More than 50 years ago, a local women’s group started a wonderful holiday tradition in Ricalton Square in Maplewood, NJ. They called it Dickens Village. Every year since the early 1960’s, various holiday scenes from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol are brought to life, with each scene depicted in a tiny home.
According to Ellen Davenport, an organizer of this holiday event and a former mayor of town, Dickens Village began with 4-5 mini houses set up in the square. Today, there are approximately 10 houses each measuring over six feet tall. Each year the homes are lovingly restored and then decked out with candles, wreaths and garland for a festive holiday display. You will find Santa’s house, Scrooge’s house and the Cratchit house among others. Peek inside and you will see fireplaces, stockings and antique toys. Each little house reveals something unique and different.
This community tradition opens in December and runs each Saturday until Christmas. Visitors can wander throughout Ricalton Square looking in the windows of the houses to see the holiday scenes. The doors to each house are open on Saturdays, December 3, 10 and 17 in 2016 for better viewing. Local Brownies and Girl Scouts act as docents. The Menorah will be lit on December 27.
There are a lot of other activities available as well as viewing the mini houses. Horse and wagon rides, a petting farm, story time, crafts, carolers and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus are all fun activities for the kids. On December 10, families can have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at either St. James’s Gate or the Village Trattoria. Tickets are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. They can be purchased at the Village Wine Shop and at No. 165. For a complete schedule of Dickens Village events, please click here.
Dickens Village is a gift from the business community to the local residents and the many visitors who stop by. The Maplewood Village Alliance supports the Dickens Village, and local businesses and organizations sponsor each house. Volunteers decorate the homes.
As Ellen Davenport says, “There are always couples and families wandering through the Village. It’s just delightful!” I hope you and your family get a chance to stop by Ricalton Square to see Dickens Village and take part in the fun holiday activities. Have a wonderful holiday season!
Allison Ziefert is a Maplewood, NJ based realtor and the #1 individual real estate agent at Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct in Maplewood, NJ. A local market expert, Allison specializes in Maplewood, NJ real estate and homes and South Orange, NJ real estate and homes as well as Millburn/Short Hills, NJ, West Orange, NJ and surrounding towns. Allison’s success as a Maplewood/S. Orange realtor is driven by earning great testimonials from sellers and buyers of homes in her marketplace. You can read her testimonials at www.azhomesnj.com/testimonials.