"A Dickens of a Christmas" Over the River and Through the Woods
Twinkling Lights, Living Windows, Carriage Rides, Arts & Crafts, Quilts, A Fireside Production, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides & Stories of the Season
December 2-5, 2016
There are many ways to tell the same wonderful story of Christmas.... just hop on board our "Dickens of A Christmas" tour and see for yourself as we wind our way through the state of Wisconsin for a delightful four days. We'll turn the clock back as the quaint community of Ripon comes alive at their 26th Annual "Dickens of a Christmas" festival. Downtown is dense with twinkling lights and living windows, carriage rides, live music and roasted chestnuts. Another visit is to Cadott where a team of horses await our arrival at Cabin Ridge. We'll be sure to sing Jingle Bells when riding "over the river and through the woods" to gas-lit cabins decorated for the season with the aroma of Irish Stew simmering. This Dickens of a Christmas would not be complete without the "Fireside Christmas" in Fort Atkinson. If Christmas hasn't been re-kindled in your heart yet... this is sure to do it! This musical is in the round (there's not a bad seat in the house) and the dinner is delicious. Join us as we bring to life "A Dickens of a Christmas".
This Four Day Victorian Dickens of A Christmas Tour Includes: Deluxe Motor Coach Transportation by Trobec Bus Company Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Virginia, Eveleth, Duluth, Baxter, Little Falls, Rice & St Cloud Three Nights Lodging: Eau Clair (Hampton Inn); Ripon (Boarders Inn); Fort Atkinson; (Holiday Inn Express) Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides / Cabin Ridge Rides - Irish Stew Dinner and Musical Entertainment Victorian Living Windows, The Little White School House, Arts & Craft Fair, Watson Street Tea and Treats & More A Fireside Dinner Theater for the Production of "A Fireside Christmas" Six Meals: 3 Breakfasts and 3 Dinners Luggage Handling, Most Tips and Fully Guided with a Happy Trails Tours Representative On Board.
$100.00 per person deposit due with reservation. Deposits are fully refundable with cancellations made by September 15, 2016. Full payments are due October 25, 2016. Monies returned with cancellations between September 15-October 25,2016 , are contingent to what Happy Trails Tours receives back from hotels, charters, tour companies, restaurants and theaters. Cancellations after October 25, 2016 receive no refunds since at that time we are financially committed to all inclusions. Thank you for your understanding. Trip cancellations insurance is available at an additional charge. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance when you make your initial deposit as it offers peace of mind and financial security and pre-existing conditions are waived. Final documents, day-by-day itineraries, hotel address & phone information should arrive in early November. This tour is based on 30 travelers.
Day 1: Dec 2 Getting Acquainted and Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides to the Cabin in the Woods This tour includes boarding in towns throughout Northeast & Central MN with Trobecs of St Stephens. We’ll begin with morning departures in Grand Rapids, Iron Range Cities (Hibbing, Virginia, Eveleth) Duluth & Cloquet. During this time, boarding will also begin in the central portion of the state (Brainerd, Little Falls, Rice and St Cloud). We'll be winding our way east through Wisconsin. 12:00 pm- Once in Eau Clair, we'll blend together at the Oakwood Mall. The food court offers a great variety of eateries. At the time this tour is being designed, many communities are still in the planning stages for holiday themed events. Please stay tuned as we hope to add a fun stop in Eau Clair/Chippewa Falls area before checking into the hotel at 3:30 pm. 5:30 pm- Board the coach and begin the first Christmas event of our tour- Over the River and Through the Woods. When we arrive at Cabin Ridge we'll be greeted by hosts, Rusty and Judy Gilles. The adventure begins with a horse drawn sleigh ride taking you deep within 400 acres of natural woods. The glistening snow and star-lit night only add to the enchantment of this event. Upon reaching the cabin we'll be treated to a delicious meal (Irish Stew in a Bread Bowl) in the gas lit lodge of Cabin Ridge. Now begins the "Concert in the Woods". You’ll be entertained by songs as well as stories and good humor by Tim Danville. We'll also meet local Irish historians Judy Gannon Gilles, who’ll make history come alive by portraying her grandmother Ella in 1945. Your day winds down with a relaxing horse-drawn sleigh ride out of the woods and back to our motor coach with just a short distance to our hotel. (Note: The horses move well in snow, but not "ice". If the trail into the woods is icy, they will use a tractor to pull the sleigh. )
Day 2: Dec 3 Travel to Ripon .......... "26 Annual Victorian Dickens of a Christmas" We'll have an early start today as Ripon is southeast 175 miles just west of Oshkosh. Breakfast is included this morning. A mid-morning stop will be made and we will arrive in the early afternoon. 12:00 pm- Arrive to downtown Ripon to Royal Ridges for the "Dickens Holiday Fair" (Arts & Crafts Show). J's BBQ (just across the street) offers the best BBQ - Everything "Christmas" is sure to delight us as we enjoy our time here. 2:00 pm- A "Dickens of a Christmas" continues...So much to do from quilt shows, gingerbread houses, Christmas tree displays and more. This day is filled with all Victorian and Christmas themed places and exhibits within walking distance. 3:30 pm - We'll get checked into our hotel downtown. The property does not have an elevator but most of our rooms are on the main floor. 5:00 pm- Board the coach for more Dickens.... with the Living Windows (Family Style Dinner served at 7 pm) Then we're off to the historic downtown area to see theLiving Windows. This is a "one-of-a-kind" experience. The quaint little streets are filled with twinkling lights, horse-drawn carriages, living nativity, carolers, store-keepers with novelty shops all along the Watson Street that come to life after 5 pm. Stop inside for hot apple cider....stroll along through an era gone by. You'll see why our hearts are endeared with the r real meaning of Christmas! Here you can take your time and stroll at your own pace. 8:30 pm- We'll return to the hotel. (Where once you've fallen off to sleep, visions of sugar plums can dance through your heads).
Day 3: Dec 4 Travel to Fort Atkinson ......... "It's a Fireside Christmas" We've still got a few delightful visits to make in Ripon before we say good-bye. After breakfast (included) we'll travel just a hop, skip and jump to Watson Street Tea and Treats for a little special gift for each of us. Sample one of her amazing teas before moving on to our next venue. As you know, Ripon has an interesting patriotic history.Our next stop is to the Little White School House. Built in 1853 and on the National Historic Registry, you'll see why this museum has is such an important site in the community of Ripon. We've made time at your leisure for lunch, paying on your own. Noon- We'll board the coach and begin our journey just a couple of hours south along Highway 26 to Fort Atkinson. 2:30 pm- Estimated arrival to the Fireside Theater in Fort Atkinson. Get ready for an amazing meal (plated with two entrees - fish and chicken). We've got plenty of time to check out the fabulous gift shops and bakery before the show begins at 5 pm. 5:00 pm- Dinner Theater - "A Fireside Christmas". This show is sure to re-kindle the true Christmas Spirit in all of us! Through songs, stories & dances - both traditional and original - they'll capture the very heart and essence of the holiday season. Plated Chicken/Fish. 7:00 pm- The show concludes and we'll travel to our hotel for a wonderful night's rest. (Note: We'll ask our driver to bring all your luggage to the hotel right after he drops us off a the theater so all of your luggage is waiting inside your rooms for you.)
Day 4: Dec 5 Homeward Bound ~ Over the River and Through the Woods with Fond Memories We'll begin our journey (after breakfast) northwest through the lovely rolling hills of the state of Wisconsin - arriving to Eau Clair at 11 am. We'll have lunch at the Oakwood Mall (paying on own) before saying good-bye to our new found friends. Our friends from Central MN will continue west on 94 home with their driver. Those from northeast Minnesota will continue their journey northwest along Hwy 53.
Estimated arrivals to Central MN are as follows: 4 pm to Sartell, 4:15 pm to Rice; 5 pm to Little Falls and 5:30 pm to Baxter.
Estimated arrival to NE MN: Dul/Sup- 4 pm; 5:30 pm to Eveleth; 5:45 pm to Virginia; 6:30 pm to Hibbing: 7:15 pm- Gr Rapids.
Disclaimer: Happy Trails Tours acts only as an agent for the various independent suppliers that provide hotel accommodations, transportation, theater, or other services connected with this tour. Such services are subject to the terms and conditions of those suppliers. Happy Trails Tours, INC and their respective employees, agents, representatives accept no liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or any other default of any company or person in performing these services. Responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages or expenses of any kind due to sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, local laws or other causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of country in which they are provided. Happy Trails Tours INC is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the tours/trips arranged by Happy Trails Tours. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing a travel insurance policy, if desired, that will cover some of the expenses associated with the loss of luggage or personal effects.