The annual Holiday Cookie & Candy Tour hosted by Country Inns of the White Mountains brings hundreds of spirited—and hungry—holidaymakers to quaint northern New Hampshire. Dressed in Christmas colors and brandishing cameras and area maps, they go from inn to inn, noshing on homemade sweets and sipping cider in many a cozy parlor.
One of the fun traditions of the Cookie & Candy Tour is that each inn or B&B has to decorate a tiny tree for competition. All tour participants vote on their favorite, and the winner gets a sum of money for the charity of their choice. Pictured here, the tiny tree from Admiral Peary House, the newest stop on the tour as of 2012.
According to Northeastern US holiday lore, the peppermint pig is a Victorian tradition that used to be enjoyed after the family Christmas dinner. Breaking the hard candy pig into pieces and sharing it around the table was thought to be auspicious for a prosperous new year. If you’ve never shared a peppermint pig before, don’t fret — Saratoga Sweets in Upstate New York is famously reputed to be the only place that still makes them.
When it comes to sweet-themed activities, nowhere in the region tops Hershey for choice or spectacle. Treat the family to "Breakfast with Santa" at Hershey Lodge or plunder the shops in Hersheypark Christmas Candylane. Indulge in hot chocolate, s’mores and plenty of Kisses for all.
Another unique tradition, the lobster trap Christmas tree isn’t something you’re likely to spot outside a few New England fishing villages. Tall, green-sprigged, and bedecked with ornaments, these seem almost like normal Christmas trees — but look closer, and there’s no actual tree in there. Pictured is the largest lobster trap tree in Maine, made extra festive by its glowing lobster topper.
A renowned collection of nutcracker dolls and memorabilia, housed within a charming turreted Queen Anne Victorian: The LimeRock Inn in Rockland Maine is so Old World, you almost forget it’s in New England and not the Jolly Olde England across the pond.
Can’t get enough of that holiday sparkle? The Edaville Christmas Festival of Lights is one of the most popular Massachusetts family activities. This vintage amusement park transforms into a holiday fun village, the highlight of which is a train journey through the spectacularly lit holiday scenery. This decades-long tradition is a partnership with Polar Express.
Colonial Williamsburg isn’t a town so much as a living, historical park with Busch Gardens affiliations. Thus, during the holiday season, every person, venue and bit of landscape simultaneously erupts with theatrical Christmas cheer. There’s a Christmas Carol buffet and one-man performance, a ceremonial "Firing of the Christmas Guns," and of course, carolers, chocolate, ice skating, and a Christmas market.
Lena Katz is the author of the Travel Temptations series (SIP, SUN, SNOW), published by Globe Pequot Press in 2009. Lena is also a travel expert for Celebrations/1800FLOWERS and WEtv (online and on-air). She contributes to the South China Morning Post and ABC News online. Lena is a former Orbitz Travel blogger and former columnist for the LA Times. She's been published in Brides Magazine, Robb Rep...(Read More)