Whether it’s a ceramic pickle hanging on the Christmas tree or a potato latkes recipe passed down through generations, it is the traditions that bring the holidays to life. Make this holiday season magical by traveling to new places and pick up a few new traditions along the way. Check out sunny San Antonio for traditional Mexican festivities or wintery Woodstock, Vermont for a virtual snow globe.
What to Do
If you want to see a real-life version of a Currier and Ives print, look no further than a holiday visit to Woodstock, Vermont. Known as “The prettiest little town in America,” Woodstock hosts a variety of holiday-themed events through the end of the year. Visit the Billings Farm for their annual holiday décor and displays and activities such as ornament making and carriage rides. Or, visit the Pentangle Arts’ Town Hall Theatre for a showing of Fantastic Beasts and The Crimes of Grindelwald and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
Where to Stay
The Holiday Inn at Ascutney Mountain Resort caters to families, including everything from fully appointed luxury kitchens to night lights in the bathrooms. The family-friendly atmosphere continues outside the room with the indoor pool, Sidewinder Video Arcade and a nightly movie showing complete with popcorn.
Where to Eat
A cold morning starts out best with a hearty country breakfast, so make Mountain Creamery Restaurant your first stop. Everything is made from scratch, including mouthwatering buttermilk pancakes served with locally smoked bacon and ham. The house specialty is the Mile High Apple Pie, served with a traditional side of Cabot cheddar cheese. You’ll want to save some room for a trip to Sugarbush Cheese and Maple Farm, a working family farm that offers a free tasting table with 15 varieties of cheese and four grades of maple syrup. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the sweet education of seeing how the maple trees are tapped and boiled into syrup.
Mountain Creamery Restaurant: 802/457-1715
Sugarbush Cheese and Maple Farm: 800/281-1757
San Antonio, Texas
What to Do
A distinctive south-of-the-border flavor and 1.8 million lights transform San Antonio’s famed River Walk into a Mexican fiesta. A flotilla festooned with the sights and sounds of the season kicks off the festivities on November 23 at the Ford Holiday River Parade. Visit El Mercado to find traditional handicrafts and gifts. Your favorite San Antonio destinations, such as SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, are also in on the fun with their own holiday celebrations.
Where to Stay
The River Walk district has a host of family-friendly hotels that will put you in the center of the action, but if you don’t wish to be on the river, check out the holiday vibe at the Westin La Cantera. Kids will be transported to the North Pole as they enjoy the planned activities and seasonal crafts in the Westin Kid’s Club. Together, families can visit Santa’s Workshop and make a holiday toy with the elves or enjoy a relaxing evening of s’mores and hot cocoa by the fireplace.
Where to Eat
The Pearl in San Antonio is your one-stop shop for all things food, as it’s home to a farmer’s market, restaurants and even one of the country’s Culinary Institutes of America. Choose from options like from Peruvian and Mexican cuisines-inspired restaurants to sweet macaroons. We recommend you stop by in the evenings this month. Through December 20, the Pearl will host a Holiday Night Market from 4–8pm featuring live music, holiday-themed activities and farmers market vendors.
For more holiday-themed destinations in San Antonio this season, read Holiday Happenings in San Antonio, Texas.
Editors note: This article was originally published in 2011 with updates made in 2018.