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November 27, 2012 > Ardenwood Christmas

Ardenwood Christmas

By Jessica Noel Flohr

The holiday season has arrived! Twinkly lights are appearing on rooftops and balconies, turkey has been devoured and holiday shopping is underway. Among the hustle and bustle of preparing for winter festivities, take some time to relax and enjoy this time of year. Ardenwood Historic Farm has the perfect solution to the sometimes overwhelming holiday preparations.

Each year since the park's opening in 1985, the farm has held a special Christmas celebration. Being home to the historic Patterson House, a traditional Victorian farmhouse built in 1857, "Christmas at Ardenwood" has a nostalgic, Victorian charm. Volunteers and staff lovingly decorate the Patterson House in a different theme each year. Tours are held year-round, but the magic of Christmas really brings the house to life.

"Christmas at Ardenwood" isn't just an occasion to see beautiful lights and holiday dˇcor. This event is a full weekend's celebration! Dancing, caroling, wassailing, music, puppet shows, crafts, and a visit from Father Christmas, the Santa Claus of the Victorian age, provide wonderful memories for park-goers of all ages. Children will love the Yule log hunt! They gather after hearing the farm's bell rung and an initial clue begins the search. Gradually, more clues are revealed to help the hunters find their prize. The winner receives a slice of the Yule log, bringing good luck for the New Year.

For the grownups, a cookie-baking contest will be held on both days. Recipes and baked cookies are due at 11 a.m. and winners will be announced at noon. The Country Kitchen will have docents demonstrating baking old-fashioned treats on a wood-burning stove from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers will lead children making crafts at the Craft Corral; wooly lambs, made of wool from Ardenwood's own sheep, are always a favorite. Handcrafted gifts are also available for purchase and make great holiday treats. Train rides and carriages rides are available all weekend at a nominal cost.

In addition to "Christmas at Ardenwood," there are several other events happening in the park throughout December. Holiday tours of the elegantly decorated Patterson House will be available Thursday through Sunday until December 16 with a special magical evening open house on Friday, December 7. The monarch butterflies have begun their yearly migration south and can be found overwintering on the eucalyptus trees at the park. Several naturalist-led events are scheduled over the month, so be sure to check out the monarch program. On Tuesday mornings, Ranger Ira teaches very young children about feeding and caring for the animals on the farm. On December 15 there will be a workshop for making homemade holiday cards.

Ardenwood Historic Farm is a Bay Area treasure. Stop in this holiday season and step back into a slower pace of life. Bring a little nostalgia to your celebration by taking in all the delights of Ardenwood at Christmas time.

Christmas at Ardenwood
Saturday, Dec 1 and Sunday, Dec 2
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544-2797
Tickets: $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children ages 4 to 17, children three and under are free

Christmas Tours of the Patterson House
Thursday-Friday: Dec 6 and 7, 13 and 14
1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: Dec 8 and 9, 15 and 16
11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544-2797
Tickets: $4 adults and seniors, $3 children (plus farm admission)

A Christmas Evening at the Patterson House
Friday, Dec 7
5 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544-2797
Advance tickets: $5 adults and seniors, $3 children
At Door: $6 adults and seniors, $4 children

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