Augusta, Maine is a capital city with old school charm. It sits beside the Kennebec River and features the Old Fort Western, an 18th century wooden fort with a recreated general store. Other must-see attractions include the Maine State Museum, Blaine House, the Maine State House, Capitol Park and Viles Arboretum.
Augusta is a great city to visit year-round, but it is especially fun at holiday time. Here are some things you can do during your holiday vacation.
Enjoy the Snow
If you’re looking to enjoy a white Christmas, Augusta is the place to do it. The city has a 90% chance of snowfall on Christmas giving it the greatest odds as compared to all other New England states.
Average snowfall is 71.3 inches with snow falling on 33.6 days per year. It should come as no surprise that Augusta also holds the record for the tallest snowwoman built in the world…but when you’re in town for Christmas, you can try to beat it!
Shop at Christmas Tree and That
Christmas Tree Shops and That is a division of Bed, Bath and Beyond known for selling terrific home goods at reasonable prices. Although it has since gone beyond its original mission of carrying products made to optimize Christmas fun, it’s a great place to find decorations, gifts and other seasonal décor products.
Tree Lighting Ceremony
Every year the downtown Augusta Alliance hosts a tree lighting ceremony. It runs from 11 AM to 8 PM promising an entire day of fun. Events include hayrides, horse drawn wagon rides, letters to Santa, holiday crafts, a food and clothing drive, live entertainment, fireworks and, of course, the tree lighting which takes place at 5 PM.
Visit the Maine State Museum
The Maine State Museum promises to give you all Maine has to offer under one roof. You can explore exquisite nature scenes, artifacts of early Maine, a three-story working mill and more. Exhibits include:
· Back to Nature: Learn more about Maine’s season and environment.
· Cabinet of Curiosities: Explore natural science specimens that were among the museum’s earliest collections.
· Maine Bounty: This exhibit focuses on the people and resources that shaped Maine.
· Made in Made: This award-winning exhibition features a three-story water powered, woodworking mill. You can also explore other historical settings such as a sewing room, a blacksmith shop, a wool carding mill and more.
· Struggle for Identity: Learn about early clashes with the French, English and Native Americans and how Maine became the state it is today.
· 12,000 Years in Maine: Exactly what it sounds like, this will take you from Maine’s very beginnings to present day.
Check the museum web site to find out about holiday themed events that may be going on during your visit.
Check Out Viles Arboretum
Viles Arboretum is a 224 acres botanical garden and arboretum that offers 5 miles of trails. It is open to the public year-round free of charge. The collection includes over 300 species and varieties of trees and shrubs.
During Christmas time, you will definitely want to find out more about its chestnut collection. These trees are now extremely rare due to an imported fungus and they are quite lovely. The collection plays an important role in scientific, research and conservation efforts to save the tree from extinction.
Blaine House Holiday Display
Also known as the Governor’s mansion, every year the Blaine House puts on a holiday display. Recent years have included 14 trees donated by Maine Christmas Tree Grower’s Association. The trees are decorated and displayed in accordance with a central theme. They are decorated by individuals from local organizations and state agencies.
In addition to the trees lining Capital St. the Blaine House maple tree is also adorned with light sculptures.
The public is welcome to come by and view the display at any time.
In addition to coming by to see the holiday display, you may schedule a tour of the building to check out the interior. There are a variety of tours available and they are a great opportunity to learn about the historical background of James G. Blaine or view the Hall of Flags and Senate Chamber.
Celebrate a Fort Western Christmas
Fort Western was built in 1754 in the middle of the French and Indian war. Now a historical monument, it is a living museum that tells the story of Augusta’s history. Guided tours will give you insight as to what life was like in Maine in the 18th стагоддзя.
The Fort has been known to host on Old Time Christmas Open house on November 30. Upon arrival, guests can warm themselves by the fire in the south kitchen while sampling traditional refreshments. Then they can explore the rooms that will be decked out with holiday cheer while music from a Victor Talking Machine will provide old time музычны accompaniment.
There will also be a candlelight reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and mulled cider will be served.
There is a suggested donation of $5 which will go towards Fort Western’s educational programs and preservation.
Shop at Sonny’s Rock Shop and Museum
Sonny’s Rock Shop and Museum is a great place to find rocks, minerals and fossils as well as books, crystals and other spiritual items. They feature products made by local artisans and crafters and also offer reiki sessions and psychic readings. Come by for a unique holiday gift or find out what the future holds.
If you are looking for an excellent place to spend Christmas, Augusta may be the perfect getaway. With so much to see and do, its charming atmosphere will instantly transport you. What will you be doing when you get to town?