WESTON, Vt. – Though the skies may have been cloudy with a chill in the air, festive holiday decorations and Christmas activities throughout the town of Weston kept visiting families and holiday revelers basking in the warmth of the festive season.
This is Christmas in Weston, a daylong townwide celebration that kicks off the season “celebrating traditional holiday nostalgia.” This past Saturday, Dec. 1 marked the 34th year this event has been attracting visitors from near and far to enjoy a bevy of free, Christmas themed events and activities for all ages happening in the galleries, shops, museums, and inns throughout this idyllic picturesque village.
Not to be missed is the horse-drawn carriage ride, ours led by driver Kent Stafford steering his sturdy equine team of Dan and Duke, all of North Meadow Farms. The jaunty circuitous route down Main Street and around the Village Green, offered an excellent view of the many stores, museums, shops, and booths that were offering foods and activities.
Heart and soul of Weston’s Main Street is The Vermont Country Store, which outdoes itself each year with its festive holiday decor. Once inside, it is like stepping back in time with old-fashioned bins, wooden drawers, and shelves brimming with nostalgic foods, products, toys, clothing, and sweets. There’s always plenty to sample here with sweets, dips, and cheeses available for tasting throughout the store. Despite the long lines, visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus is an absolute must here and ultimately children are rewarded with a sweet and unhurried moment with the most authentic Santa and Mrs. Claus I’ve ever seen.
Other Weston shops like Weston Village Christmas Shop and Weston Country Store were festive and bustling with shoppers and also had samples, cider, and cookies for shoppers. There was also a cozy fire set for roasting marshmallows in front of the Weston Country Store.
Many food booths and tables were set up throughout town and on the Village Green selling soups, chili, sausage and peppers, hamburgers, and hot dogs. There were also more formal dining options in the restaurants.
Kids’ craft activities were happening around town at The Little School and at the John Wilder Memorial Library, and there were two magician performances at the Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm.
More mature revelers packed the Old Parish Church for a reading of “A Christmas Carol,” which was led by members of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company. It also involved many audience members who volunteered and were given parts once they were seated. In what felt like perfect timing, the Inn at Weston, conveniently located right next door to the church, was serving free tastings of Vermont craft beer and cheeses immediately following. The room was abuzz with many out-of-town visitors including four exuberant women I spoke with who were enjoying a ladies’ weekend, having traveled from the Maryland/D.C. area to enjoy the festivities.
The Farrar Mansur House Museum and Mill were also open for a tour, the only time to visit during the winter months. These early 19th century buildings, with many of their original furnishings and artifacts, all conveyed that same sense of nostalgia and stepping back in time.
The day culminated with Burr & Burton students leading carol singing as everyone gathered for the tree lighting on the Village Green.
Christmas in Weston traditionally happens during the first weekend in December and continues to be a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season.