Located approximately 95 miles north of New York City and quaintly referred to as Connecticut’s “Christmas Town” is Bethlehem. One of Litchfield County’s smaller communities, Bethlehem offers visitors and residents important historic attractions and fun family events.
The town’s history includes the founding of the first theological seminary in the country by the Rev. Joseph Bellamy, whose home proudly stands today as the Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden under the auspices of The Antiquarian & Landmarks Society. The restored circa 1754 home is a must see for visitors to the area and includes a formal parterre garden, with a collection of peonies, roses and lilacs.
Bethlehem is also the home of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a working Benedictine Abbey founded in 1947 by Mother Benedict Duss and Mother Mary Aline Trilles de Warren from the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre, a 7th century Abbey located northeast of Paris, France. When the nuns arrived in America, they were taken in by Lauren Ford, a local artist internationally known for her religious artwork, who helped them establish the religious community. The Abbey is currently home to an 18th century museum quality Neopolitan Creche and hosts an annual Christmas Fair each year. Visit abbeyofreginalaudis.org for more information.
Given its name it is no wonder that Bethlehem is considered Connecticut’s “Christmas Town”. Each year the Post Office processes thousands of Christmas cards hand stamped with special Christmas cachets and mailed with the Bethlehem post-mark. Also, in December the town hosts an annual old-fashioned Christmas Town Festival on its historic Town Green. Buildings are decorated and the event is filled with holiday crafts and delicious food. A wonderful family event!
For more information about Bethlehem’s parks and recreation, regional school district 14, land trusts and government please visit the official town website: www.ci.bethlehem.ct.us