|Holly Nights at Pennsbury Manor via Facebook|
Winter schedules are in effect at many sites on the Trails of History, so please be sure to check ahead before visiting. All sites will be closed on Dec. 25, with the exception of Washington Crossing Historic Park (see below for more info).
Anthracite Heritage Museum
Dec. 15: Holiday Toy Showcase and Celebration—Enjoy displays of vintage toys, author Ron Stiltenpole reading from his book Magic Coal for Santa, and shop for unique gifts in the museum store. Make an ornament to take home and sample homemade cookies, too. Admission is $5. 2 pm. (On a related note, the Scranton Times-Tribune recently featured an article about coal and Christmas.)
Cornwall Iron Furnace
Dec. 7: Christmas at Cornwall House Tour—This annual tour lets you explore private homes in the Cornwall/Lebanon area while supporting the Friends of Cornwall Iron Furnace. Tickets are $15 in advance (that would be today) at several locations in the community or, with a credit card, by calling 717/272-9711. On the day of the tour (i.e. tomorrow), tickets are $20 and can be purchased only at Cornwall Iron Furnace. (Your house tour ticket also entitles you to a tour of the Furnace during regular hours between Dec. 7 and Dec. 31.) 10 am-4 pm.
Daniel Boone Homestead
Dec. 8: A Homestead Christmas—Explore English and German Christmas traditions, enjoy hot chocolate and wassail, visit with Santa, and shop for baked goods and gifts for the history-minded folks on your list. Admission: Adults (age 16+), $6; Children (age 5-15), $4; Friends of DBH, $0. Noon-4 pm.
Dec. 14: Here Comes Santa Claus! Santa’s Workshop and Holiday Bonfire—This is a new event, with opportunities to make 18th-century style toys, sing carols by the fire, and shop for handmade ornaments and decorations. Plus a rare chance for an evening tour of the Boone house. Admission: Age 5+, $4; Friends of DBH, $0. 6-9 pm.
Drake Well Museum
Dec. 14: Santa’s Workshop—Children in grades 1-5 are invited to make a craft, watch a holiday movie, shop for gifts for family and friends, and share a snack. Registration is required and a fee is charged; call the museum at 814/827-2797 to sign up. 1-3 pm.
Eckley Miners' Village
Dec. 7-8: Children’s Christmas Program—Includes a tour of the village, a wagon ride, arts and crafts, storytelling, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission: Adults (13+), $5; children (5-12), $10. Reservations required; call 570/636-2070. 1-4 pm.
Dec. 7-8 & 14-15: Victorian Christmas—This program takes place in the 1861 Sharpe House and features Victorian decorations, tea, and cookies. Ornaments and teacups will be available for purchase as part of this fundraising event. Admission is free. 1-4 pm.
Dec. 9-10: Christmas at the Cloister—This popular annual program combines traditional music (sung by the Ephrata Cloister Chorus) and readings. Admission: $6. Tickets are limited and may be sold out by the time you read this; call 717/733-6600. Programs at 6:30, 7:45, and 9 pm.
Dec. 26-29: Lantern Tours—Tour the site and follow the story, presented by junior and senior high school students under the guidance of museum staff. Tours start every half hour and leave from the visitor center. Reservations are required and tickets do sell out; call 717/433-6600 to reserve your spot. 6:30-8 pm.
Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Dec. 13: Christmas Tree Ship—This program features Niagara lit up for Christmas, lots of family activities, a visit with Santa, and a reading of Carol Crane’s maritime story “The Christmas Tree Ship.” Admission is free. Please bring hygiene products (toilet paper, toothpaste, facial tissues, etc.) or new infant items (onesies, booties, etc.) to help local families. Or you can sponsor a tree for $25 (contact Julie Wagner, 814/452-2744 x222 or email@example.com). 5:30-8:30 pm (Santa arrives 6-ish).
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Dec. 7-8 & 14-15: Country Christmas Village—Enjoy a Pennsylvania German Christmas, with all kinds of trees, der Belsnickel, plus complimentary cocoa and gingersnaps. On Dec. 7 at 1 pm, handbell ringer Ron Bellamy will perform (find a preview on YouTube). Included in regular admission. Dec. 7 & 14, 10 am-4 pm; Dec. 8 & 15, noon-4 pm.
Dec. 13: Holiday at Landis Valley Bonfire—What’s not to like? Caroling, a blazing bonfire, wagon rides, hot cider and cookies. And it’s free—Landis Valley’s gift to the community. Return the favor by bringing canned goods to donate to the Lancaster Food Bank. 6-8:30 pm.
Dec. 14: Days of the Belsnickel Lunch—Tour the village to see the holiday decorations and open hearth cooking, then enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal at the Landis Valley Hotel and shopping at the Landis Valley Museum Store. Der Belsnickel will be on hand to liven things up. Cost is $32.50 per person. Reservations required; call 717/581-0590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 11 am.
Dec. 21: Old Fashioned Children’s Christmas—Enjoy a visit to the one-room schoolhouse for Christmas-themed activities, including a take-home craft. Included in regular admission (no reservations required). 10 am-3 pm.
Dec. 26-27: Winter Day Camp—A great way to keep everyone happy and sane during school break. Registration is required; for details call 717/569-0401 x228 or email email@example.com. 8:30 am-4:30 pm.
Old Economy Village
Dec. 7-8: Christmas at the Village—Enjoy Christmas carols sung by local choirs, shop for handmade wares by local craftspeople, and stop by the Granary for children’s activities and to see whether Belsnickel’s book has you down as naughty or nice. Admission: Adults (12-64), $12; Seniors (65+), $9; Youth (3-11), $5. Please start at the Visitor Center to purchase tickets and then proceed to the village. Dec. 7, 2-9 pm; Dec. 8, 2-7 pm.
Dec. 14: Christmas Dinner—Join with other supporters of Old Economy for a festive evening of dining and music. Cost is $75 per person or $60 for Friends of OEV (you can also purchase a table for 6 or 8 people). Reservations are required by Dec. 7; call 724/266-4500 x 114. 6 pm.
TONIGHT: (the second night of) Holly Nights—A special opportunity to see Pennsbury illuminated by candlelight, bonfires, and hearth fires. Enjoy caroling, hot cider, and throwing a green sprig on the Yule log for luck. Entertainment schedule. Admission: Adults (12-64), $12; Seniors (65+), $10; Children (3-11), $6. The downloadable discount coupon is good for $1 off adult admission. 6-9 pm.
Pennsylvania Military Museum
Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute—Gather with others beneath the guns of the USS PENNSYLVANIA (adjacent to the museum parking lot) to mark the 72nd anniversary of the attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. 12:45 pm.
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 7 and 14: Home for the Holidays—Costumed engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and passengers representing the past century bring historic rail travel to life. Kids can visit with Santa or work with a telegrapher to send a Christmas telegram to the North Pole. Holiday music, refreshments (while supplies last), and shopping are part of the day too. Included in regular admission. 9 am-5 pm.
Dec. 31: Final day to see the Museum’s 2013 special exhibit, “From Your Lens: Images of Contemporary Railroading.” Included in regular admission, during regular operating hours.
State Museum of Pennsylvania
Through Dec. 29: War of 1812 bicentennial exhibit—On loan from the Canadian Consulate, the exhibit looks at the war from different perspectives—American, Canadian, British, and Native American. Included in regular admission.
Through Jan. 19: “A 20th-Century Christmas Tradition” features model trains from private collections and the Gruff Family Christmas Display from the museum’s permanent collection. Included in regular admission.
Dec. 20: 3rd in the Burg/Learn at Lunchtime—Tour the "Chairs" exhibit with museum director David W. Dunn at 12:15 pm. Museum admission is free from 11 am to 1:30 pm.
Dec. 21: Kwanzaa and Christmas Celebration—A collaboration of Nathaniel Gadsen’s Writers Wordshop, this program is a celebration of family. Food, music, workshops, and more. Admission is free. 10 am-3 pm.
Dec. 27: Noon Year’s Eve—Ring in 2014 a few days early at this popular program for young children and their families. Dancing, crafts, and snacks leading up to the big firefly drop in Memorial Hall at noon. Included in regular admission. 10 am-noon.
Washington Crossing Historic Park
Dec. 7: A Night of REBELry—A festive fundraising event to support the programs at Washington Crossing. (I’m not sure if tickets are still available; best to call 215/493-4076 to check).
Dec. 8: Dress Rehearsal—Historical demonstrations, activities, and the final rehearsal for the reenactment of the Christmas 1776 crossing of the Delaware by Gen. Washington and Continental troops. Admission: Adults (12+), $8; Children (5-11), $4. 11 am-3 pm (crossing is scheduled for 1 pm).
Dec. 25: 61st Annual Christmas Day Crossing—Thousands of folks will be on hand to watch as Gen. Washington (portrayed by John Godzieba) and three Durham boats full of reenactors cross the Delaware River (weather permitting). The event is free. 1-3 pm.