November and December offer amazing holiday displays and fun events for gardeners in the Northeast. From Candlelight Walks to Christmas teas and majestic trees made of dried flowers, you will find a wealth of inspiration for your own holiday celebrations. Below is just a sampling. If your organization has an event that is not listed, please feel free to add it in the Comments.
Christmas at the Newport Mansions
Newport Mansions, Newport, MA
November 17 - January 1
The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House are once again decorated with thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens, and wreaths. Thirty 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. Windows of each mansion are lit with individual white candles, in keeping with the colonial tradition.
A gingerbread model of each house, created by amazing local pastry chefs, will be on display in its kitchen.
Christmas at Blithewold
Blithewold, Bristol, RI
November 23 - January 1
Every year, Blithewold transforms into a dazzling display celebrating the magic of Christmas. Each room of the Mansion is filled with elaborate holiday decorations, and the gardens become a glimmering winter wonderland! This year’s theme is “A Family Gathering”, recreating the Christmas weekend at Blithewold in 1910 based on the family’s diary entries. Enjoy a winter marketplace, holiday teas and musical performances.
Candlelight Stroll and Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
Strawberry Banke, Portsmouth, NH
Museum grounds glow with hundreds of lighted candle lanterns, the houses are adorned with thousands of hand-made decorations crafted from live greens and dried flowers and herbs collected from the Museum gardens, and the air is filled with the sound of holiday music and scent of woodsmoke from the bonfire. Visitors stroll from house to historic house, greeted by costumed role players and performers who recreate the traditions of times past.
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Elm Bank, Wellesley, MA
November 23-December 9
The Festival of Trees, displayed in the Hunnewell Building, offers beautifully decorated holiday trees that are donated and decorated by local businesses, garden clubs, and individuals. Visitors “vote” with their raffle tickets, in hopes of being the tree winner at the end of the festival. Visitors can also enjoy the decorated buildings and grounds at The Gardens at Elm Bank with a stroll or a horse-drawn wagon ride. For the young at heart, there are Santa Visits and other activities.
Snow Village at Elm Bank is an enchanting display of model trains winding through villages and vignettes, including Christmas in the Boston, Fenway Park, and hundreds of decorated houses and lights. This amazing scenery in miniature is sure to get kids of all ages excited about the holiday season.
Florence Griswold Museum, Lyme, CT
As music of the season quietly plays, nibble delectable scones with clotted cream, assorted savory tea sandwiches, and seasonal sweets as lovely as they are tasty. Let the warmth of holiday cheer spread with each sip of Miss Florence’s Tea. Served in a delightfully eclectic assortment of china, the unique and elegant beverage is a blend of superior Ceylon and China black teas enhanced with a touch of vanilla and other delicate spices. The special blend is created over a two-day process by Sundial Gardens in Higganum, Connecticut.
Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich, MA
November 23 - December 30
Heritage’s expansive gardens will be aglow with beautiful light displays, extensive indoor holiday décor and numerous activities around the grounds and galleries. This year visitors can expect expanded lighting displays and outdoor interactives, along with all of your favorites from previous years!
Night Lights: Winter Reimagined
Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
November 23 - December 30
Outside, visitors have the opportunity to marvel at glittering lights displayed throughout 15 acres of formal gardens, including the Fairy Light Walk through the forest that ends at the Wild Rumpus. Inside, you can see trees decorated with hand-made, nature-inspired ornaments, a model train village, and two conservatories brimming with subtropical plants and seasonal music.
Wayside Inn Holidays
Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA
November 28 - January 7
Each room of the historic Wayside Inn is decorated by a different garden club with hand-made creations for the holidays. The inn features a holiday menu, and advance reservations are recommended.
Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, MA
A holiday marketplace of one-of-a-kind Christmas decorations and gifts made by local craftspeople, and a Gallery of Wreaths created by volunteer designers. Refreshments and goodies from the Garden Shop are also included.
Holiday Open House
Peckham's Greenhouses, Little Compton, RI
December 1 & 2, 9am-5 pm
A special sale of handmade gifts and holiday plants set in Peckham’s many greenhouses.
Naumkeag, Stockbridge, MA
Thursdays-Sundays beginning Nov. 23, 5-8 pm
Enjoy the spectacular garden of Naumkeag lit with thousands of shimmering holiday lights. Each weekend features performances and activities for the whole family, from the young to the young at heart. See something new throughout the season.
Vanderbilt Mansion Christmas Open House
Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park, NY
December 2, 10am-7 pm
The Mansion will be lavishly decorated for the holidays and refreshments will be provided by the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historical Association.
Holiday Train Show
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY
November 17–January 21
Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming past 175 New York landmarks on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition showcases Lower Manhattan—the birthplace of New York City—featuring the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and iconic skyscrapers sharing the spotlight among old and new favorites. Making their debut this year are One World Trade Center and the historic Battery Maritime Building along with two vintage ferry boats.
A Longwood Christmas
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA
November 22–January 6
This holiday season pays homage to the Christmas tree with an imaginative display featuring traditional favorites and inspiring new twists, from festive firs suspended from above to towering tannenbaums created from books, stained glass, and other unexpected materials.
Outdoors, gloriously illuminated trees lead you on an enchanting holiday journey through our Gardens. Sip cocoa and warm up by our welcoming firepits, listen to carolers sharing the melodic sounds of the season, and relish in the beauty and wonder of A Longwood Christmas.
Yuletide at Winterthur
Winterthur, Winterthur, DE
November 17–January 6
Each delightful room on this year’s Yuletide Tour tells a story reflecting the ways in which Americans have celebrated the winter holiday season from the 1800s to the present. Other decorations and displays recall H. F. du Pont’s family traditions during Christmas and New Year’s at Winterthur—including the family Christmas tree, glittering with glass ornaments and fringed by baskets brimming with gifts, one for each family member. Of special note is the majestic dried flower tree, on view in the Conservatory and featuring some 60 varieties of flowers.