A Lake County Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Our best holiday present is from you – our faithful readers. The Lake County Visitors Bureau is grateful for your interest by continuing to receive our newsletter. It means a great deal to us. During this special season, we hope to return the favor. Celebrate in Lake County with our wonderful attractions, restaurants, B&B’s and hotels for New Year’s Eve getaways.
Shopping in Lake County is worth the trip for the many quaint, distinctive shops and renovated Great Lakes Mall. Explore unusual and appealing stores like Craft & Antique Co-Op in Painesville Township, with 47,000 square feet of space, which has 135 vendors and is growing 20% to 30% a year. The co-op sells 10,000 items biweekly. Many are drawn to the co-op because of product diversity and they save on gas by doing more of their shopping in one place (yet still support multiple vendors). Lake County’s lower taxes will also save you money in most cases for some big ticket items, depending on where you live.
May we again remind you about a stunning event, often overlooked by most media. The Nativity Exhibit at Historic Kirtland Visitors’ Center features 700 Nativity crèches from around the world, from a six foot high crèche requiring 20 sections to be assembled, to tiny works of art using natural materials. The exhibit is free. The Nativity Exhibit is a past American Bus Association Top 100 Event winner, a special award amidst hundreds of entries from across the country. Taking your children or parents and grandparents will certainly evoke the spirit of the holidays.
We look forward to a better 2013 for you and the Bureau. Enjoy!
Great Lakes Mall Welcomes Caring Santa
Great Lakes Mall once again welcomes Santa this year! Throughout December, you and your children can visit him every day in the mall – and you can even make reservations this year! Make an appointment by texting RESERVE to 74666 or go to greatlakesmall.fullslate.com.
Great Lakes Mall will hold a Caring Santa™ event this holiday season on Sunday, December 2 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Caring Santa is a special event dedicated to families that have children with special needs, providing a subdued environment to visit The Santa Photo Experience located in the Dillard’s south concourse.
Many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the children’s magical visit with Santa. This environment includes:
- Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the Santa set, dimming the lights, and shutting down fountains during the duration of the event.
- Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called.
- Special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the ‘wait’ period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.
This will be the second year for the Caring Santa program at many Simon malls. “Last year, we saw families who received a Santa photo with their child for the very first time,” said Sheryl Young, CEO of AbilityPath.org. “We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy.”
“We are thrilled to be the venue for this incredible event,” said Renee Lanzara, director of marketing and business development, Great Lakes Mall. “The Caring Santa program brings a lot of joy to children with special needs and to see that happen at our mall is truly an honor.”
Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event at Great Lakes Mall by going to www.AbilityPath.org. Attendees should enter the mall through the food court doors the morning of the event.
Willoughby Shopping – Holiday Stroll
The holiday season is upon us, which means lights will be going up in the city of Willoughby! The downtown Willoughby Holiday Stroll will be held Thursday, November 29 to Saturday, December 1. The tree lighting will occur at 7pm on Thursday. Santa will visit on his sleigh and shops will be open until 9pm!
Painesville Shopping – Spirit of the Season
Join us in Downtown Painesville for a parade with Santa, holiday crafts, letters to Santa, trolley tours of Historic Painesville, games, music, and more! Activities are from 12-3pm on Saturday, December 1.
Wildwood Holiday Display and Craft Show
Unique holiday crafts, wreaths and swags, ornaments, jewelry, baked goods, wood crafts, live greenery, and much more are waiting for you at Wildwood Cultural Center & Park on Sunday, December 2 from 10am-4pm. Piano music will be played from 10am-noon. Donations accepted at entry.
Christmas Carol Dinner
Enjoy a six-course Christmas Feast as you are immersed in the sights, sounds, and spirit of a truly magical Victorian Christmas. Dinner is presented in the historic Oak Room of the Old Firehouse Winery during December weekends. Call 440-466-8650 to make a reservation.
Some years ago, we had a recipe for a Summer Punch (of course, we lost that one). We tried this “Winter Wine Punch” and were most impressed, especially since we have all the necessary wines and champagne at Old Firehouse Winery.
• 1 Bottle Firehouse Spumanti
• 1 can limeade, thawed
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 2 Bottles Firehouse Cellars Merlot (Or Lake Erie Chambourcin)
• 1 bottle club soda (33 oz.)
• 1 bottle tonic water (10 oz)
• 1/2 cup cranberry juice
• Orange, lemon, and lime slices
Pre-chill ingredients. In a punch bowl, combine wine, limeade (don’t dilute it!), orange juice, and cranberry juice. Add ice cubes, or if you really want to impress your guests, use a decorative ice ring.
Stir in club soda, tonic water, and Firehouse Cellars Spumanti. (We suppose other, inferior brands would work, but why take a chance?) Float fruit slices. Served in wine glasses, punch cups, or, if you’re serving out of town relatives, cheap plastic glasses.
So you want to make an ice ring. Lay fresh cranberries, mint springs, and orange, lemon & lime slices in the bottom of a round mold. Add water to barely cover fruit and freeze. Add water to reach top of mold and freeze again. Dip mold in hot water to release.
New Years Celebration at Grand River Cellars
Come to this Madison, Ohio winery for a fantastic New Year’s Eve Celebration! Eat to your heart’s content at the large buffet dinner, snack table, and dessert tray. Dancing begins at 8:30pm and to help with your dance moves, you will receive one free bottle of wine per couple! After the music stops at 12:30am, a light breakfast will be served before sending everyone home. Party favors are included.
More Food & Wine Activities
Wickliffe Home Lighting Contest
Do you think you or a neighbor have the best Christmas light display in Wickliffe? A committee will be touring the city to find the best lighting display for 2012, and they are looking for Griswold family extravagance! To enter your display or your neighbors’ display, call 440-943-7210 with the name, address, and phone number by December 17.
Christmas Tree Traditions
There is something special about picking out a live tree from one of the many tree farms throughout Lake County. Just ask the Kangas Family. They have been going to Mountain Creek Farm in Concord for more than 20 years!
“For more than 20 years, three generations of our family have being coming to the farm. There is something magical about walking through the fields with a warm drink during a light snowfall that sets the Christmas ambiance for picking out the perfect tree. We have tall ceilings and always look for an 8-foot plus tree; the problem has never been finding a tree of that size, but selecting which one is the biggest and most beautiful. In 2006, I proposed to my wife by putting her engagement ring into a Christmas ornament, which I gave to her once we got our tree home. We’ve returned every year since and each year, our group expands to include more family and friends. Needless to say, the farm holds a special place in our Christmas celebration.”
If you are looking to pick out your tree this season, here are some great places around Lake County for you to check out!
Emerald Ridge Christmas Trees and Wreaths – 7000 Route 307, Madison – (440) 428-6132; cut your own Scotch pine trees and offers wreaths, tree bags, shaking, baling, gift shop, refreshments and tractor driven wagon rides; opens the day after Thanksgiving through December 23, 10am-5pm, Sat & Sun 10am-5pm and weekdays by appointment.
McKosky’s Tree Farm – 14740 Leroy Center Rd, Thompson – (440) 298-1412; precut fir and pine trees or cut your own pine or spruce, shook, drilled and baled for free, also wreaths, crosses, roping, refreshments, gingerbread playhouse for kids and a scenic covered bridge; Opens the day after Thanksgiving through December 24 weekends 9am-5pm and weekdays by appointment.
Mountain Creek Farm – 7185 Williams Road, Concord – (440) 354-8928; cut your own trees, also offer wreaths, roping, tree bags, shaking, baling, gift shop, hot cider and hot chocolate served on weekends; Open Tue-Fri noon-5pm, Sat & Sun 9am-5pm, closed Mon.
More Outdoors Events
Grinch to Visit the Lighthouse
On December 1 at 6pm, the Grinch, his dog Max, Cindy Lou Who, and others will appear at the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse for the annual reading of the Dr. Seuss classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Free photos with Santa, hot chocolate and snacks will follow.
Wickliffe Library Gingerbread House Contest
At 2:30pm in the Wickliffe Public Library on December 19, create your very own, very yummy gingerbread house for the holidays! All supplies will be provided. You may bring your own candy decorations if you choose to give your house a special touch. The houses will be judged by Wickliffe Public Library staff members. Prizes are available! Register at 440-516-READ.
YMCA Holiday Festival
The Outdoor YMCA in Perry is once again welcoming Santa for their Holiday Festival! This is a wonderful family event open to the entire community that features many crafts and projects for the kids. Holiday entertainment, wagon rides, and hot food concessions are also available. The event is December 2 from 1-4pm.
More Activities for Family