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4 Festive Events That Capture New England's Christmas Spirit

From sea-inspired merriment in Kennebunkport to joyous affairs in 1830s' rural Massachusetts, the region is decked with charm at Christmastime.

Travelers capture the Northeast region’s holiday charms in historic destinations not far from Boston.

Christmas at the Newport Mansions

The goliath mansions on Rhode Island’s south coast are striking on any day, but to witness them decked out in holiday finery is one sumptuous sightseeing foray. From Nov. 21-Jan. 3, the halls of The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House boast such sights as Christmas trees and a 15-foot poinsettia tree, a garden-scale model of the New York Central Railroad, and gingerbread ‘mansions.’ Holiday Evenings offer mingling, eggnog and live music. Elegant merrymaking, here.

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth

Decorated door and costumed role player at Strawbery Banke, during Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
Decorated door and costumed role player at Strawbery Banke, during Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
 Enchanting anyone who experiences it Dec. 1-31, the colonial, coastal town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hosts holiday hoopla all month long. Events include Candlelight Strolls at historic Strawbery Banke, free trolley rides through Market Square (with plenty of tax-free boutique shopping opps), the holiday parade and tree lighting on Dec. 6, and theater at Victorian-era Music Hall. Vintage merrymaking, here.

Nantucket Noel

The quiet island of Nantucket livened up the day after Thanksgiving with its annual season of holiday events, including a European-style Christmas market, creches displays, festively frightening ghost tours, and the Nantucket Historical Association’s Festival of Trees through Dec. 31. Island merrymaking, here.

Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village

Santa in carriage
Santa gets a ride through Old Sturbridge Village during Christmas by Candlelight (©Old Sturbridge Village)
 Travel back in time to rural 1830s New England at living history museum Old Sturbridge Village, which gets into the holiday spirit with gingerbread baking demos, readings of the nativity Gospels, miniature village displays, loads of live music across the 200-acre campus, and visits from Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas and Santa, Fridays through Sundays through Dec. 20. Country merrymaking, here.