Norman Rockwell’s 1967 painting, “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas (Home for Christmas)” offers an idyllic view of a bygone era when families gathered to chop down their own Douglas Fir tree and children dreamed of real toys instead of cellphones and electronic gadgets.
It is a time the town of Stockbridge remembers fondly and each year they honor its memory with the Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas celebration.
This year’s weekend-long series of events marks the 28th year and takes place December 1 – 3.
Christmas in the Berkshires has arrived! Will you be joining us Dec 1-3 for Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas? Celebrate the holidays in the quintessential New England town. @redlioninn @stockbridgeareachamber #stockbridge #mainstreetatchristmas #holidaygetaway #normanrockwellholiday #massachusetts #berkshires #newengland
Thousands of visitors flock to the picturesque Berkshire Mountains each year to bask in the nostalgia of the little town where Rockwell lived and worked during the last 25 years of his life.
Barbara Zanetti, the executive director of the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce, told Boston.com that the portion of Main Street depicted in the painting will close to automobile traffic on Sunday between noon and 2 p.m. so guests can enjoy a recreation of the scene.
“The entire weekend revolves around what Norman Rockwell depicted in the picture, which is being home for the holidays,” Zanetti said.
The organizers attend to every detail in an effort to transport Main Street 50 years into the past. They bring in vintage cars from the ’40s and ’50s including a red 1955 Mercury with a Christmas tree strapped to its roof. This car is specially designated to be parked in front of the Red Lion Inn – just like the snow-covered vehicle in Rockwell’s painting.
The buildings and storefronts in the painting are mostly unchanged – it’s just that they are now surrounded by the trappings of modern life.
The Stockbridge General Store, featured front and center in the painting, shows a glowing Christmas tree in an upstairs window – this room actually served as Rockwell’s studio from 1953 to 1957.
One noticeable difference between the re-creation and the painting are the scenic mountains in the background. It seems Rockwell bent reality a bit when he placed them there. While there aren’t any mountains behind Main Street, Stockbridge residents are happy to chock it up to artistic license.
The Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas events begin on Friday night with holiday readings at the library. Saturday brings holiday house tours including Blantyre, Eastover, Naumkeag, the Historic Merrell Inn, the Charles Owen House, and The Old Rectory.
Santa will be present and there will be face painting and holiday crafts for the kids.
The Caroling Luminaria Walk, which takes place Saturday evening, features more than 100 carolers leading guests on a candlelit walk from the Red Lion Inn to the First Congregational Church. A holiday concert will follow at the church, performed by Berkshire Lyric and the Blafield Children’s Chorus.
For a taste of life in New England during a “simpler time,” visit Stockbridge this weekend for the Main Street at Christmas celebration.
H/T to Boston.com
Featured Image via Facebook/Southern Berkshire Chamber