A VERY MERRY 19TH-CENTURY CHRISTMAS
The celebratory holiday season is fast approaching. Make a pilgrimage to days of yore at Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village, an outdoor history museum situated on more than 200 scenic acres that depicts a rural New England town of the 1830s. Experience the history of Christmas festivities as you stroll through the decorated village and twinkling lights of the Christmas Tree Trail, alongside costumed historians, listening to stories and live music of popular seasonal songs. Additional events and participatory activities include hearth-baked gingerbread-making demonstrations; gingerbread house contest; mulled cider and baking demos (Dundee cakes, marzipan, and shortbread cookies); craft lessons in tin lantern making, wooden toys, pottery and candle dipping; photo ops with Old Saint Nicholas and Mrs. Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides and more. Hot cocoa, cider, and soups and stews are available to keep you warm. Purchase before Thanksgiving for the lowest deals of the season. It’s recommended to secure tickets online before arriving as some nights may sell out. Adults: $34-$45; ages 4-17: $17-$20; age 3 and under free. Open 2-8 p.m.; Nov. 24-26; Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-23, 27-30. If you’re traveling from afar and would like to stay the night, special Christmas by Candlelight lodging packages are available at the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges. (Linked via website.) 800-733-1830, www.osv.org/event/christmas-by-candlelight/
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S NEW SIGNATURE LAND TOURS
Expand your travel horizons with three new itineraries spanning five countries offered by National Geographic Expeditions. Each trip offers opportunities to be surrounded by exotic wildlife, natural wonders, and archeological sites. The new Signature Land group-guided trips will visit Bhutan (Land of Mysticism and Mythology, the 11-day, 10-night itinerary includes visiting major destinations such as Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Phobjikha Valley, from $10,995); Colombia (Connections to the Land and the Past, a nine-day, eight-night tour from the mountains to the beaches, from $5,995); and the Baltics (Enchanted Forests and Medieval Castles, the 11-day, 10-night itinerary visits destinations such as Vilnius, the Curonian Spit, Klaipeda, Riga, Sigulda, Gauja National Park, and Tallinn, from $7,795).
As with all of the company’s expeditions, a National Geographic expert host will bring a one-of-a-kind perspective to the itineraries. As experienced storytellers, the experts provide an in-depth look at the history, cultures, and natural heritage of each destination. The Expeditions website also offers a head-spinning roster of itineraries to choose from around the globe. You can narrow your search by trip types such as river cruises, train travel, and family, as well as by interest, such as nature and wildlife, history and archeology, birdwatching, photography, and more. 888-732-2379, www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/
TASTY AND NUTRITIOUS BACKPACKING MEAL KITS
After a full day of hiking, ever wish you could sit down to a tasty hot meal? If you’re not staying at a fancy glamping let-us-feed-you campground, or if you’re not traveling with a private chef (and who does that?), then Out-Paks by Tippins Foods may be the perfect solution for enjoying a nutritious, easy-to-prepare meal at your campsite. The company began producing its grab-and-go meal kits in May, with the goal of allowing you to bypass the need to spend time planning your meals and more time planning and enjoying your excursions.
Each of the five Out-Paks offers a freeze-dried breakfast or dinner main dish, two side dishes, condiment, beverage mix, and an additional assortment of pre-packaged ready-to-eat snacks for the trail. For example, in addition to the cremini mushroom pasta entre, the Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta Pak includes white bean soup, dried papaya, edamame beans, protein bar, gummy bears, and a bite of dark chocolate. Additional meals offered include Spanish Rice with Chicken and Chorizo; Yellow Curry with Lamb; Fruit Medley Muesli Breakfast; and Breakfast Scramble with Corned Beef. (New options such as vegan and gluten-free meals are in development.) Designed to fill you up, each menu includes between 1,300 and 1,500 calories. To ensure quality and flavor, all Tippins freeze-dried foods are made from scratch, cooked, and freeze-dried in their Pennsylvania kitchen, and then packaged in recyclable, waterproof, and biodegradable cardboard tubes sealed with natural beeswax. $20.99-$24.99. www.tippinsfoods.com