Charming in its own right, Cambridge, Ohio, is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains due east of Columbus. Through January 3, this petite town’s center is transformed into its own version of Victorian England, complete with 92 Charles Dickens–inspired scenes and 166 life-size mannequins, handmade by local artists and dressed in vintage period garb.
Stroll down Wheeling Avenue and keep an eye out for the setting of many a Dickensian moment—from Tiny Tim to Bob Cratchit to troupes of cheery carolers—as well as decorative panels completed by student artists that fill the windows of the historic buildings. Visit on a Saturday to warm up mid-tour with high tea (costume pieces are available for those who really want to set the old-world tone) in the Victorian Tea Room at the Dickens Welcome Center and Curiosity Shop, where you can also chat with the costumed volunteers about the history of the Dickens Victorian Village tradition and pick up a copy of the visitors guide.
Drop by the Guernsey County Senior Center to cast your vote for the Gingerbread House Contest on display through December 23, and stick around in the evening for the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Music and Light Show. Bring a blanket, grab a cup of cocoa from the peddler’s shop on the courthouse square, and settle in on the lawn to watch the light display, composed of 30,000 colored lights synchronized to classic holiday tunes that play across the stunning 19th-century architecture.
On Fridays and Saturdays, you can travel the town Victorian-style in a horse-drawn carriage—and if you go for the “Warm Your Heart Package,” it’ll even come with hot chocolate, cookies, a candy cane, and a hand warmer. If a visit to Cambridge doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, then all we’ve got to say is “Bah humbug!”
Welcome Center 745 Steubenville Ave., Cambridge, Ohio, dickensvictorianvillage.com