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5 must-do activities in Connecticut this holiday season

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The holiday season is upon us, and many people (families and singletons alike) are looking for unique ways to make this time of year even more special. If you are in Connecticut (or going to be in the area), you are in luck. Each corner of the state has gone all out to bring something special to visitors celebrating the season.

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Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Ski Resort

The Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Ski Resort offers 20 feature-rich trails for all skill levels complete with log-style rails, cascading jumps and the only full-size half pipe in Connecticut. Not a pro? Not a problem! The resort offers instructors using new terrain-based teaching methods. Powder Ridge is also home to Connecticut’s only “Burton riglet snowboarding program” for two-year-olds and up. And if you need a little downtime be sure to check out Fire at the Ridge restaurant (open for lunch and dinner), or the on-site retail shops.

Bethlehem Holiday Festival

Every year residents and visitors look forward to the annual holiday festival in Christmas Town (Bethlehem, Connecticut). This year’s festival runs on December 6 and 7th. You can enjoy hayrides, strolling carolers, and delicious food and more than 70 arts + crafts exhibitors. Basically, everything you could possible want in a Christmas festival is here! So, go for the tree lighting and stay to enjoy the spirit of the season.

Lake Compounce’s Holiday Lights and Family Fun

Founded in 1846, Lake Compounce is the oldest, continuously-operated amusement park in North America. This family theme park transforms itself into a holiday wonderland full of family-friendly holiday activities. Covered in thousands of twinkling lights, the park offers visitors a spectacular light show every half hour set to music. Be sure to check their website for available show times and tickets.

Essex Steam Train Santa Special

Kids will love the chance to visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and Christmas Penguin aboard the historic Essex Steam Train decorated for this special holiday experience. Not only will each child get a visit with Santa, but they will also receive a small holiday gift from one of Santa's elves! The train ride is approximately one hour long and children under two ride free (but must be seated on your lap). Coach and first class compartments are available.

Holiday Head Start at the Griswold Inn

Essex’s Main Street has some of the most charming antique shops, galleries and cute mom-and-pop clothing and jewelry stores, and to kick off the holiday deals, the Griswold Inn is offering a great pre-holiday special: Holiday Head Start: Shop, Spa & Stay. Who wouldn’t want to indulge in a luxurious spa treatment to prepare for the holiday festivities to come? The special includes a standard room with continental breakfast for two for just $130 (Sunday through Thursday). Plus, the Griswold Inn Store "Goods & Curiosities" and four other local shops and The Spa of Essex are presenting offers available exclusively to the hotel guests. Sounds like the perfect getaway to me!

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