Previews of five upcoming events on the Cape & Islands—and details on 21 more
Here’s a few easy holiday-themed questions for you. Are you in the mood for any of the following seasonal niceties?
- Gazing upon impressive displays of holiday decorations?
- Enjoying a festive train ride with family and friends?
- Sampling delicious Cape Cod cookies and other homemade treats?
- Heading over to Nantucket or the Vineyard to see how folks on the Islands celebrate the season?
If your answers to the questions above came in some variation of “Yes, please!,” “Of course!,” “Obviously!,” and “Heck, yeah!,” then you are sure to enjoy the articles you are about to read. In the following pages, we preview five upcoming holiday events on the Cape and Islands—and offer additional details on 21 more!
There is a lot to celebrate this year, and these events should offer something seasonal and fun for everyone. From all of us at Cape Cod Life Publications, have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season!
Lighting up the tip of the Cape
The Illumination of the Pilgrim Monument -Wednesday, November 25
Celebrating a lengthy Outer Cape tradition, the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown will be illuminated with more than 3,000 lights this holiday season. The annual “Illumination” is held Wednesday, Nov. 25, from 5 to 7 p.m., and the monument will remain lit through Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016.
John McDonagh, executive director of the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum, says many Cape Codders view the illumination as the start of the holiday season. “It has become a beloved tradition for many families over the years,” McDonagh says. “It’s a wonderful tradition of the community gathering together to observe the monument’s mission and to herald the holiday season.”
The theme for this year’s festivities is “Provincetown’s Schoolchildren—Past and Present.” McDonagh says the museum’s trustees chose this theme to honor the town’s students over the years and all that they have accomplished. A student group will sing America the Beautiful prior to the monument lighting. Adding to the fun, baked goods and cider will be available for attendees, free of charge.
Completed in 1910 to honor the Pilgrims’ arrival in Provincetown, the monument stands 252 feet tall atop High Pole Hill. Measured from the harbor, the monument towers 353 feet above the water and can be viewed from miles away. The monument has been lit every holiday season since 1910, except for the World War II years, 1941 to 1945.
Given the monument’s size, McDonagh says testing the 19 strands of holiday lights used to light it is an endeavor in and of itself—and commences in October. Though colored lights were used in the past, today all of the lights are white. For more information, visit pilgrim-monument.org, or call 508-487-1310.
Next stop: Christmas Town
The Train to Christmas Town, Hyannis – Select dates in November & December
For the third year, Cape residents and visitors can experience the magic of the holidays with Bumblebee the polar bear, Wabash the squirrel and Zephyr the depot cat while being whisked away aboard the train to “Christmas Town.”
This one-hour train ride, which begins and ends in downtown Hyannis, is based on Peggy Ellis’s 2012 children’s book, The Train To Christmas Town. In the story, the main character, Janice, makes the annual train journey with her brother and grandmother, but unfortunately the grandmother cannot go this year due to health reasons. Nothing to fear, woodland animals, elves and Santa Claus join the siblings for the ride.
Operated by the Cape Cod Central Railroad, the train rides kick off on Thanksgiving weekend (Friday to Sunday, November 27-29), and run on the following dates in December: 4-6, 10-13, 17-23, and 26. The train departs from the depot at 252 Main Street in Hyannis for three nightly round-trips, beginning at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. In keeping with the spirit of the book, the location of “Christmas Town” on Cape Cod is kept secret, though passengers can view the colorful village as the train passes by.
“The Train to Christmas Town enables residents of Cape Cod to create a special holiday tradition for their families,” says Kaylene Jablecki, the railroad’s passenger services manager. “It’s a great way to share the magic of the season with neighbors, friends and family.”
The holiday-themed ride was originally based out of the Buzzards Bay railroad station, but the location was changed to make the attraction accessible to more Cape Codders.
Tickets range from $20 to $35 for children, ages 2-12, and from $25 to $50 for adults. The costlier tickets include commemorative mugs and seating on the train’s upper level which features better sightlines. For more information, visit traintochristmastown.com, or call 877-726-7245.
One hundred decorating ideas—all under one roof
Nantucket’s Festival of Trees – Select days, December 4-31
Searching for some inspiration for your holiday decorating? Do you enjoy looking at trees, ornaments, wreaths and lights? Lastly . . . want to get away? In December, the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) kicks off its 22nd annual Festival of Trees, a month-long celebration of the season and the island featuring 100 one-of-a-kind Christmas trees.
Held at the Nantucket Whaling Museum, the unique display is open to the public during museum hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, beginning December 4-6, and running through December 31. On Christmas Day, the museum is closed.
Stacey Stuart, the NHA’s special events manager, says the festival is held in conjunction with the island’s annual Stroll Weekend and many in the community are involved. For starters, Nantucket residents donate and decorate each tree. “What makes the festival special is the creativity,” says Stuart. “Everything from cement blocks to books has been used in the past to create trees.” Additional designs have featured buoys, postcards and more.
The concept for the festival was first raised in 1994 as the NHA was celebrating its 100th anniversary. Kimberly Corkran, then the president of the NHA’s board of trustees, wanted to host a series of events to commemorate the centennial. Her mother, Lucile, had seen a tree festival in Maryland, and Corkran thought it could work well on Nantucket. The rest is holiday history. Today, the annual event features 100 trees and more than 5,000 visitors attended in 2014. “This has now become one of the most highly anticipated events of the holiday season,” Stuart says. “Tickets sell out weeks before the event.”
The whaling museum is located at 13 Broad Street. Admission is free for members and children under 6. For non-members, general admission is $20, $18 for students and seniors, and $5 for year-round island residents and children ages 6 to 17. For more information, visit nha.org, or call 508-228-1894.
Island festival offers lights, cocoa and holiday spirit
Christmas in Edgartown – December 11-13
The Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse will shine brightly again this holiday season, illuminated by six strands of 225 holiday lights. Katy Fuller, marketing and events manager at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, says the 45-foot lighthouse, which has overlooked Edgartown Harbor since 1939, will be lit up Friday, December 11, at 6 p.m., and will remain illuminated through New Year’s Day.
The illumination event is part of the annual Christmas in Edgartown festival. Additional festivities scheduled for the three-day festival (December 11-13) include a chowder contest, a parade, photos with Santa, holiday sales offered at local shops and other holiday-themed activities.
Fuller says the festival, which is organized by the Edgartown Board of Trade, was begun as a way to generate a last burst of revenue for businesses in the town, many of which close their doors for the winter. “It’s their last hurrah for the year,” she says.
Back at the lighthouse, Fuller says crowds for the illumination event have grown over the years. “As the years have passed, the lighting has grown in prominence to really represent the Christmas season,” she says. “Islanders really love their lighthouses.”
At the event, carolers will be singing on the porch of the Harbor View Hotel, 131 North Water Street, and hot chocolate will be served. The lighting can also be seen from other spots along North Water Street—and from Lighthouse Beach. The event is free and open to the public, but the lighthouse itself will be closed.
For more information, visit mvmuseum.org, or call 508-627-4441.
Stroll, snack, and support the Yarmouth library
Holiday Cookie Stroll, Saturday, December 12
Like many who have taken part in the South Yarmouth Library Association’s annual Holiday Cookie Stroll over the years, Patricia Creighton is eagerly looking forward to this year’s event. Can you blame her? This year’s stroll features stops at 13 different homes and organizations in scenic Yarmouth—and approximately 6,300 homemade cookies!
Held Saturday, December 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the 10th annual stroll visits Bass River Shoe Repair, the Artists’ Paintbox Gallery, the South Yarmouth United Methodist Church, the Cape Cod Cultural Center, the South Yarmouth Library and eight private residences.
“Strollers enjoy seeing the holiday decorations in the lovely homes and receiving a festive, homemade cookie at each stop,” says Creighton, the library association’s president. “Some recipes are the homeowners’ favorites and others are selected from cookbooks and magazines.”
Issued to strollers, the event’s ‘ticket’ booklet has descriptions of each of the homes on the tour as well as information on the participating organizations. The booklet also includes a map of the two-mile strolling route as well as recipes for each of the oatmeal, chocolate chip, molasses and other kinds of cookies served along the way. The first 700 strollers will receive hand-sewn bags to hold the cookies they collect.
Begun in 2006 by former library trustee, the late Marjorie Fallows, the event generates $10,000 each year to benefit the library. “Marge saw this as a wonderful opportunity to raise funds,” Creighton says, “and she organized a committee of volunteers to pull together all facets of the event.”
Tickets cost $15, go on sale November 23, and can be purchased at the South Yarmouth Library, 312 Old Main Street; Adrene Jewelers, 1198 Route 28; or Bass River Shoe and Leather Repair, 146 Old Main Street.
For more information about the cookie stroll, visit yarmouth.ma.us, or call the library at 508-760-4820, ext. 1313.
The following is a list of 21 upcoming Holiday events on the Cape & Islands
CHRISTMAS AT THE SANDWICH GLASS MUSEUM
November 14 to December 30
Holiday festivities get underway at the Sandwich Glass Museum on Saturday, November 14, and run through December 30, as the museum presents its sixth annual Glassblowers’ Christmas. Hundreds of unique ornaments made by the region’s finest glass artists will adorn Christmas trees in the museum’s contemporary gallery. Even better—the ornaments are for sale. Located at 129 Main Street, the museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 27 through January 2
The holiday season on Nantucket is a magical time. Festivities begin the day after Thanksgiving with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and community caroling. From December 4 to 6, the island hosts its traditional Christmas Stroll event. Don’t miss this quintessential yuletide experience as the downtown’s cobblestone roads are filled with illuminated fir trees, strolling minstrels, and a town crier. Santa arrives by boat on Friday, December 4, to kick-start this holiday tradition. The fun continues through January 2, and many shops remain open through the New Year. Learn more at nantucketchamber.org.
HERITAGE MUSEUMS HOSTS “GARDENS AGLOW”
Weekends—November 27 to December 27
Heritage Museums & Gardens’ annual “Gardens Aglow” event is a tradition not to be missed. Featuring nine miles of holiday lights illuminated throughout the gardens, a stunning model train exhibit, music and dance performances, arts, crafts and carousel rides, this month-long event in Sandwich offers something for every member of the family. Gardens Aglow kicks off Friday, November 27, and is held Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, through December 27, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Learn more at heritagemuseumsandgardens.org.
CELEBRATE “A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS” IN EAST SANDWICH
November 28 to December 21
Stop by the Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen November 28-29, December 5-6, 12-13, and 20-21, and sample a cup of mulled cider and other tasty items while perusing a variety of holiday gifts. Located at 6 Discovery Hill Road in East Sandwich, the Green Briar shop offers jams, jellies, relishes, books and nature-related items as well as games, puppets and toys. The center is open Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, from 12-4 p.m.
“A SEASIDE CHRISTMAS” IN ORLEANS
November 29 through December 31
Celebrate the season with visits from Santa, a tree lighting and caroling during Orleans’ Seaside Christmas. The month-long event includes activities from Sunday, November 29, through Thursday, December 31. The town-wide celebration includes discount shopping and holiday treats at shops, galleries and restaurants around Orleans. Learn more at orleanscapecod.org.
BREWSTER FOR THE HOLIDAYS
December 4 to 6
Brewster’s annual holiday celebration begins with an illumination ceremony at 4 p.m. on Friday, December 4, at Drummer Boy Park, 773 Main Street. The day’s activities include a sing-along, tours of the Windmill Village, warm cocoa and treats. The fun continues Saturday, December 5, as children can participate in a snowman contest with the chance to win a “kid friendly” gift card. Also on December 5, the Eddy Elementary School, 2298 Main Street, hosts a holiday arts and crafts show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
IT’S “HOLLY FOLLY” WEEKEND
December 4 to 6
Provincetown rings in the season in its own unique way with the annual Holly Folly Weekend. Held Friday to Sunday, December 4-6, Holly Folly includes a Jingle Bell Run and Barefoot Champagne Brunch complete with a Speedo Run through the center of town. The Speedo Run is held Saturday, December 5, and steps off from Fanizzi’s at 9:30 a.m. Runners complete the one-mile route—some wearing their favorite speedo—to The Crown & Anchor, where a Barefoot Brunch Champagne is held. Other activities include dance parties, a sing-along, drag bingo, and plenty of shopping around town. Learn more at ptown.org.
HYANNIS’ “SPECTACLE OF TREES”
Stop by the JFK Hyannis Museum, 397 Main Street, and check out the unique decorations that comprise the 2015 “Spectacle of Trees.” A number of local non-profits, including the National Marine Life Center, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, and the Marstons Mills Public Library have decorated the trees—many with gifts on and beneath them. Visitors can view the trees Friday to Saturday, December 4-12, and support the organizations involved by donating “tree bucks,” which will enter them into a chance to win the trees. The more one donates, the greater the chance to win. All funds raised will go to local non-profits. Learn more at capecodcharitablefunraisers.com.
CAPE CODDER RESORT HOSTS “THE ENCHANTED VILLAGE”
December 4 to January 3
This holiday season, the Cape Codder Resort & Spa, 1225 Iyannough Road in Hyannis, will be transformed into an enchanted village featuring glittering lights, holiday displays, and a 32-foot tabletop Christmas Village with model trains, houses and more. Mr. Claus himself will even stop by on weekend evenings. The display is free and open to the public; however, donations of toys and non-perishable foods will be accepted. Learn more at capecodderresort.com.
NAUSET HIGH WINTER FESTIVAL
Hosted by Nauset High, 100 Cable Road, Eastham, this event, held Saturday, December 5, at 9 a.m., features performances from the school’s musical ensembles as well as a bake sale, craft fair, and tree sale. Funds raised will benefit the music department’s upcoming trip to Ireland. For more information, visit nausetschools.org.
EASTHAM HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
Sponsored by the Eastham Chamber of Commerce and Gift Barn, Eastham’s holiday festival is a great way to get in the holiday spirit on the Outer Cape. Held Saturday, December 5, this event draws hundreds of visitors each year and includes a visit with Santa at the Gift Barn, 4180A State Highway, North Eastham, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. From there, visitors can board a trolley to the Orleans-Eastham Elks Lodge to create holiday crafts, have their faces painted, and more. For more information, visit easthamchamber.com.
FALMOUTH’S ANNUAL JINGLE JOG 5K & ELF RUN
Don your most festive holiday attire while running in the annual Jingle Jog 5K and Elf Run on Saturday, December 5. Open to children under 12, the Elf Run is a one-half mile course and the event begins at 9 a.m. The Jingle Jog kicks off at 9:30 a.m. from the Marina Park Band Shell on Scranton Avenue. Learn more at falmouthchamber.com.
FESTIVAL AT TAYLOR-BRAY FARM
Get in the holiday spirit with a visit to Taylor-Bray Farm in Yarmouthport. The farm hosts a holiday festival Saturday and Sunday, December 5-6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The barn is filled with homemade baked goods, beach plum jelly, centerpieces and various other crafts, all made by volunteers. The farmhouse will be open to visitors and a hearth cooking demonstration will be offered. The farm is at 108 Bray Farm Road in North Yarmouthport. For more information, visit taylorbrayfarm.org.
SANTA AT THE CHATHAM FISH PIER
Don’t miss the chance to see Santa’s arrival at the Chatham Fish Pier. A Coast Guard vessel carrying Old Saint Nick will pull into the fish pier Sunday, December 6, at 1:30 p.m. Santa will then be escorted to the Chatham Community Center, 702 Main Street, for a visit with children. Learn more at chathaminfo.com.
SANDWICH HOLIDAY HOME TOURS
Sandwich’s Holiday Home Tours has become a favorite annual tradition. On Sunday, December 6, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., participants can tour historic B&Bs, inns, and private homes. Docents will be on site to present each home or building’s history and point out architectural details and unique furnishings. Learn more at sandwichchamber.org.
CHATHAM HOSTS CHRISTMAS STROLL
Celebrate the holiday season in scenic Chatham. Taken right from a Currier & Ives greeting card, Chatham’s Christmas Stroll commences Friday, December 11, at 5:45 p.m., with a parade and caroling along Main Street. A tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and a bell ringing performance follows. The festivities continue on Saturday, December 12, at 8:30 a.m., as the Wayside Inn, 512 Main Street, hosts a breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. For more information on these events, visit Chathaminfo.com.
MASHPEE CHRISTMAS PARADE
This annual event in Mashpee has become a favorite among residents and visitors. The festivities on Saturday, December 12, include a parade, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m., and runs through Mashpee Commons and out to South Cape Village. For more information, visit mashpeechamberchristmasparade.com.
VIEW CHARMING HOMES IN WEST FALMOUTH
Tour a selection of local homes and do some holiday shopping along the way. Held Sunday, December 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this tour includes visits to historic and contemporary homes in Falmouth. For more information, visit westfalmouthlibrary.org.
On Thursday, December 31, Sandwich’s First Night festivities begin at 4 p.m. and include a parade, ice sculptures, children’s crafts, food vendors, and a grand finale countdown. This non-alcoholic event offers something for everyone. The festivities conclude at 10 p.m. Learn more at firstnightsandwich.com.
START THE YEAR OFF RIGHT—AT CHATHAM’S “FIRST NIGHT”
Chatham celebrates its 25th First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve. This “Silver Jubilee” celebration begins Thursday, December 31, at 12:30 p.m., and offers face-painting, horse-drawn carriage rides, a parade, and more! The evening ends with a fireworks display. For more information, visit firstnightchatham.com.