To get into the proper holiday spirit early, the place to be the first weekend in December is the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut. Festivals galore start the season right in this region that is always as pretty as a Christmas card, and there are numerous opportunities to check off your holiday shopping list in scenic settings. The only dilemma is where to go first.
One good place to start is Connecticut's own little town of Bethlehem, a quaint village that is transformed each December, when it becomes New England's favorite Christmas Town.
Thousands of visitors arrive to mail their Christmas cards with a Bethlehem postmark and to enjoy the 30th annual gala Christmas Town Festival, set this year for Friday night December 2 and Saturday, December 3. The town green is transformed for the occasion with some 70 vendors offering crafts and good food. Bring the family for musical entertainment, hayrides and the chance for a photo with Santa.
Bethlehem's historic Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden will be festively decorated for the weekend, with themed decorations in each of the first floor rooms. Children will enjoy games, prizes and surprises and refreshments in the Visitor's Center. This house will be open during festival hours, December 2 from 5pm. to 9pm and December 3 from 10am to 4pm. For details, phone (203) 266-7596.
Bethlehem also offers the chance to visit a rare museum-quality 18th century Neapolitan Crèche housed in a barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis.
For more information about other December events in the Litchfield Hills visit www.visitwesternct.com.
For more information about top events in Connecticut take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Connecticut.