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NEW ENGLAND — NOVEMBER EVENTS 2014

November in New England is a time for great holiday shopping (and great deals!), beer festivals, and the start of Christmas celebrations. Below are just a few of the major New England events in November and those that celebrate the Thanksgiving season. See individual websites for date and time confirmations and any associated fees.

For a full list of New England events for November, click the individual state links at the bottom of the page.


1627 Harvest Dinner with the Pilgrims -- Public Historical Dining

Select dates throughout November
Plimoth Plantation – Plymouth, Massachusetts

Step back into the year 1627 for an evening of entertainment and hospitality with the residents of the English village. Sit down to a “groaning board” filled with the finest food that this season of plenty has to offer. Discover the table manners that traveled across the Atlantic with the “Pilgrims,” (remember not to wipe your mouth with the tablecloth!) and find out about what really happened at the harvest celebration of 1621. During dinner, you will be entertained with psalms and songs and perhaps you will be convinced to join in singing a round or two.


Maine Brewers Festival

November 1, 2014
The Portland Expo – Portland, Maine

This festival celebrates the quality and community of Maine’s craft brewers and their tasty celebrated brews. Great food, door prizes, interesting vendors, and fantastic music round out the experience. On Friday evening the Brewers VIP Session will kick off the event, and the festival will begin on Saturday afternoon with two high-energy sessions. Festival attendees will receive a complimentary tasting glass (real glass!) with tickets to enjoy 12, 4-oz pours of Maine craft beer. You must be over 21 years of age to attend.


Coggeshall Farm Museum Historic Foodways & Hearth Cooking Workshop

Every Sunday in November
Bristol, Rhode Island

Participants in this workshop will spend an evening at Coggeshall Farm Museum exploring what it meant to “eat local” in 1790s Rhode Island.  Working from Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery, the first American cookbook, originally published in 1796, guests will prepare several receipts at the hearth using meat and produce raised on the farm before setting the parlor table in the fashion of 18th century New England. Space for this workshop is limited and is intended for ages 16 and up. Reservations are required.


NH Annual Open Doors: A Statewide Shopping & Touring Event

November 8-9, 2014
Locations statewide

Experience the creativity and timeless traditions of New Hampshire during NH Open Doors when local artists, craftspeople, cultural organizations, retail shops, wineries, restaurants, lodging establishments and businesses will open their doors to the public, showcasing the best that New Hampshire has to offer. To help visitors plan their self-guided tour, the NH Open Doors website will feature an interactive map listing participants by region. Participants will be hosting special events, including craft demonstrations and workshops, hayrides, food samplings, special menus featuring local foods, musical performances, special lodging packages, and more.


Annual Franklin County CiderDays

November 1-2, 2014
Sites throughout Franklin County, Massachusetts

CiderDays is a community event celebrating all things apple in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Come join the fun with two days of orchard tours, cidermaking and tastings, workshops and much more. This is for all who love apples, fresh or hard cider, apple cuisine, apple orchards or just being in New England in the fall. There is a charge for some of the activities but there is no admission for many of the activities at local orchards or for the workshops or Marketplace at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls.


WaterFire

November 8 & 29
Waterplace Park – Providence, Rhode Island

WaterFire is a highly unique public art experience that has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Rhode Island’s creative capital city of Providence. The event is based on an original artistic installation of bonfires lit on the three waterways passing through downtown Providence. On select evenings throughout the year, WaterFire creates a magical artistic event celebrating earth, air, fire and water. Amidst the flickering firelight of 100 bonfires, stroll through Waterplace Park to enjoy enchanting music and entertainment acts from around the world. And it’s free!


Boston Christmas Festival & Gingerbread House Competition

November 7-9, 2014
Seaport World Trade Center – Boston, Massachusetts

This annual Christmas festival features the distinctive work of more than 300 master American craftsmen. Bargain hunters, as well as those with extravagant tastes, will find an endless array of gorgeous home accessories, designer fashions, artisan jewelry, handcrafted holiday décor, gourmet specialty foods and one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts unavailable elsewhere. Don’t miss the popular Gingerbread House Competition, a crowd favorite showcasing the amazing talent of Boston’s top chefs. Go online for a discount coupon.


Essex Stream Train – Santa Special

Select dates throughout November and December
Essex, Connecticut

All aboard the Santa Special for a one-of-a-kind holiday experience! Enjoy the spirit of the season as you relax with family and friends aboard festive rail cars adorned with vintage decorations. Bring your camera for that special moment. Santa promises to visit each child to review his or her Christmas list. Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin will be on board to spread holiday cheer. Plus, each child will receive a small holiday gift from Santa’s Elves!


Blackstone Valley Polar Express

Select dates throughout November and December
Cumberland, Rhode Island

A 90-minute train ride on the Providence & Worcester Railroad. Enjoy story reading of the Polar Express; hot chocolate and cookies, special Christmas gift; coloring books and crayons, and a holiday sing-a-long. Visit the holiday shop under the tent! Be sure to bring a camera for photos with Santa!


2014-2015 Boston Common Ice Skating Season

Mid-November 2014 – Mid-March 2015 (16-week Season
Boston Common – Boston, Massachusetts

Close your eyes and your senses return you to 1634 as you skate on the Frog Pond in America’s oldest public park. Join local residents and visitors alike as they glide over the carefully manicured, refrigerated surface. The Frog Pond skating rink is open from November to mid-March with at least 100 days of seasonal skating. Whether you’re practicing for a 9.9 at the Winter Olympics or simply trying to stand on two feet, the ice at the Frog Pond will always be accommodating.


Craft Vermont Annual Holiday Fine Craft & Art Show

November 21-23, 2014
Sheraton Conference Center – South Burlington, Vermont

This premier, once-a-year show features the high-quality work of Vermont artisans, members of the state’s oldest and largest juried crafts organization.


America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration

November 21-23, 2014
Plymouth, Massachusetts

This event is held at the birthplace of Thanksgiving, Plymouth, Massachusetts, on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The celebration of Thanksgiving becomes history brought to life as Pilgrims, Native Americans, soldiers, patriots and pioneers proudly climb out of the history books and onto the streets of Plymouth. The festivities include historical reenactments, patriotic concerts, vintage cars and a food festival with the area’s best chowders, soups and desserts. The unique Thanksgiving Day parade offers spectacularly creative floats, individually produced by local craftsmen.


Blink! at Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Late November through December 31, 2014
Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Blink!, featuring the programmed music of the Holiday Pops, is a fun new experience at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Each night, an LED light & sound production fills the marketplace with the sounds and scenes of the holiday season. There will be 12 productions each night starting at 4:00 pm and running every half an hour through 10 pm.


Christmas at the Newport Mansions

November 22, 2014 through January 4, 2015 (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Newport Mansions – Newport, Rhode Island

The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House — three National Historic Landmarks and icons of the Gilded Age in America — are filled with thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens and wreaths. A total of 28 decorated Christmas trees reflecting individual room decor anchor many of the magnificent spaces. Dining tables set with period silver and china complete the elegant setting. And, windows of each mansion are lit with individual white candles, in keeping with the colonial tradition. Make holiday memories with your family by visiting these magnificent historic houses dressed in their Yuletide finery. (All properties closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).


UBS Parade Spectacular

November 23, 2014
Stamford, Connecticut

One of the largest helium balloon parades in the country, the UBS Parade Spectacular features more than 22 gigantic balloons, plus more than 40 award-winning marching bands, spectacular floats, dance troupes, marching units and special guests.


Vermont Sugar & Ice Festival

Late November TBD
Essex Resort & Spa - Essex Junction, Vermont

This festival celebrates delicious Vermont specialties. Come taste ice ciders, ice wines, maple goodies and other treats and learn about how they are made from the producers themselves. Then, stock up for the holidays! Vermont ice cider, the feature of this special holiday shopping event, is made from freezing the juice of Vermont apples and then fermenting the resultant concentrate after successive melt offs. Vermont ice ciders are being recognized nationwide, with many winning gold medals. Purchase tickets online in advance for special savings and book a room at the special event rate.


Old Sturbridge Village Thanksgiving Weekend & New England Wedding

November 27-30, 2014
Sturbridge, Massachusetts

To mark one of just a handful of holidays on the early New England calendar, Old Sturbridge Village re-creates various activities from an early New England Thanksgiving Day, including cooking at the hearth, demonstrations of 19th-century table manners, a Thanksgiving sermon, and after-dinner entertainment. As part of the celebration, the village will host a New England wedding. Thanksgiving was a favorite time for many early 19th-century marriages, as family gathered for the holiday. Visit with the bride as she prepares for the wedding and enjoy a dramatic presentation about the couple’s courtship and marriage, including their re-created wedding ceremony.


Bright Nights at Forest Park/Spirit of Springfield

November 26, 2014 – January 2, 2015 (closed December 1 & 2)
Springfield, Massachusetts

One of New England’s best holiday lighting experiences with more than 600,000 lights along a 3-mile route. Follow the lit path through Santa’s Magical Forest to Santa’s Cottage. Enhance your Bright Nights experience with Dinner with Dickens at the Barney Carriage House. Guests will be greeted by carolers from the grand Victorian era, welcoming them to the historic Barney Carriage House. They will be served a sumptuous buffet dinner and hear Charles Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.


Boston USA Shopping Madness Weekend

November 28 - December 30, 2014
Greater Boston Region

Official beginning of shopping holiday season! Most shops open early and close late daily until Christmas.


Midnight Madness – New England Outlet Stores

November 28, 2014
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont

The Madness at Midnight is back! Many New England shopping outlets open at midnight on Thanksgiving night and deep-discount sales continue throughout the weekend. Check the Discover New England outlet shopping page for specific locations.


Ventfort Hall: A Home for the Holidays

Late November – New Year’s Eve (Closed Christmas Day)
Lenox, Massachusetts

Come tour the Ventfort Hall mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox, Massachusetts, for the holidays with its beautiful decorations, holiday events, Victoria teas, museum shop and more. Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of American financier J. P. Morgan. This magnificent Berkshire “cottage” was rescued from demolition and has undergone substantial restoration. It was even used in the Academy Award-winning film The Cider House Rules. Ventfort Hall is now the home of The Museum of the Gilded Age, which interprets the great changes that occurred in American life, industry, and society during the Nineteenth Century, a fascinating period of American history.


Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Winterfest and the Tunnel of Lights

November 28-30 and select dates in December, 2014
East Windsor, Connecticut

Leave the hustle and bustle behind and enjoy the holidays as they were meant to be — take a memorable trolley ride during the holiday season. Ride a closed car or brave the cold to ride the open “electric sleigh.” Join your motormen in singing traditional Christmas carols as the trolley makes its way through the “Tunnel of Lights.” Returning to the Visitor Center, it’s always a race to get into the warmth and enjoy a nice steaming cup of hot cocoa as you listen to the entertainment and admire all the model trains and displays.


Annual Thanksgiving Events at Billings Farm

November 28-30, 2014
Woodstock, Vermont

This event features traditional cooking demonstrations in the farmhouse, horse-drawn wagon rides, farm tours, and hands-on Thanksgiving activities and programs for every age. You’ll be welcomed to Frederick Billings’ farmhouse, where farm manager George Aitken and his wife and four daughters lived and worked in 1890. Talk with costumed interpreters as they prepare a bountiful Thanksgiving meal featuring roast goose, oyster soup, turkey hash, mincemeat pie and, of course, turkey. Relax in the Victorian parlor as you learn how our American Thanksgiving tradition evolved. Enjoy a freshly baked treat before boarding the farm wagon pulled by Percheron horses for a ride around the farm.


Country Christmas in Bethel, Maine

Weekends from Thanksgiving to Christmas
Bethel, Maine

Country Christmas in Bethel is held on weekends Thanksgiving to Christmas, with a few mid-week activities, also. Come to the Local Craft & Wares Fair, enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides through historic Bethel village, Santa Sunday at Sunday River Ski Resort, shopping specials and open houses — a fun country Christmas atmosphere.


The Polar Express: North Conway, New Hampshire

Late November and select dates in December 2014
North Conway, New Hampshire

A magical Journey to the North Pole in the midst of New Hampshire’s White Mountains! This is the original Polar Express event that includes a wonderful train ride, a sea of elves and, of course, Santa himself! With exclusive treats and gifts, your two-hour holiday journey will include a wonderful walk to the North Pole Theater, where the little boy in Chris Van Allsburg’s story has grown old, and will read the Polar Express book to explain his journey when he was young. This highly popular event is run by the local nonprofit organization, Believe in Books Literacy Foundation. Tickets are available by lottery and through select lodging properties that include them in special packages.


Putney Vermont Craft Tour

November 28-30, 2014
Putney, Vermont

The artisans of the Putney area invite you to visit their studios and see firsthand where they create unique objects and fine art amidst the beauty of southeastern Vermont. With 26 studios, there is ample opportunity to spend just a couple of hours or up to a couple of days exploring the beautiful Vermont countryside. Each studio offers the visitor a reflection of the personality of its artist and the work created inside. Many artisans offer demonstrations and all are happy to talk about their work and the process of its creation.


Old Deerfield Holiday Craft Fair

November 28-30, 2014
ESE Young Building - West Springfield, Massachusetts

As a juried craft fair, the Old Deerfield Craft Fair selects its exhibitors for their quality. The wonderful variety of crafts includes quilts, baskets, wood carvings, pottery, dolls, dried flower arrangements, teddy bears, decoys, tin, theorem, stenciling, jewelry and more. The Old Deerfield Craft Fairs have been among the highest ranked shows in Massachusetts and New England by Sunshine Artist Magazine, for 25 years a major publication of the arts and crafts movement in the United States.


Rockland Festival of Lights

November 28-30, 2014
Rockland, Maine (midcoast)

Celebrate the holidays in scenic midcoast Maine. Santa arrives on Friday at noon via the Coast Guard boat to signal the beginning of the festivities and the world’s largest lobster trap “Christmas Tree” is lit at dusk. On Saturday, the downtown merchants put on “Eat, Drink and be Merry” all afternoon where they offer holiday sales, and food and drink offerings to make your holiday shopping merry! There’s a Festival of Lights Craft & Gift Market at the Samoset Resort. The afternoon is completed with a Holiday House tour that benefits the Rockland Public Library and features all of the historic inns of Rockland and other private homes in town decked in their holiday finery. Saturday night brings the Light Parade, a bonfire and caroling at the Public Landing. Sunday, enjoy Breakfast with Santa at the Tradewind’s Red Jacket Restaurant.


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