Bedford Candlelit Christmas offers another nearby holiday option

Bil Bowden

So, you've already thrilled the kids with the brilliance of York County Park's Christmas Magic and all the gazillion lights. And you followed that up with an exciting trip on New Freedom's Steam Into History  locomotive. Don't despair, there's plenty of other Christmas holiday sites to keep the little ones thinking about their Santa list.

Just two hours from York, west along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, is the Old Bedford Village and its Candlelit Christmas, a fascinating study of local history wrapped up in 36 replica, reconstructed and rebuilt buildings. Last week, the village told about its history during the Civil War era. This Saturday, December 12, is history lesson number two, when volunteers and staffers wear period dress and explain what life was like in the 1700s.

Be sure to take along a flashlight, since the village stays true to its Candlelit Christmas theme, providing almost no light on the dark paths between buildings or the parking lot. Some of the buildings are heated. At the 5 p.m. opening, a long line stretched outside for tickets. Maybe plan to arrive a bit later; just before the 9 p.m. closing, the paths were nearly empty. Buildings have ramps, allowing for wheelchair access. The village is laid out in a circular pattern, making for a loop walk. Expect to spend a couple hours browsing the site, although it can handled in much less.

On the opening Saturday, carpenters, school teachers, bakers, musicians and blacksmiths went about their business as usual, all the while describing life 150 years ago. Most buildings are open, including the Pendergrass Tavern which sells hot cider and snacks. The bakery offers gingerbread, molasses, oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Get there early for the chocolate chips-- they sell out early.

At the Christ Church, a band played various Christmas tunes throughout the evening.

From the Bedford Visitor's Bureau website--

Old Bedford Village will be closed for the winter season except for special events. Old Bedford Village welcomes you to discover America's history. Our living history village brings the past into the present. Old Bedford Village offers a rich variety of educational and entertainment activities. Visitors of all ages will enjoy our military and civilian re-enactments, colonial crafts, exhibits and instructions, festivals, murder mystery evenings, old fashioned Christmas celebrations and more.