Normal Rockwell, Currier and Ives, H. Hargrove and Thomas Kinkade all conjure instant visions of the holiday seasons in our heads. Why? Well, because with snow and icicle-dusted roofs, twinkling lights, wreaths and garland, plus convincing scenes of families and friends making the most of the season, they represent the idyllic holiday we all hope to have each year. And let’s face it, we could all use a bit of fantasy this 2020 holiday season.
While many of us stay put this year to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we thought it’d be the perfect time to virtually visit the real-life places of these iconic holiday and Christmas scenes that were painted to perfection by brushstroke.
1. Nestlenook Farm (Jackson, NH)
Horse drawn carriages adorned with jingle bells and comfy blankets, a picturesque skating rink with an arched foot bridge and hanging garland and trees with twinkling lights make this farm in New Hampshire a holiday delight. There’s a warming hut with a burning fireplace for when you’re doing gliding around the ice, and in the main building, they serve some pretty serious hot cocoa, too.
2. The Nassau Inn (Princeton, NJ)
If you’re looking for the setting of a real-life Hallmark holiday movie, Princeton, New Jersey is as good as it gets. The picturesque stone façade of the Nassau Inn sits at the center of Palmer Square, the crown jewel of the university town where a popular tree lighting ceremony takes place each year—don’t worry folks, it’s happening virtually in 2020. During the lighting, people generally buzz around the boutiques, restaurants, ice cream and coffee shops that line the square where it’s expected you’ll find the yuletide spirit in that first sip of cider or hot cocoa. Inside the colonial building, a roaring fireplace upstairs is Nassau Inn’s very magical spot to take in a cocktail and sit in the comfy red leather chairs and couches. Downstairs at the Tap Room restaurant, there’s even a large mural by Norman Rockwell himself behind the bar, proving this place is the real deal.