Make Visiting Dickens Village a Day in Maplewood

If you haven’t taken the family to visit Maplewood Village, this weekend affords the perfect opportunity. Not only is Dickens Village open both Saturday and Sunday,  but the weather looks like it will be crisp and clear. Perfect for making a day of it with the whole family!

Since the houses in Dickens Village open at 1 PM, the morning can begin with some exploring around the shops and restaurants in Maplewood Village. Arturo’s opens at 11:30 AM, and the pastas and pizza are the perfect rustic meal on a cold December weekend. If you’re there on a day when the roasted carrots are on special, order them. Trust me on this.  Another option, St. James’s Gate, offers breakfast fare starting at 10 AM, as well as lunch items a little later on. The Bloody Mary (with shrimp, if you want) will warm you up without knocking you over. While the meat items reign supreme, the veggie burger is quite tasty, especially with sauteed onions. Both locations are kid-friendly – in fact, when we were there, St. James’s Gate had several families chowing down along with us. For an after brunch treat, stop in to Village Coffee for a hot beverage or cookie. The cookies on a stick are perfect for taking with you as you check out the sights.

If it’s not yet 1 PM, stop by [words] bookstore for some browsing and reading and buying. There is a lovely children’s reading area with bins specifically for browsing. If you’re looking for something a little more delicate, leave the kids with someone (preferably a friend or family member), and step inside Perch Home. Ornaments, gifts, and lovely home decorating ideas surround you the moment you step inside. Once, I took my three-year-old with me, but I was with a friend, so the toddler was outnumbered and I could actually browse. I much preferred going in on my own while my husband stayed outside eating cookies on a stick with the kids.

Exploring Dickens Village is a lot of fun for everyone.  Each house depicts a scene or location in A Christmas Carol, and the detail is impressive.  The houses are all sponsored by a local business, and the stores have signs in their windows proudly telling which house is theirs.  My kids loved seeing the animatronic children decorating a tree in one house, and they especially liked the decorations and tables set in the Cratchit House.  Visitors can peek inside the counting house, Scrooge’s home, and a lovely greenhouse as well.   To fill out the experience, visits with Santa, horse and wagon rides, a holiday read at Words (Sat), and a craft and story program at the library (Sun) will all be going on.  See the schedule for more details.

If you visit on Saturday, be sure to stop by the Holiday Concert by the  Swing Town and Maplewood Community Music Concert Band. The free performance begins at 2 PM in the Burgdorff Center.

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