Tree Lighting Evening in Portsmouth NH

One of the best things about my new home in New Hampshire is our proximity to Portsmouth!! Portsmouth is on the water, but not really the ocean. Its on the Piscataqua River which is an estuary to the Atlantic. There are “the decks”, which is what we call the restaurants that overlook the river, and then Market Square, and Strawberry Banke. Market Square is sort of the hub of walking in Portsmouth, and the Strawberry Banke is this area that preserved all the historic homes there. There is a museum and tours and such there. Then there is Prescott Park which sadly doesn’t allow dogs, but is a nice place to look out at the water.

The tree lighting takes place every year right in Market Square, followed by the annual illuminated holiday parade. The many holiday activities throughout the month are called “Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth” The Strawberry Banke is decorated with carolers and horse drawn carriages and ice skating. In the evening, they put on all their Christmas lights and their tours are called “candlelight strolls“.

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Beautiful Christmas Tree, and yes bottom left corner is an LLBean hat haha
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It was definitely a night for the down jacket!
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All of the light posts in the city have illuminated wreaths with bows, love it.

I loved everything about this night. The tree was great, not as big as the Boston tree, but great. This was the first holiday parade I had ever been to, and I haven’t seen that many lights since the Disney parade. The marching bands even had lights on their instruments.

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There were a bunch of illuminated and decorated antique VW’s. I loved this pickup truck, so cool! Think it would fit under the tree?
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The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who!
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Yep, a Christmas train with a hot tub car. Definitely a fan favorite!
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Santa! I know him! This was the end of the parade, the kids went wild!

We walked around the perimeter of the Strawberry Banke to check it out, and decided that we are going to do the candlelight stroll next year!!

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The ice skating rink, Christmas tree, and crowd around the fire pit at the Strawberry Banke- so festive

It was cooooold out standing to watch the parade. We got hot cocoa at Starbucks after to warm up walking around. Breaking New Grounds is my favorite spot to get a hot drink in Market Sq but sadly the line was out the door! This is a tradition that I hope to go to every year! I need a better camera to take pictures at night huh? That WOULD certainly fit under the tree ❤

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Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker 2015

Sunday night, my mother, sister, and I went to see Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker. I am a huge fan of the Boston Ballet and the Boston Opera House. I go 2-3 times a year- definitely the Nutcracker every year, and then any other classic ballets. I have been to Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, La Bayadiere, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky ballets are my favorite.

Before the ballet, we walked around downtown crossings a little. We checked out the window displays at the Macy’s which were so cute, they were all scenes from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Oh and there’s a Primark in there now?? Gotta check that out….

Then we went to one of my favorite places, the Boston Common Coffee Co.  We somehow snagged three seats, and got a congo bar to split (think one of those layer bars with chocolate and coconut), and drinks. My favorite thing there is the iced chai with soy.

After that we had probably 15 minutes before we had to head in, so we ran to the common to the see the lights! I snapped this lovely photo of a fully decorated Christmas tree, so pretty.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…

Growing up, the Boston Ballet’s home was the Wang, a beautiful theatre in  Boston. I don’t remember when they moved to the Boston Opera House, but the first year they moved, we actually went to see White Christmas at the Wang instead of The Nutcracker. We suspect they moved because the Wang wanted to have different Christmas shows. Its not even called the Wang anymore, its the Citi Performing Arts Center (after Citi Bank). I also think the ballet has gone through ups and downs and maybe for a time wasn’t getting enough ticket sales for the Wang. In 2012, Mikko Nissinen, the director of the Boston Ballet, overhauled The Nutcracker. New choreography, new sets, new costumes….I’ll be honest, I love some of the changes, but even 4 years later, I miss some of the costumes from before. The Nutcracker has always been a part of my family’s Christmas celebrations. There’s something special about grabbing tea and a goodie before the show, heading in to the show and knowing to use the lower bathrooms, not the upstairs bathrooms, absolutely loving the show, and then talking about how we miss the green costumes for the flowers, or the pink Sugar Plum Fairy costume on the ride home. We love the new Snow Queen costume though 🙂

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Boston Opera House
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Upper lounge of the Boston Opera House- love all the gold, the chandeliers, and the Christmas greenery/decor
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The curtain for The Nutcracker
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Painting on the ceiling of The Boston Opera House- gorgeous

This year, Boston Ballet is doing their new production of Swan Lake again, so I probably won’t go. In a couple months they are doing Onegin, so I will go to that one. Who else wants to go??

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Favorite Christmas Tree Ornaments

I am going to keep my writing brief because I definitely fell off my horse tonight into the wall of the indoor. We had just done a jump perfectly after many tries and he bucked while I was leaning forward and off I went. I’m sore, but ok. Got back on for a little while so no one starts to think that bucking me off is a good way to end a ride, but I will be rocking some IB profen, a heating pad, and lots of hot cocoa tonight to recover. I have a red line on my back from where I made contact with the bottom of the wall….I will be fine haha.

This post is about some of my favorite ornaments. I hope that you enjoy them!!

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An older ornament from my parents, the swan boats in the common
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Santa in his workshop, one of my favorites from my childhood
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One of my favorites from my Breyer’s ornament collection
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My Barbie ballerina for Nutcracker season
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Another great one from my Breyer’s collection, how many little girls have asked for a pony for Christmas? 🙂
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This one is a gift from my mom, love it
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Rowing on the Charles in Cambridge ornament, perfect for a tree belonging to two rowers!
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I have the whole set of Rudolph characters, the Bumble, Hermey, Yukon, Rudolph, and Santa.

I hope everyone’s holiday preparations are going well. I had a big food shopping trip tonight for the weekend into next week….it was painful and slow moving. Of course I ran into a student while I was limping through the supermarket still covered in dirt haha, oh well. Happy Friday everyone, one week til Christmas!!

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