A Measure of Merriment

Holidays: Ruddy faces and festive places all across the region invite visitors to come and share in the good cheer

November 28, 1999|By Tricia Eller | Tricia Eller,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Twas weeks before winter, soon all will espouse

the holiday spirit that touches each house.

It might take a slight nudge, a reminder, a stare,

But soon all will resign to frolic out there.

For the season is coming, time to pull out the sled,

And with that, you know, come the kindred.

So get in the spirit, get out the gift wrap,

And get ready to fill any awkward time gap.

By reading this festive bit of light chatter,

Your guests will know that they really do matter;

For you've taken the time to create a great cache

Of fun things to do for that holiday bash!

From lights to parades, to reindeer on roofs

The mid-Atlantic prepares to deliver the proof

That the spirit is here and good cheer will abound

As they celebrate the season with a choir's sweet sound,

Or maybe a city of lights to stroll on foot,

Or tours of homes with decorations well-put.

So, pile in the car, no need to pack,

The places you'll go aren't miles off-track.

They're just a short distance, not the contrary--

A day-trip to York or maybe Harpers Ferry.

Just check out this list for your choice of show

And soon enough, you'll be all set to go.

Tricia Eller

Cities and towns across the region are dusting off their stored holiday finery and adding some lavish, updated twists in preparation for the last Christmas celebrations of the 20th century. Take a break from your everyday schedule and try to slip in some time for revelry and abandon. It may stir up fond memories of years past or create some new ones at any of the more than 50 area events.


ALLEGANY COUNTY: Cumberland's History House opens the past to the public this season with daily tours through Dec. 31 to show off its "Night Before Christmas" decorating theme. Join them Tuesday though Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the tours, which cost $3 for adults and $1 for kids age 12 to 17. On Dec. 14, the house will be open for candlelight tours from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the regular tour prices, featuring seasonal music and a seasonal surprise guest. Call 301-777-8678.

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY: The shores of the Chesapeake Bay provide the backdrop for the 65 illuminated exhibits of the annual Lights on the Bay 2.5-mile drive at Sandy Point State Park, which continues through January. Reindeer leap overhead as tunes from the Annapolis Chorale broadcast over the radio nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: $12 a car. Call 410-295-3161.

Want to know where Santa got his rosy glow? Spend an evening in Annapolis at the annual Christmas Candlelight Pub Crawl for a hint. Start the night with spicy wassail, seasonal melodies and an appetite-teasing array of fruits and cheeses before the guide, dressed in Colonial garb, leads guests on a lantern-lighted walk through historic streets to the holiday feast waiting at a local tavern. Cap the crawl with a short hop to some Irish coffee. Reservations are required for the $78 event, which starts at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9, 12, 16 and 19. Call 410-263-5401.

The Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade decks the decks for the 17th year on Dec. 11 beginning at 6 p.m. when the call "Skippers, turn on your lights" booms across VHF radio to the more than 50 boats expected to participate. The two-hour procession of trimmed vessels sails Spa Creek as the anticipated 20,000 spectators watch the show from perches along Annapolis' City Dock and the Spa Creek Bridge. A live broadcast of the show can be heard over portable radio on 1430 WNAV-AM. Call 410-268-0415 with any questions.

CECIL COUNTY: Com- memorate the last lighting of the 1900s for the Cecil County Holly Tree on Dec. 11 with a free, all-day festival beginning at noon and featuring "Breakfast Club" alum Anthony Michael Hall. Arts, crafts, entertainers and Santa will be on hand, but the main event is the 5 p.m. lighting of the tree decorated with 52 red ornaments in honor of the first lighting. That year, in 1947, wind blew the original glass ornaments off the tree, smashing them on the ground. The frenzied decorators rushed to the local five-and-dime and bought all the red, glass ornaments they had: all 52. Call 410-392-4537.

FREDERICK COUNTY: There's no getting around it -- the season demands shopping. And if you've got to do it, why not toss a little cheer into the chore? The Maryland Christmas Show this weekend and next features more than 500 artists and craftsmen displaying their creations at the Frederick Fairgrounds on Franklin Street in Frederick. A holiday food and entertainment pavilion will help keep spirits up and stamina going. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and until 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission: $5 for adults, $2.50 for children under 12. Call 301-898-5466.

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