TRENTON, N.J. – The Garden State will sparkle with candlelight tours, glittery floating Christmas trees, finely festooned Victorian homes, and historic lighthouses decked with Yuletide greenery. Across New Jersey’s neighborhoods, townships and seaside retreats, December is celebrated with tradition and 21st century twists. Check the list of festive offerings at www.visitnj.org.
Here is a look at some of the highlights of the season.
Hereford Inlet Lighthouse (Dec. 5, 5-7 p.m.) in Wildwood invites visitors to its annual Norman Rockwell-like Christmas tree lighting with Santa, music, refreshments and free admission. The working lighthouse and museum is open to the public for guided and self-guided tours that give a glimpse of lighthouse keeping life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. www.visitnj.org/nj-events/hereford-inlet-lighthouse-christmas-tree-lighting-ceremony
41st Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tour (Saturdays. Dec. 6, 13 & 27, 5:30 – 8:30p.m.), displays America’s largest collection of historic Victorian structures dressed in holiday finery. The self-guided tours will feature at least a dozen homes, inns, hotels and churches each evening, all decorated with Yuletide flair. Carolers and strolling musicians, Victorian festooned trees and garlands, and welcoming hospitality centers with warm beverages and home-baked goodies enhance the merriment and good cheer. Ticket prices include admission to the historic Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, and “An Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” exhibit at Carriage House Gallery. Plus, continuous shuttle service on heated trolleys. www.capemaymac.org/candlelighthousetours.html
Historic Smithville magically floats more than 120 lighted Christmas trees on Lake Meone (Nov. 28-Jan 1) the moment darkness falls. The trees are constructed from more than 50,000 Christmas lights that are orchestrated with music. The glittering trees reflect the water’s surface and appear to dance and chase each other across the lake. Each store in Historic Smithville is outlined in white twinkle lights that inspire a visit to the welcoming winter wonderland setting of unique shops and enjoyable eateries. www.colonialinnsmithville.com/blog/december-in-smithville
Holiday Candlelight Tour of Rockingham Historic Site at Kingston (Dec. 14, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.), is a uniquely themed tour of George Washington’s final Revolutionary War headquarters and the small farmhouse that is preserved and interpreted as the temporary residence of George and Martha Washington. The candlelight tour will display 18th-century Christmas traditions and celebrate New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary. Holiday tour guests will learn about different aspects of New Jersey’s history as they pass from room to room, led and informed by the period-dressed Live Historians Club of Montgomery Township High School. Period music will be presented by Practitioners of Musick, light refreshments will be available and the museum store open. Advance tour reservations are required, suggested admission donation is $5 and must be made by calling 609-683-7132 through Nov. 23 or 609-683-7136 after Nov. 23. www.visitnj.org/nj-events/holiday-candlelight-ours#sthash.XsceKLpO.dpuf
Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy with Lights (Nov. 28 – Dec. 30), has been a South Jersey Tradition for more than 25 years. Santa Claus will appear in his chimney promptly at 5 p.m. daily and wave his magic wand to light the park with over one million lights. All of Storybook Land rides, attractions and snack bars will be open. Santa will be in his house and light the park each evening through Dec. 23. www.visitnj.org/nj-events/christmas-fantasy-lights#sthash.UAj6GDGN.dpuf
At 36 feet, Cranbury claims New Jersey’s largest Christmas tree with 46,000 lights – more than the Rockefeller Center tree in New York City! Beginning Nov. 28, the entire holiday display of 120,000 lights will be choreographed with 19 songs – four new ones this year, and dance to the music for 70 minutes. New Jersey’s Number One Christmas Display for Charity will light up Cranbury for those in need and 100 percent of all donations made given to the Local Food Bank. A way of giving back to community, one New Jersey family prepares and pays for the annual free holiday display and asks visitors to donate what might have been spent on a family night at the movies – all for a good cause. www.cranburychristmaslights.com.
For more travel features, visit:
‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures
New: Moral Compass: Great Places to Go Where the Going Does Good
Check out our newest travel site for special deals, insiders’ tips at tidbitts.com: http://www.tidbitts.com/karen-rubin/where-in-the-world
Tags: Christmas illuminations, Christmas in New jersey, festivals, holiday festivals, holiday illuminations, holiday illuminations in New Jersey, holiday lights, holiday season events, New Jersey holiday events, winter holidays