If you’re looking for a place to celebrate the holidays with a heart-warming dose of small-town spirit, consider St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. For 30 years, the charming village of 1,200 residents has been rolling out the welcome mat to visitors with “Christmas in St. Michaels.”
An old-fashioned parade, a holiday tour of homes, a gingerbread house exhibit, holiday music, and 30th anniversary touches are among the highlights at this year’s festival, planned for Dec. 9–11. The festive atmosphere, friendliness, and traditions of a small town add up to “special magic,” says Karen Burger, who promotes the event. “It’s a very lovely way to enter the holidays.”
St. Michaels, located in Talbot County, Md., and just an 82-mile drive from Washington, D.C., is a picturesque town with a harbor on the Miles River off the Chesapeake Bay. The streets are lined with historic homes, shops, and restaurants. Visitors find it a delightful place to walk around year-round, but especially so with Christmas excitement in the mix.
Many of the events of the weekend event are free, although some have a cost. The website has details on times and advance tickets.
Events kick off on Friday and continue through the weekend with a display of gingerbread homes, model trains, and a Christmas Village at St. Mary’s Square.
A highlight of the weekend is the Talbot Street Parade on Saturday morning, featuring marching bands, homemade floats, antique cars, children and adults in holiday costumes representing local organizations, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Ten private homes adorned for the holidays with live greens and decorations will be open for tours through the day. Some are in the historic district, and others are in adjacent neighborhoods. Shuttle buses are available for those who don’t wish to walk. One ticket option includes admission to the always popular Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
You can catch up on Christmas shopping at the Marketplace at Granite Lodge at St. Mary’s Square, which will be open through the weekend. Handcrafted gifts and gourmet foods will be available. Also for sale will be two special 30th-anniversary items: an ornament featuring a scene with Friesian horses and a carriage driven by a family dressed in vintage attire (which traditionally opens the parade) and A Few of Our Favorite Things, a cookbook containing 350 recipes submitted by local restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, churches, businesses, civic organizations, and home cooks.
There will be a Christmas Bazaar on Saturday at Christ Church Parish Hall. Other Saturday activities include a holiday breakfast at St. Luke’s Church, and an Eastern Shore Christmas dinner with gospel music and Christmas spirituals by the Jackson Jubilee Singers at Union United Methodist Church.
Children’s events during the weekend include a breakfast with Santa and Santa’s Wonderland.
The weekend concludes on Sunday evening, when area choirs will perform holiday music at the Celebration of Choirs at St. Michaels High School auditorium.
Proceeds from “Christmas in St. Michaels” benefit nonprofit organizations in the community. Over the years, the event has raised over a million dollars, contributing to projects such as day care and a community pool.
A number of lodging options are available in St. Michaels and nearby Easton.
For more information:
Christmas in St. Michaels: christmasinstmichaels.org
St. Michaels Tourism: stmichaelsmd.org
Talbot Co. Tourism: tourtalbot.org