- Posted July 29, 2014 by
Jefferson, New Hampshire
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Vintage theme parks
SANTA’S VILLAGE is not just a vintage park left over from the 1950’s; it is a much-loved park for the young and young at heart.
For over 50 years, the Dubois family has owned and operated the Christmas themed park nestled in the heart of the White Mountains. It is a welcome change to the hurried parks of carnival attractions and overcrowded thriller rides. Santa’s Village offers a family experience like no other.
Your journey to Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, begins as you travel through the White Mountains and experience the breathtaking beauty of the area. The northern woods of New Hampshire creates the perfect backdrop for Santa’s summer home in the mountains. When you arrive at Santa’s Village, a huge TOY SOLDIER (photo 2) beckons your children to play as you purchase your park tickets. Christmas music will greet you as you interact with the animated Rudolph at the entrance. Once your family passes through the igloo separating the real world from Santa’s Village, you enter a world of enchantment as you enter the Village of Santa and his elves.
I had the pleasure of meeting Elaine Gainer, the daughter of Normand and Cecile Dubois and current owner of Santa’s Village. She informed me the park was her father’s dream. He envisioned an amusement park in the White Mountains without the hurried carnival type rides and games prevalent 50 years ago. The Dubois family decided on a Christmas theme and opened Santa’s Village to the public in 1953.
Upon my arrival on July 26th, I had the opportunity to meet the RHAE FAMILY (photo 1) of Berkley, Massachusetts. Chloe is almost six-years old and plans to visit Santa and introduce her one-year-old brother, Griffin, to all of Santa’s elves and reindeer. I asked Chloe if she had a favorite ride at Santa’s Village and she answered without hesitation – the HIMALAYA. She had already visited the ELF UNIVERSITY and picked up her Elfabet card as shown in the photo. Children desiring to play the game simply look for Santa’s 26 Elves (one for each letter of the alphabet) displayed throughout the park. All players receive a prize.
The Dubois family takes pride in their gorgeous landscaping and impeccably clean grounds. The FLOWERS (photo 3) are breathtaking and well cared for. Unique penguin trashcans are offered throughout the park and visitors enjoy using them. Marilyn, from the SNOWBALL MALL, indicated that workers start at 6 a.m. to make sure the grounds are kept clean for visitors.
The first ride offered at Santa’s Village was the LUPIN LOUIES also known as the LITTLE ELF FLYING SCHOOL (photo 4). It offers children the opportunity to control the movement of their own elevated sleigh. The SKYWAY SLEIGH ride, also known as the monorail (photo 5) offers a unique bird’s eye view of the park. The monorail travels at a slow speed to allow visitors to enjoy the scenery and take pictures from their life size sleighs in the sky. Another favorite ride is the YULE LOG FLUME (photo 6) where visitors three feet tall and taller are welcome to enjoy a meandering ride down the river, up a mountain and splash into the body of water below. One of the newest attractions at Santa’s Village is the HO HO H2O (photo 7) water park. Even though many loyal customers enjoy their favorite rides of yesteryear, they also want to enjoy the new amenities other parks offer. The water park offers an inviting way to cool off during the heat of the summer.
In addition to all the rides, many children enjoy watching one of the Christmas themed shows at POLAR THEATER and the JINGLE BELL THEATER. One scenic ride that will transport you to both Theaters is the JINGLE BELL JUNCTION RAILROAD. Children of all ages have a chance to create their own Christmas ornaments and decorations at the NORTH WORKSHOP and send a letter to Santa at the POST OFFICE.
Children also look forward to visiting the BLACKSMITH SHOP for a personally created ring made from a blacksmith nail. Don graciously offered to create a ring for me during my visit. It brought back great memories of when I first brought my son about 18 years ago. His first ride ever was on the REINDEER CAROUSEL at Santa's Village. A new addition since I last visited with my son is the REINDEER RENDEZVOUS (photo 8) where visitors can meet and feed all of Santa’s reindeer including Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Doner and Blitzen.
There are a variety of places to eat from ELFS LODGE, offering dining on the deck, NICK’S PIZZA EMPORIUM, offering homemade pizza with regular crust, multigrain and gluten free as well as the BURGER MEISTER, offering a usual food court menu. Santa’s Village offers a candy store, ice cream pallor and a bakery. The SUGAR ‘N SPICE BAKE SHOP is a must see! Visitors can purchase all sorts of goodies, but the most popular are the gingerbread cookies. ALANNA SCHUSTER (photo 9) showed off her gingerbread lady creation after she decorated it with colored frosting.
Even though Santa’s Village offers a multitude of activities, rides and attractions, the most popular activity is still visiting with SANTA! Jon Olson (photo 10) visited Santa when he was eight. He grew up frequenting Santa’s Village throughout his childhood and looked forward to the days spent at Santa’s Village. Alyssa and Patricia helped me choose a Christmas ornament to display my personal photo with Santa and they will help other visitors preserve their visit with a framed picture, keychain or ornament. The visit with Santa is a memory worth saving.
Santa’s Village also has a section near the wishing well where a life size NATIVITY is displayed and a CHURCH is always open for visitors to enter, say a prayer or simply marvel at the Christmas scenery. Whether you have visited Santa’s Village many times over the last 50 years or you are new to the park, you will certainly enjoy the ambiance of Christmas at Santa’s Village.
Santa’s Village was included in the top 25 amusement parks in the United States according to the 2014 Traveler’s Choice awards from Trip Advisor. It is a must see vintage amusement park that is growing in popularity while still maintaining its unique charm of yesteryear.