Edgar Allan Poe, Lego Robots, Caroling, Winter Solstice, Evening Holiday Lights, Scavenger Hunt, and Santa Convention!!

Don’t forget that during the holidays, I post two entries a week! This one is my overview of what’s happening in New England, and I’ve tried really hard to include some non-Christmas stuff. I also have the largest list of non-churchy Xmas caroling opportunities. However, the previous post (hit “Prev”) is the largest list of nighttime holiday light attractions in New England. You’re welcome! 🙂

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The Week in Weird
The Raven in the Frog Pond: Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston 12/17 Boston Metro
Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston? I got to meet Mayor Menino recently because the three of us on the “Boston Poe Committee” got a spot named Edgar Allan Poe Square near Boston Common last Spring. This week a new exhibit on Poe opens at the Boston Public Library, and they’re having literary debators from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston debate over Poe’s legacy and which city can best claim Poe as their own.
Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Boston, MA.617-552-3710. more
FIRST Lego League Massachusetts State Championship 12/19 Worcester
What’s better than Lego? Robots made of Lego!! This is the state championship for building machines that don’t do much but are fun to watch. Their website is impossible to navigate but I got a press release so this event must be happening.
WPI, Harrington Auditorium, Worcester MA. more
Winter Solstice Lantern Wallk @ Ipswich River 12/19 North Shore
OK, so much for pretending it’s not Christmas. I got all the way through two events before — SMACK! — oh wait, it’s the Winter Solstice too! Here are a few solstice park events. Let’s face it, a solstice sunset looks very much like any other sunset. But when’s the last time you bothered to stop to watch a sunset? Preregister for this one. You walk with lanterns and they’ll have a campfire! 4-6pm.
Ipswich River, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA.978-887-9264. more
Solstice Celebration @ Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary 12/20 Metro West
Also with a campfire! Pre-register.
Stony Brook, 108 North Street, Norfolk, MA.508-528-3140. more
Boxborough Winter Solstice Sunrise 12/21 Metro West
7am-8am. This one sounds really beautiful. At a state park, get up early and watch the sun rise through stone structures that are possibly of Native American origin.
Half Moon Meadow Brook, Depot Rd, Boxborough, MA.978-443-5588. more
Solstice Celebration @ Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary 12/21 Western Mass
And they’re also doing it at Arcadia National Park, which is out in Western Mass. These people are smart about attendance and doing it for sundown, 5:30-8:30pm. 413-584-3009.
Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA.413-584-3009. more
Winter Solstice Celebration @ Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary 12/19 Boston Metro
1-3pm. This one claims to have “traditional solstice activities”. Traditional? How traditional, like a human sacrifice?
Habitat, 10 Juniper Road, Belmont, MA.617-489-5050. more

Also Fun
Wright Brothers 106th Anniversary @ McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center 12/17 New Hampshire
It’s basically a regular day at the museum, but they’ll have talks about the Wright Brothers, and a flight simulator that you lie down on and it rocks back and forth. Pretty neat!
2 Institute Drive, Concord, NH.603-271-STAR. more
Paperfest & World of Paper Crafts at Children’s Museum 12/23 – 1/3 Boston Metro
Learn origami, and help break the world’s record for longest paper chain. They’ll bring in professionals all week to talk about paper crafts from around the world. The PR rep *swears* it will not be boring for adults! We’ll see! 11am-4pm.
Boston Childrens Museum, Boston, MA. more
Free Movie: The US vs John Lennon 12/17 Boston Metro
Hey, get this. There’s a free documentary movie every 3rd Thursday in Cambridge. Come at 6:40pm for mingling and refreshments. Film at 7pm.
243 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. more

Ho Ho Holidays
Boston Santacon 12/19 Boston Metro
Hundreds of people dressed as Santa or another holiday character go bar hopping and on a spontaneous parade. 1pm-5am?
Start at Faneuil Hall (Purple Shamrock), Boston, MA.206-769-2092. more
Illuminations Tour (Xmas Lights in Somerville) 12/19 Boston Metro
The holiday event of the week is in Somerville, where you can take a 45 minute trolley tour around town to look at the most decorated houses. I’ve been and highly recommend it, but you need to buy a ticket in advance. And although it’s the best metro attraction, if you’re willing to drive outbound, any of the holiday light attractions is better. They will also have caroling and refreshments. Now they have a bilingual trolley in English and Portuguese.
Somerville City Hall, Somerville, MA.617.625.6600 ext. 2985. more
Caroling @ Brighton Main Streets 12/18 Boston Metro
Now on to some caroling events! Meet 5:30pm at Police Station 14, walk down Washington Street. Even though the website is old, I called to confirm this is really happening.
Meet at Police Station 14, Brighton, MA. more
Merry Christmas Caroling Mob – Loose Canon Chorale 12/20 Boston Metro
My favorite Xmas Caroling group this week is coming up Sunday. 4pm. RSVP appreciated.
Meet at the Forest Hills MBTA stop, Boston, MA. more
Holiday caroling with Arlington Street Church 12/20 Boston Metro
This one’s at the Unitarian church, so it shouldn’t be too heavy with spirituality. Also participatory. Looks like it’s all indoors, in the church, no strolling. 1:15-2:30pm.
Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. more
Main Street Caroling in Salem 12/19 North Shore
1-3pm. I called in about this event and it is definitely participatory singing.
Start at the Xmas Tree on Essex St in front of the Mall., Salem, MA. more
Holiday Brunch Sing Along 12/20 North Shore
This one’s inside, and while eating food — even better! It’s at Rockafellas, which is a restaurant. Probably smart to reserve ahead for this one.
Rockafellas, 231 Essex Street, Salem, MA.978-745-2411. more
Holiday Sing Along in Newburyport 12/19 Boston Metro
11am. Just $3, and get tix early, because the event sells out.
Firehouse Center For The Arts, One Market Square, Newburyport, MA.978-462-7336. more
The Beehive’s Santa Brunch 12/19 Boston Metro
Caroling and of course an appearance by Santa.
541 Tremont St, Boston, MA.617-423-0069. more
Christmas by Candlelight @ Winslow Farm 12/19 Southern Mass
In Norton, the Winslow Farm, which is a petting zoo and open to the public, is having their own Xmas event with a warm fire, night tours, and caroling, which I assume is participatory. Medieval Santa 12-3pm, then candlelight tour 6-8pm.
37 Eddy Street, Norton, MA.508-285-6451. more
Messiah Sing @ Portsmouth, NH 12/22 New Hampshire
I’ve been to an event like this elsewhere. Join a community and sing-a-long to Handel’s “Messiah”. Website says bring your own score?? Um, for $14, you’ll be handing out scores, right? Note: this one’s serious, you will need to be able to read music at least a little.
The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St, Portsmouth, NH. more
Holiday Handjobs 12/18 Boston Metro
I have protected you from the hundreds of merchant “crafts shows” in New England, because they are not real events. However, this one may be different, a crafts fair with “horny shit made for horny people”. Gifts for people on your “naughty” list. Now that’s nice. 7-11pm.
VFW, 371 Summer Street, Somerville, MA. more
Santa @ the Dighton Library 12/19 Southern Mass
I wouldn’t normally have room for a tiny Santa event, but I grew up next to Dighton and in 4 years this is the only Dighton event I’ve seen close to worthy! 1pm.
Dighton Public Library, Dighton, MA. more

Recurring Events
Grand Menorah Lighting on Boston Common 12/11 – 12/18 Boston Metro
Not Christian? Trying to pump up your alternative holiday? Go say “we have our own ideas about God” at the daily menorah lightings on Boston Common. Every day, including Xmas. (p.s. Daily lightings? Isn’t the idea that you light it once and the oil lasts the whole time?).
Boston Common near Park St. Subway, Boston, MA. more
Harvard Square Holiday Crafts Fair 11/28 – 12/23 Boston Metro
Here’s one that looks promising: a church selling goods. I seem to recall that made Jesus angry. Whatever, they’re Unitarians!
Church at corner of Church St & Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA. more
Romance in the Austin Era @ Gore Place 12/4 – 12/19 Metro West
Gore Place, the historical mansion, is doing a special “scandal tour” all about what made for 18th and 19th century scandals in the time where you couldn’t show a little ankle. It’s close to the only non-Xmas thing happening this week.
52 Gore Street, Waltham, MA.781-894-2798. more
Victorian Christmas Feast @ Astors’ Beechwood Mansion 12/4 – 12/18 Rhode Island
Also re-enacted is this 19th century holiday feast at one of Newport’s mansions. Fridays @ 7pm. Reserve in advance.
Astors’ Beechwood Mansion, 580 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. more
Mrs. Gore’s Holiday Tea & Tours 12/4 – 12/19 Metro West
Holiday events, ok let’s get real, Christmas events are dominating the events calendar now. As usual I list things from most interesting to least. To start, this is a re-enactment of “tea time” from the Victorian era at this old historical home of former Massachusetts Governor Gore.
Gore Place, 52 Gore Street, Waltham, MA.781-894-2798. more
Wenham Museum’s Gingerbread Contest 12/16 North Shore
This one’s the one to see though! It’s a gingerbread house contest, with all kinds of surprisingly large and intricate displays, including one with model trains. I’ve been to the Wenham Museum and it’s one of these New England-y places in the middle of nowhere with a world class attitude and really worth a visit. Julia Grimaldi will be judging on the 16th during which time we are going to be running a free (with admission) gingerbread cookie decorating workshop. The place will be jumping with little kids with sticky hands. Here’s a link to more info about Julia. I met her this summer and she’s a great speaker however there is no formal presentation as it’s too difficult to get the contestants all together at once. I would like people to come and see the houses that are displayed in the Gingerbread Express model train layout open 12/5-20. Julia will be putting ribbons on the houses on the 16th and prizes will be awarded on the 20th. Again, no ceremony on the 20th.
132 Main Street, Wenham, MA. more
Holiday Hijinks Scavenger Hunt 11/28 – 1/1 Boston Metro
This “scavenger hunt” combines several games and seems like a lot of fun. I spoke with the guy for a few minutes on your behalf and this sounds genuinely different: a true game, not just a walking tour for out-of-townies wanting the Boston basics. The only trick is, you need 8 people minimum and it’s $25 per person. It takes 2.5 hours.
Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA. more

Sleep No More 10/8 – 1/3 Boston Metro
I hear this show is amazing. They’ve taken over an entire unused school in Brookline, and every room has a display and actors. You get to stroll from room to room interacting with everyone as the plot proceeds.
Some School, Brookline, MA. more
The Nutcracker 11/27 – 12/27 Boston Metro
And… It’s The Nutcracker. If you’re ever going to check out ballet (I haven’t), this would probably be it.
Opera House, Boston, MA. more
Annual Kwanzaa Concert 12/18 – 12/19 Boston Metro
This one’s not participatory, which is a shame, because it’s the only Kwanzaa event I’ve heard of.
Roxbury Community College, Media Arts Center, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA. more


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