Traditions and Holiday Customs of New England: A Hands-On Experience
Start and End Dates:
11/30/2014 - 12/5/2014
West Swanzey, New Hampshire
Price starting at:
Price may vary based on date, departure city
15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian
Explore the rich traditions and unique customs of the New England holiday season. Experience a hands-on celebration and take your creations home to enhance your holidays. Through recordings, concerts, and participation, enjoy the music of the season from carols to the classics. There's no better way to begin the holiday season than this beautiful New Hampshire setting.
• Make gingerbread houses and create traditional decorative crafts including woodcraft, wreath-making, painting and holiday crafts.
• Learn traditional recipes of holiday fare, especially breads, cookies and chocolates from several different ethnic heritages, then enjoy the final product.
• Explore lessons and dramatic readings along with classical literary expressions.
No experience is necessary and a limited amount of walking is required. Choices always given to accommodate interests and physical abilities.
Coordinated by Pilgrim Pines Conference Center.
Nestled in the valley of southwest New Hampshire, West Swanzey is one of several postcard-perfect towns in the Monadock region. Winding roads pass covered bridges, historic sites and the 3,000-foot Mount Monadnock, one of the most popular ascents in New England.
Comfortable retreat center with beautiful sites on the shore of Swanzey Lake. Single rooms available at no extra cost.
Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Dr. Janet Grayson is professor emeritus of English at Keene State College, a liberal arts college in New Hampshire. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. Janet’s major academic work was in medieval literature but her interests and writing cover a broad range of topics. The Janet Grayson Lecture in Literary Studies was established in 2002 to honor Professor Grayson’s 35 years of service to Keene State College and has featured many award-winning authors and poets.
Meals and Lodgings
Retreat center located on a lake with a quiet country friendly atmosphere
220 W. Shore Rd
Swanzey, NH 03446 USA
All rooms have private bath. Cabins by the Lake, condo style housing available and enjoy the quaint historic Mayflower Lodge. New beds in all units... single and double beds available.
Additional nights prior:
Check in time:
Additional nights after:
Check out time:
Start of Program:
3:00 p.m. in Mayflower Lodge - Office You will be staying at
End of Program:
12:15 p.m. Mayflower Dining Room -Lunch You will be staying at
the night before.
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Parking is free
To Start of Program
Nearest city or town:
Interstare Rte. 91, Highways #10, #32
From End of Program
Additional transportation information same as above
Logan/, Boston/Hartford Springfield, Bradley/Manchester
Advanced Reservations Required
Per Person/One Way:
Logan-$160.00 Bradley-$145.00 Manchester-$136.00 per person... addl second person is $40.00 more
Prices are subject to change.
Logan - 95 miles. Bradley - 85 miles. Manchester - 75 miles
Bus service is available from Bradley - requires bus change. No bus service from Logan or Manchester. Rental car rental is an option. Avis and Enterprise have drop-sites in Keene. Please call Chuck Anderson, Coordinator 603-499-1994 to ask about the possibility of coordinating schedules with other participants.
Highway #2 West to 140 N. 140 N to 12 N. 12 N through Troy, NH to Flat Roof Mill Rd., (3.5 miles N of Troy) L on Flat Roof Mill Rd to #32. (about 4 miles - stop sign). R on 32 and an immediate L on Swanzey Lake Rd. 2.2 miles on Swanzey Lake Rd to West Shore Rd. Turn R and follow 1 mile to Pilgrim Pines sign.. continue 1/4 mile to Mayflower Lodge - Office.
Hartford, CT/Springfield, MA
#91 N to exit 28A...(N of Greenfield, MA exit) Follow #10 N from that exit through Winchester, NH. Four miles N of Winchester look for Pilgrim Pines sign. When you pass the Shamrock Reality building, turn R on Westport Village Rd and follow one mile to Homestead Ave. Bear R onto Homestead Ave and follow one mile to Swanzey Lake Rd. Turn R onto Swanzey Lake Rd and follow 1.8 miles to West Shore Rd. Turn L on West Shore Rd and follow one mile to Pilgrim Pines sign... continue 1/4 mile to Mayflower Lodge - Office.
Bring your favorite apron or work clothes for crafts, baking and wreath making and containers to bring home your food creations.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.
Afternoon arrival/Welcome, orientation
(Sunday, November 30)
Orientation session and overview of week
CHECK-IN & REGISTRATION beginning 3:00-3:30 pm in the Mayflower Lodge office on the Pilgrim Pines Campus. When you get your room assignment, you will also receive your welcome packet containing your name tag, up-to-date schedule, and other important information for the week. WELCOME RECEPTIONS. Join us for coffee and snacks anytime from 3:30-5:00 pm with an opportunity to meet fellow Road Scholars.
Our welcome dinner begins at 6:00 pm in the Mayflower Dining Room. Served buffet style the meal will include a salad bar, meat and vegetable entrée, dessert and choice of drinks. Gluten free and special dietary menus are provided by our professional chefs on request.
Orientation 7:15 pm will begin with introductions of our instructors and programs for the week. Time will be given to review the schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and answer questions. Focused on our theme this week we will gather round the tree and share stories of the season, along with songs of the season. Following the session, there will be a snack available, opportunities for continued conversation, gather for a parlor game, watch TV, read and wind down the day as your prefer.
Gingerbread Houses, crafts and woodcrafts
(Monday, December 1)
Design and bake gingerbread houses. Craft project and first session in woodshop.
Breakfast will be served 8:00-8:45 am, buffet style in the Mayflower Dining Room featuring choices of cold and hot cereals, bread to toast, scrambled eggs, sausage or bacon, fruit bar with yogurt and granola, plus coffee, tea, and juice.
We will stay in the Dining Room and begin our first session by designing our Gingerbread House, then roll out the dough, cut out the design and bake. During the morning there will be an opportunity for a Coffee break. y
Lunch will be served buffet style in the Mayflower Dining Room inviting you to the choices of a full salad bar, soup of the day and taco salad and or sandwich, brownies or cookies and drinks of your choosing. gluten free or special vegetarian meals are available upon request.
This afternoon we will gather for our first craft session to make something appropriate for the season. After a break time you will be invited to our Maintenance Center to do a Woodcraft project. Project choices will be given and each choice will involve transferring the design to the wood, cutting out of the design, sanding, putting together the project and finish by painting and/or staining. We plan a break before dinner to give time for a shower and relax.
Dinner will be served at 5:30 pm in the Mayflower Dining Room. After announcements and a blessing for the day, a full buffet dinner awaits your palate, featuring a salad bar, meat and vegetable entrée, dessert and drinks of your choice. Alternative entrées and special dietary menus are available upon request.
Following dinner, Janet Grayson, a retired professor of literature at Keene State College will do a presentation the literary classic of "A Christmas Carol".
Following the evening session you are invited to return to the Dining Room to enjoy some snacks, conversation, puzzle making, parlor games, watch TV, read or wind down the day as you prefer.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Gingerbread houses Music of the season
(Tuesday, December 2)
Build and decorate gingerbread houses Craft project
Breakfast will be served 8:00-8:45 am in the Mayflower Dining Room, buffet style featuring choices of cold and hot cereals, breads to toast, scrambled egos, sausage or bacon fruit bar with yogurt and granola, plus coffee, tea and juice.
This morning we will stay in the Dining Room and build, decorate and finish our Gingerbread houses. All the supplies will be furnished for your creative work. During the morning there is a coffee break for you to take whenever you choose.
Lunch will be served buffet style from 12:00-12:45 pm in the Mayflower Dining Room, featuring a full salad bar, soup of the day, deli sandwich, brownies or cookies, and drinks of your choice. Alternative menus are available upon request.
Following lunch there will be an opportunity to finish your craft project. After a break you will be invited to spend some time working on your woodcraft project in the maintenance center. We plan some time before dinner to give time for a shower or just relax.
Dinner will be served buffet style at 5:30 pm in the Mayflower Dining Room featuring a salad bar, meat and vegetable entrée, dessert and drinks of your choice. Gluten free and special dietary menus are always available upon request.
Tonight after dinner we plan to have either a film or a local folk art musician provide an evening of entertainment. Following the concert your are invited to the Dining Room for a light snack, conversation, puzzle-making TV or whatever.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Baking Cookies/Chocolates Jazz Band Concert
(Wednesday, December 3)
Breakfast will be served buffet style from 8:00-8:45 am in the Mayflower Dining Room featuring pancakes, sausage or bacon, hot and cold cereals, bread to toast, fruit, yogurt car along with coffee, tea, and juices.
This morning we will begin by day by baking and decorating cookies. Following a break we will have a session focused on the History of different customs observed during the Holiday Season.
Lunch will be served in the Mayflower Dining Room from 12:30-1:15 pm and will include a salad bar, soup of the day and a choice of deli wraps. In addition to a dessert of the chefs choice, coffee, tea, milk, juices are available for your consumption. Alternate menus are available upon request.
Open afternoon will include the choice of going to the city of Keene located 10 miles from Pilgrim Pines Campus to shop or spend time at the Historical Society of Cheshire County or the Colony House. Other options will be on campus to continue work on woodcraft projects or do your own thing..
Dinner will be served one again buffet style at 5:30 pm in the Mayflower Dining Room featuring a salad bar, meat and vegetable entrée, dessert, and choice of drinks. Alternative menus are always available upon request.
Following dinner we plan to attend the Jazz Band Concert at Keene State College. Directed by Don Baldini, this is an outstanding show that many of our Road Scholars have enjoyed. Mr Baldini played bass for Frank Sinatra and serves as an instructor in our Road Scholar program. Transportation will be provided by maxi-vans. Following the concert we will return to Pilgrim Pines campus where a light snack, conversation, puzzle- making, TV or whatever awaits your closure of the day.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Breads and Chocolates Christmas Carol presentation
(Thursday, December 4)
Baking Breads Finishing Woodcraft projects
A delicious breakfast will be served from 8:00-8:45 am in the Mayflower Dining Room. Enjoy the many choices that await your palate.
This morning we plan to bake sweet breads and do chocolates. Following a break we will enjoy a presentation on the classic: "Christmas Carol"
Lunch will be served buffet style in the Mayflower Dining Room, featuring a salad bar, soup of the day, chicken sandwiches, dessert and choice of drinks. Our professional chefs are available to provide alternative menus upon request. .
Following lunch wreath making will be an opportunity for all Road Scholars. After a break you will have the option of finishing your woodcraft projects or enjoy some free time.
A full linen dinner will be served buffet style at 5:30 pm in the Mayflower Dining Room with a full salad bar, meat and vegetable entrée, dessert, and drinks of your choice. In addition, we hope that we have provided well for special dietary needs. .
Participants are invited to participate in a Homespun event where they share their favorite story, poem, writing, creative writing, song, joke, etc. followed by Yankee Swap. Following the program a light snack, conversation, puzzle-making, TV, reading, whatever will be available to help us close our day.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Visit to Stonewall Farm
(Friday, December 5)
Hayride at Stonewall Farm
Breakfast will be served in our usual buffet style beginning at 7:45- 8:30 am in the Mayflower Dining Room and will feature baked oatmeal , a specialty of the house.
Weather permitting, we plan to visit Stonewall Farm, an educational, program sustaining farm located about 12 miles from Pilgrim Pines for a hayride. Late morning we will return to Pilgrim Pines Campus to check out of our rooms.
Our Farewell luncheon will be served at 12:00 noon and will feature once again our full buffet lunch menu. Box lunches will be available for those who need to leave early. Enjoy of the food and craft treasures to take home and we hope these days will be a wonderful preparation for the holiday season.
Free Time Opportunities
New Hampshire Devision of Travel and Tourism
State of New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development 172 Pembroke Road P.O. Box 1856 Concord, New Hampshire 03302-1856 Fax: 603-271-6870 or email@example.com To order your vacation kit please call: 800-FUN-IN-NH (386-4664) To speak with one of our Division office staff please call: 603-271-2665 For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary:
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.
You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.
As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.
Specifically, this program includes:
5 nights accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
Expert-led lectures: 2
Led by one or more of our world-class instructors, typically in a classroom setting, lectures come in the form of presentations, discussions or workshops and offer expert insight into your area of study.
Field trips: 1
The world is your classroom, as you're on location with an instructor to pursue your educational theme firsthand.
Hands-on experiences: 9
Learn by doing in these "hands-on" activities directed by an expert.
A performance can range from a night at the opera to a visit from a local performer at your hotel.
Plus these special experiences...
Making of gingerbread houses
Musical programs featuring the Jazz Band of Keene State College and evening of musical entertainment.
Breads/Cookies/Wreath to take home
View the Daily Schedule to see more
And included with all Road Scholar programs:
Learning led by expert instructors who are authorities in the field of study.
An experienced Group Leader attuned to the needs of Road Scholar participants.
Customary gratuities throughout the program that you would normally pay yourself.
The Road Scholar Travel Assistance Plan, providing 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage.
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