Christmas by Candlelight – 2019

Up the path is the “downtown” section of the village.

I’ve written about this event more than once, but it remains one of the most enjoyable nights during the year, so I’m writing about it again. If you haven’t read, or don’t’ remember reading, Christmas by Candlelight is an annual event at Old Sturbridge Village (OSV), a living history museum which recreates life in New England during the early 1800s. While we normally visit OSV during warm weather and hopefully on nice sunny days, Christmas by Candlelight is held at night, during December and we were very happy to find snow still on the ground and a little snow in the air on Friday night.

Our visit began, as is our tradition, with dinner at The Thai Place. OSV has never been easy to find in the dark, and their address is the one school buses use for field trips, not the main entrance. But the entrance road is across from the parking lot of The Thai Place, so we use that as our reference. OSV finally published a different address to use for you GPS, but we decided to stick with our restaurant – one shouldn’t mess with tradition.

I’ll leave the rest of the explanation to the captions in the pictures.


  1. What a fine Christmas tradition, Dan. It looks fun! We had our Christmas Open House too where I am docent. I have a few photos, will have to post them. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia

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    • Thanks Judy. I have to agree about the photo-bomb subject. It was hilarious when it happened. She took the obligatory Dad picture a few minutes earlier. I said, “I’ll get a picture of you in a bit.” I wasn’t expecting this, but I like it.

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  2. One mustn’t mess with tradition, you are so right! Glad to see these winter shots – particularly the chap in the pottery – the night time lighting reveals the challenges of working without electricity.

    Great photos!

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    • Thanks Maggie. We stop there every year. We were the one year when the temp was in single digits (f) and the guy is working with wet clay. It made my head hurt. Some of the places have better lighting, so you can see the exhibit, but some are lit only by candles.

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  3. You are the second of my blog buddies to feature butterscotch schnapps. How did I not know of such a thing?! I love going on these Christmas tours. I visited OSV many, many years ago. Christmas looks to be the best time, though.

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    • If you’re going to serve Butterbeer, Lois, I recommend making one, two, perhaps six test batches. You need to know exactly how much schnapps to add. Do it for you guests.

      We visit OSV during the year, at least once during the day, but this event is special, and they keep expanding it a little more each year.

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    • I think that’s from one of the guests walking up to the door, but you’re right. I’ve discovered that it’s much harder to get good photos at night. The camera can adjust for the the buildings, but moving people are always a blur – except for my daughter who appears to have popped into one frame. Thanks for visiting.


  4. It’s always good to have tradition, Dan, especially during the holidays. It always gives me warm fuzzies to see your photos from OSV and know that you and Faith had your own warm fuzzies from the schnapps. That’s important while trudging around in the snow and cold…right?

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  5. LOVE the photo of Faith just “popping up”! Priceless. I also really like the lantern in the snow. How they worked ‘then’ and ‘now’ under not the best of conditions is nothing short of amazing.

    Beautiful village. Wonderful tradition for you and Faith. Thanks for sharing the tour. This is how I like to travel!

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    • Thanks Ginger. I am amazed at how well that picture turned out. I couldn’t have done that on purpose if I had unlimited attempts. The lantern is so intricate and beautiful. I think one will end up in our house at some point.


  6. What an enjoyable evening! It is so interesting to revisit earlier times and traditions. The photos are beautiful. It looks like the village was in the holiday spirit, too.

    Thai is always a good option for an outing dinner, although your menu looked limited ;-)

    When we were in Switzerland we went to Ballenberg, a beautiful open air museum with relocated historic houses. Disappearing cultures have always interested me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Maggie. I didn’t include the food photos because we were so hungry, we dug in pretty quickly.

      I love that they’ve made the effort to recreate an entire village, showing off all the various trades that would have been practiced at the time. We’ve been here many times, but we still haven’t seen the grist mill or the carding mill in operation.

      They have a project underway to build a cabinet shop, using period techniques, that will be home to an expanded exhibit that I know I want to tour.

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  7. Hi Dan. So pleased to meet with you again.Just a wonderful surprise to see your visit to my blog. Really appreciate you finding it. Look forward to reading and following your blog again.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your night mode looks like it did a good job of blending the images and canceling noise. You did a stellar job of holding still! I am guessing you didn’t use a tripod?

    I agree don’t mess with traditions! This looks like a neat place to have a hot drink and photowalk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah. I have taken a mini-tripod in the past. This camera does a nice job with night mode, as long as there are no people in the frame. I tried to get a picture of the horse-drawn wagon, but the horses are blurry because they were eating. I also make use of fence posts and other creative mono-pods. I was really surprised that it snagged Faith in the combined shot. That must have been the last image in the sequence because she isn’t blurred.

      It is a nice evening, and the cocoa and peppermint schnapps adds a nice warming touch.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We lived here for almost 30 years before even hearing about it, Diana. It’s only this time of year, and I think it runs through New Years – we overheard one of the leaders mention that they have a revenue goal for the event. I guess with places like this, the budget is never far from mind. I hope the refreshment stand brings in some extra money, because we really like that hot chocolate :)

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  9. Hi Dan – must have been lovely out there in the cold bright night air with the carols gently carolling around the audience … especially with a little snow on the ground, the warm Thai restaurant nearby … couldn’t be better. Ideal to start Christmas on its way – cheers Hilary …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Hilary. It really is a nice evening. Some of the buildings are heated, so you get to warm up a little. Most are not, but it’s still better than being outside, especially when it’s really cold. We were there one night when it was single-digits (f) and it was all we could do to get from one building to the next.

      The Thai Place was an accidental discovery, but it has been happily added to the tradition.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There are lots of traditions like that going on during these events, including bible stories being read, and told, Christmas carols being sung and folks standing around a bonfire.


  10. Loved this.  The prices steep but keeping these living history places going is very important, so worth it.  Sounds like fun!  We used to take  hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps to the Bronco games when it was so cold and snow covered the seats at Mile High stadium.  Now you can’t take anything in

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

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  11. Great photos of a lovely event. It looks like your camera’s night mode worked pretty well. I think I would have taken a couple of extra-large flasks of hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps with me as I visited the various cabins. They would warm my hands in my pockets and warm my belly going down.

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  12. Ah, it’s OSV time! I think these posts are now included in my own “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” vibe! It is SO pretty in the snow! I want a tin lantern now. The chestnut roaster and potter shop pics could be illustrations for the books of childhood. (Post-Colonial children’s lit for $1000, Alex, erm, Dan.) I love the way Faith popped up, all alit — great shot :) Thanks for taking us.

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    • Thanks. I’m glad it’s more tradition than “oh crap, Dan went to OSV aaaaaa-gain.” Faith’s pop-up photobomb is the best. I have no idea how my camera did that, but I couldn’t do it in a million years. I never realized what the tin lantern would look like lit up in the dark. It’s beautiful.

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  13. As much as I’m not a fan of snow, I do agree with you that Christmas lights do look lovelier with a coating of pristine snow around.

    Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps? Hmmmm … that does sound worth investigating 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joanne. We’ve experienced this even in all sorts of weather. From single-digit cold, to warmish yet still cold rain. Snow is by far the best weather. And, the addition of hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps has been the best change in the program.

      Liked by 1 person

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