It seems that this celebration in Upstate New York is known by just about everyone to whom I mentioned it. As you might remember , my son and his family are living there now. This quaint village is located on one of the Finger Lakes in central New York.
As you can see, the lakes are named appropriately. This area is a big tourist draw most of the year with many vineyards, apple picking, and wineries. Yes, this is the area from which wine is produced if you have bought New York wine. I have not visited Napa Valley in northern California but the pictures I have seem show large vineyards and grand wineries. The ones in New York are smaller and usually family owned and run.
Oh I digressed. . . . but really I am setting the scene. There are many tourists in the summer, but the winter is another story. Who chooses to visit the “snow belt” where it snows or rains every day from October to April because of the “lake affect?” ( This statistic was told by the guide when my daughter and I toured Syracuse University. She attended and the weather was not one of her favorite things though she loved her college experience. From the map you can see that Syracuse is about 30 minutes from Skaneateles.
OK, this dreamy little town of quaint shops, the lake, and the gazebo came up with an idea bout 20 years ago. They turned Skaneateles into Charles Dickens characters from A Christmas Carol and encouraged shopping from well stocked shops and stepping back into history, all at the same time! Actually some of the restored buildings date back to 1796 which is pre-Victorian so it looked the part.
Our experience started by witnessing the World’s Smallest Christmas Parade which lasted exactly 10 minutes. Blink and you would miss it, but standing in temperatures in the teens, made it a great idea to be short and sweet. English Bobbies(policemen) shouted the opening of the celebration with the modern police escorting the Victorian characters from A Christmas Carol . Prominent was John Tyler, the President of the day, Queen Victoria, Scrooge and Father Christmas bringing up the end with shouts of “Happy Christmas!” Interactions with the visitors are encouraged by these characters as they stroll up and down the streets. There are revels at the town gazebo on the edge of the lake, scenes performed by the Dickens characters, an award of a silver teasel for the most spirited performance, horse drawn wagons ,carriage rides, and even roasted chestnuts with hot cocoa.
This little Upstate village of 2,450 residents has discovered how to accommodate a total of 20,000 visitors spread over every weekend from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. Good cheer, laughter, and fun in the midst of winter in the snow belt! And don’t forget the shopping!
Here are my “lovelies”. Don’t they look happy at just one more picture?
Live, Laugh, and Love in Skaneateles!
Images from Google Images. . . .Public Domain