One of the best kept holiday secrets on the East Coast is the annual Christmas Stroll on Nantucket Island. The island located off the coast of Massachusetts, has long been famous as a summer destination for the wealthy and occasional celebrity or well known politician. It is also renown for maintaining its charm and old-fashioned feel, accomplished through strict development and zoning laws that regulate what can be built.
The holiday season begins the first Friday after Thanksgiving, when the Chamber of Commerce sponsors an Annual Tree Lighting and Community Caroling event. Nothing could be more picturesque than the antique cobblestone filled town illuminated by over 150 Christmas trees, while sounds of the carolers fill the air. The 36th annual Christmas Stroll is held over the weekend of December 4th-6th as part of the month long Nantucket Noel Celebration.
One of the highlights is a Main Street parade featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrive by Coast Guard vessel, rather than sleigh, and ride up Main Street in a horse drawn carriage accompanied by the town crier.There are also carolers in Victorian costumes and a Magical Talking Tree to entertain the little ones. The shops and restaurants are all open and feature holiday themed window decorations and often offer hot toddies and cookies to visitors. It is a charming way to experience a little bit of an old-fashioned Christmas as well as get some early shopping accomplished.
There are many lodging options available for the special weekend. The Chatfield-Taylor Real Estate company has set up a special website for homes to rent for the Christmas stroll weekend. Many are quite conveniently located, either in town or within a short walking distance of the festivities, and come in all sizes in case you'd like to bring the extended family or just want a romantic couples retreat. There are numerous Inns and Bed & Breakfasts in town as well as the famous The Wauwinet a Relais & Chateau property located on the beach.
Gallery: Nantucket Stroll