Nevada City's 1800s-Esque Kind of Holiday

Top hats on, Gold Country partiers; Victorian Christmas is nearly here.

YOU CAN TAKE THE TOP HAT OUT OF LONDON.... and it is usually just fine. We speak, of course, of the many iterations of "A Christmas Carol" that pop up around the globe come the yuletide season. Only a few of them actually are anywhere near the streets that Charles Dickens imagined Ebeneezer Scrooge roaming, but that doesn't matter: We're able to fill in much of that London-foggy color, even if we're watching a performance in a small, 12-seat strip mall theater or at a high school auditorium (one of the most charming places of all to see the ghosty tale spin out). But entering a real Victorian-esque street scene, sans players from "A Christmas Carol" but with buildings built in the general time period of the story, can capture the flavor of top hats and holly and pudding. Few places in the U.S. pull that off as well as Nevada City, which is not surprising, since the Gold Country burg still wears many of its 1800s styles along Broad Street and the surrounding thoroughfares. So when the town throws its annual Victorian Christmas celebration, you can bet you'll get much of that "God Rest Y Merry Gentleman" flavor from the fun, and you can find ye olde London right here in ye olde California.

DATES AND DELIGHTS: The merriment is happening over a host of Wednesdays and Sundays in December. There shall be carolers in full dress, flickering gas lamps, twinkling lights, "savory yuletide treats and libations," carriage rides, and a host of other to-dos as bright as a holly berry. Attendees are invited to also dress in hoop skirts and capes, in the hopes that the whole scene goes fully Currier & Ives (or your favorite nostalgia-nice painters of the general era). Nope, again, this is not a performance of "A Christmas Carol" but rather that time come to life, with a Gold Country twist. The 2014 Victorian Christmas, by the by, is the 36th one, and it has proven so popular that rooms do book up around the snug city. Have your top hat? Your carols memorized? Your love of lit-interesting settings come to life? Clip-clop, carriage-style, to Nevada City.

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