In all the holiday hustle, it can be hard to enjoy the Yuletide’s famed “peace on earth.” There are cookies to be baked and lights to be strung and trees to be trimmed — and don’t forget about that stack of holiday cards, each awaiting your goodwill wishes. When you need to recharge your seasonal sparkle, consider spending a weekend somewhere you can simply bask in beautiful decorations and a festive atmosphere. There are many New England Christmas getaways that fill the bill; here are some of our favorites.
Best New England Christmas Getaways
Courtesy of the 1785 Inn
THE 1785 INN | North Conway, NH
The White Mountains provide a postcard-perfect backdrop for the season at this historic country inn famed for its holiday decor, which stays up from December 1 through the end of February. (The inn’s website boasts not one but five video tours of its decorations throughout the years.) Fireplace mantels become showcases, and throughout the inn, from floor to ceiling, you’ll find glittering arrangements of pointsettias and evergreens, lights, ribbons, and ornaments. The 1785 Inn is an ideal base for winter exploring and recreation, especially with a dozen ski resorts within a half-hour drive. But the most delicious reason to visit might be the Inn to Inn Cookie Tour, an annual weekend event during which participants visit several area inns, sample home-baked-sweets, and take home recipes for future inspiration. Named a 2014 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best View from an Inn.”
Courtesy of the Red Lion Inn
THE RED LION INN | Stockbridge, MA
More than 30 individually decorated Christmas trees adorn the sprawling Red Lion Inn, which has been lifting holiday spirits for generations of visitors to this picturesque Berkshires town. Aside from the miniature forest that crops up throughout the 125-room inn, you can count on finding lots of holiday cheer here — specifically in the form of daily entertainment in the lobby during December, ranging from live harp music to middle school carolers. Time your visit right, and you’ll be in the heart of one of New England’s most classic small-town celebrations: Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. This festive weekend in early December sees the whole town decked out for the holidays amid house tours, caroling, holiday readings, and more. The event highlight is a real-world re-creation of Norman Rockwell’s 1967 painting Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. Named a 2012 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Porch.”
Courtesy of Wilburton Inn
WILBURTON INN | Manchester, VT
The Levis family have been the innkeepers at this gracious 1902 mansion for three decades, and every year they put their own personal stamp on the holidays. Not only does a beautifully bedecked tree and other seasonal decor enliven the atmosphere, but you may also spy the inn mascot Jetson, a highly photogenic Cavalier King Charles spaniel, sporting his holiday finery. Dogs are welcome here, and in fact a signature event at the Wilburton is a “canine Christmas slumber party” weekend (doggy Santa Claus suits encouraged). And just outside the inn lies a holiday shopper’s paradise: Less than a 10-minute drive away are the 40-plus stores of the Manchester Designer Outlets, plus numerous locally owned downtown boutiques and the peerless independent Northshire Bookstore.
Courtesy of Cliffside Inn
CLIFFSIDE INN | Newport, RI
Though this 1876 Victorian mansion has all the garland and lights required for a festive feel, guests will also find reminders of the more spiritual (and global) side of the season here. Both avid travelers, innkeepers Nancy and Bill Bagwill have been collecting crèches — scenes of Jesus’s birth — from around the world for decades. During the Yuletide they display their unique finds, which hail from Croatia, Argentina, Tanzania, and other far-flung destinations. It adds a personal touch to the kind of luxury — imported linens, in-room fireplaces, spa showers — that makes Cliffside Inn a signature stay in Newport, long a favorite summer home of the Astors and the Vanderbilts. Plus, visitors to this seaside enclave will have no shortage of things to see and do in December, thanks to the jam-packed event calendar of the annual “Christmas in Newport” celebration.
READ MORE: Christmas in Newport
THE CAPTAIN JEFFERDS INN | Kennebunkport, ME
Each December, Kennebunkport’s two-week Christmas Prelude draws thousands of revelers and shoppers to this iconic Maine village by the sea. Founded in 1982, the holiday festival ranks high among New England’s can’t-miss events — and the Captain Jefferds Inn provides a terrific front-row seat to all the action. Fuel up for the day’s activities with a gourmet three-course breakfast, and after your hours of caroling, shopping, crafting, and touring are done, you can cozy up by the blazing hearth in this fully restored 1804 sea captain’s mansion and simply let the sugarplums dance in your head. Named a 2016 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Pet-Friendly B&B.”
Do you have some favorite inns and B&Bs for New England Christmas getaways? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.
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