My favorite time to visit Skaneateles starts the day after Thanksgiving when the little lakeside community kicks off their annual Skaneateles Dickens Christmas. Normally a weekend event, opening day takes place on Friday with a parade of Christmas Carol characters spreading holiday cheer throughout the village.
All of the quaint stores, coffee shops and restaurants lining Genesee Street and Jordan Street are open for business. They even have chestnuts roasting on an open fire!
Only a day trip from Rochester, it’s a great way to experience what the folks in Stockbridge, MA call a “Norman Rockwell Christmas”.
From the Skaneateles COC website
“Step back in time and enjoy the holidays the old-fashioned way with Dickens Christmas. Charles Dickens and his cast of over 50 characters will interact with residents and visitors in the streets, stores and restaurants. Don’t miss lively acts at the Library (and Mother Goose too!), live music, unique shopping, wonderful food and horse and wagon rides around the Village. Our annual World’s Smallest Christmas Parade Ever is on opening Friday.”
A sample of Skaneateles Dickens Christmas events
These change slightly year-to-year, but are indicative of the fun you’ll have!
- Free horse and wagon rides around the Village. Pick up in front of the Sherwood Inn.
- Christmas carol sing-along at the Gazebo with the entire Dickens cast.
- Mother Goose reads holiday stories to the children at the Skaneateles Library
- Special shows at the Skaneateles Library
- Free roasted chestnuts
- Father Christmas greets the children on the porch of the Masonic Temple
- The Dickens characters act out scenes from a Christmas Carol on the steps of the Masonic Temple
Dining & Shopping in Skaneateles
Dining and shopping here is a big draw all year long, with its beautiful lakeside location. Shopping is easy—just stroll around village, and stop into the various boutiques along Genesee Street (US-20), Jordan Street and Fennel Street. We found Skaneateles Artisans on Fennel just wandering around. Plus there’s a great thrift shop in the basement of the Masonic Temple, St. James Thrift Store.
When you start getting hungry, keep these places in mind:
- Doug’s Fish Fry – If you have to pick just one place to eat while in town, this is the place.
- Rosalie’s Cucina – People come from miles away to eat at this Italian restaurant and reservations are required!
- The Sherwood Inn – Not only is The Sherwood the center of Dickens Christmas activities, it is a gorgeous, historic building serving excellent meals. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
- Skaneateles Bakery – Perfect for a quick sandwich or hot beverage!
Since you’ve driven all this way, you may enjoy a drive around Skaneateles Lake! You can drive around the entire lake in an hour.
More information about Skaneateles Dickens Christmas
- Cost: Free
- Located 80 minutes / 70 miles from Rochester (get directions)
- More information: skaneateles.com
Rochester has plenty of ways to help you connect with your inner holiday spirit! Enjoy the stories, traditions, and experiences this season has to offer.