I've been to a lot of Christmas lights displays, and this is one of my favorites for its simplicity. Christmas Magic is located in York County, PA in the Rocky Ridge County Park and has a lot of cute touches that make it perfect for families looking for a quick holiday experience to share. It's a flat 0.5 mile trail through lights and several enclosed, heated pavilions. It's small but quaint and exactly the low-key thing we were looking for at the time.
Turning Pages: Things to See
This place is entirely reasonable in price. Adults are $10, and kids are $5. You have to purchase timed tickets online. The timed ticket sales cut down on massive hoardes hitting the lights trail all at once and guarantees a nicer night. There's nothing magical about slowly shuffling through a herd of people, dodging heads and bodies to see everything.
Five Heated Pavilions
We visited on a deathly cold night, and the break from the frostbite was huge. One pavilion had a real fireplace to warm up beside, and the atmosphere couldn't have been any more perfect.
There are two different train displays with all sorts of tiny figurines and scenes to spend time looking at.
Kids can climb up into the giant sleigh to sit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The duo spent time talking to our girls about their hopes and dreams for Christmas, and they allow you to take pictures for free. I can't stomach it when places charge you to take pictures with Santa. This is one of the most egregious holiday sins. You can't put a price on a picture with the big guy, and this Christmas Magic does it right. They also gave the girls little gift bags after their Santa visit which was a really nice surprise. It consisted of some candy and a Turkey Hill ice cream cup and spoon - just adorable.
One of the last pavilions we strolled through had picnic tables and a live band playing holiday hits. We had some snacks, enjoyed the tunes, and prodded the girls to get up and dance to no avail. The York Revolution's baseball mascot, DownTown, made an appearance and shook his butt all over the tables, causing the girls to double over with hilarity.
At first glance, this book appears to be about summer and you're probably wondering how this could possibly be paired with Christmas Magic. The real magic of this story lies in the chapters that cover the winter months of a family in the off-season and the tragedy that has them scattering in all directions through a lonely Fall only to find their way back to each other by Christmas.
Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was magical - the writing, the characters, the family dynamic, the unrequited love stories, and the slow burn of it all wrapped me up so book nerdishly that I finished it in a day. There's a hint of magical realism in this but it skims along the plot instead of driving it. Quinn Sawyer falls in love with her best friend, Dylan, and a horrible tragedy strikes. The entire family loved Dylan in some form or other from her siblings to her Nana, and they all feel his loss in ways that they can't seem to share with one another. The family crumbles, and everyone is an island. I particularly loved Quinn's Nana and her best friend Hana, as they are both kind and loving in the stalwart ways we can all hope for our friends and family members to be. The Sawyer family runs a summer camp and lives on the grounds. Part of the mesmerizing nature of this book is the juxtaposition of the summer chapters from the past with the winter chapters of the present. The writing is beautiful, and it's really just a perfect little YA book.
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Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.