticket for an extra $10 (includes skate rentals)!  Purchase at the rink that night! 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 CAFE offers seasonal food and beverages during Stroll in the TYCO Visitors Center.
  • PICKWICK'S HOLIDAY DINNERS IN PITT TAVERN: Pickwick's Mercantile/Fezziwig's presents a ticketed (not included in Candlelight Stroll ticket), costumed holiday dining experience in historic Pitt Tavern -- visited by George Washington, John Hancock, and the Marquis de Lafayette. Offered each night of Stroll, with seatings at 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 8:00 pm. 
  • PICKWICK'S AT THE BANKEcomplements the museum with a shopping experience reflecting Portsmouth’s colonial maritime heritage.

TICKET COST + INFORMATION: Group and corporate rates are available. Contact Jon Brown at 603.

  • Strawbery Banke Members: 50% off or free depending on membership level
  • Adults: $25.00
  • Children (ages 5 - 17): $12.50
  • Children (under 5): free*
  • Family (2 adults + 2 children 5 - 17): $60.00
  • Military, Miltary families, & Veterans: free*

*Tickets available at the door. 
To purchase tickets in advance, please click here


Parking at the Museum is reserved for HANDICAP ONLY during Candlelight Stroll. All other visitors should utilize the FREE VINTAGE CHRISTMAS TROLLEY, provided by the City of Portsmouth, and public parking areas. For a downloadable PDF map of public parking and Trolley route, click here.

* The Vintage Christmas trolley operates on Dec 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22. It does NOT operate on December 7 as it is in the CITY OF PORTSMOUTH HOLIDAY PARADE.*

WEATHER: Candlelight Stroll is held regardless of weather conditions. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.

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.

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:

Please support these generous sponsors who support Candlelight Stroll:

Lincoln Financial Group
Amica (for the carriage rides)
D. F. Richard
Exeter Hospital (children's treasure hunt)
Proulx Oil & Propane
RM Davis
Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank
People's United Bank
Cambridge Trust
Heinemann (costumed vintage skaters)
Northeast Delta Dental
Port Inn
First Period Colonial
Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside
Wentworth by the Sea Marina
Hamilton Marine
Seacoast Hardwood
Gray & Gray Yacht Brokers, Inc.