Reedville puts on model Christmas celebration
IT’S A REAL tossup on what’s the neatest fact of Reedville’s unique annual Christmas celebration, offered for the 19th year this Saturday and Sunday by the town’s Fishermen’s Museum.
Yes, it’s the only Christmas/decorated holiday house tour in the state where you can visit every highly decorated home via boat shuttle.
But the Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek event also offers the most elaborate combination of trains and home models around.
And this year, the model even has a circus marching through the painstakingly recreated downtown, complete with Victorian homes and the trains of the Northern Neck Railroad.
Only the sharpest eyes around will spot the tiger that has escaped its cage and is snarling at a resident who discovered it, or the car half sunk in the model version of Cockrell’s Creek.
“We put little things like the tiger and the swamped car in just to create a little excitement,” said Sam Walker, one of the many railroad and model-building enthusiasts who work year-round to create the display inside the museum’s Pendleton Building.
Walker and others explained that the circus coming to town is an idea several of the model-building/train group came up with to spice up the display.
They ordered parts of it, then did what they always do: craft other parts of their displays with whatever materials they can beg, borrow or, well, find.
So in addition to seeing trains rumble by the amazingly accurate models of the Victorian homes in Reedville, they can see a circus parade coming through town.
It features circus wagons, a circus band, elephants and other animals. And there are nearby boats from which the circus has unloaded its various units.
While that model builders have been working frantically to get that exhibit ready for the throng of visitors who’ll come during the holidays, others in the Northumberland County town at the tip of the Northern Neck have been making sure the decorated-house tour will come together as well.
Susan Tipton and Maureen Gillmer with the museum said they’re thrilled that, for the first time in a while, each and every home being decorated by the talented members of the Chesapeake Bay Garden Club can be reached by provided boat shuttles.
“Most years there are several homes on the tour reached by our shuttles, but others you had to reach by car,” said Tipton, noting that this is the 15th year of the boat-shuttle component. “This year, you can park your car and take the boat shuttles everywhere you want to go.”
The pair noted that the event, which runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., has a special reason to use boat shuttles.
“Our mission at the museum is to highlight the Northern Neck’s rich maritime history,” said Gillmer, noting that the port of Reedville was established in 1867 when Capt. Elijah Reed sailed down from Maine to set up his first small fishery.
Tipton noted that back before everyone in the fishing community had a car or two, watermen and others living along the creeks and rivers of the Northern Neck did much of their visiting by boat.
In addition to a selection of homes both old and new, some in the town’s historic district, there are other interesting aspects to the tour that draws visitors from all over the state.
One is a special spot called Santa’s Workshop, the transformed Masonic Lodge on Main Street that sells bracelets, paintings, pottery and other gifts crafted by members of the museum.
Toss in the arrival of Santa on the museum’s historic buyboat, the Elva C., at 9 p.m.; a pantry and bake sale and specially decorated portions of the museum, and it’s quite an event.
Enjoy the shuttles, but don’t miss the trains.
You’ll be delighted, whether you’re a child or just a child at heart.
WHAT: Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek
WHEN: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Reedville Fishermen’s Museum
TICKETS: House tour: $25 in advance, $30 on tour days. Advance tickets available at the museum.
FOR MORE INFO: Call 804/453-6529 or go online to rfmuseum.org.
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415