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It’s a Wonderful Life

With an abundance of festive cheer set against a landscape of snow-laden firs, Vermont has all the charm of the classic American Christmas movies, but dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a state like no other in the US
Vermont in December is snowy and sparkles with Christmas decorations; Woodstock’s Wassail Parade is a highlight
Jim Blair’s husky pack includes some sledding champions
Riders and spectators dress in festive costume for Woodstock’s Wassail equestrian parade. Many, like these worn by Rick Read and his daughter Sydney, are Victorian inspired
Festivities centre around Woodstock’s village green, with carol singing at dusk.

Wrapped in down jackets and woolly hats, the crowd gathered for the parade lets out a hoot of laughter as the inaugural performer trots into view. A Shetland pony with a Rudolph nose and antlers fixed to her harness, she moves skittishly down Woodstock’s main street. She is led on reins past shop windows strewn with baubles and fairy lights, and redbrick houses with lacquered front doors hung with wreaths of holly. Also among the seasonal cavalry are mighty shire horses towing cartloads of elves, girls dressed as Christmas trees perched on ponies, and older ladies riding side-saddle in full skirts and fake-fur hand muffs. Weaving among them on Rollerblades is a woman wearing a top hat, who shovels up the occasional pile of manure left in the merry conga’s wake.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - January 2018
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