Christmas on Historic Chestnut Street went on in the Borough of Bath, marking the 11th year of the holiday celebration that brings crafts, music, and shopping to downtown. This year, however, looked a little different than years past. About a dozen pop-up crafters and antique dealers set up booths along the street to allow for safe, outdoor shopping as COVID-19 cases around the area rose and new restrictions were set in place. 

The pop-up shops, explained Carol Bear-Heckman, an organizer of the event, were “kind of a COVID creation.” She said that a lot of antique shows have moved outside this year as indoor shows got canceled. 

As visitors browsed the outdoor booths, they could check out a collection of antique cars, another new addition. Or, they could pop into any one of the businesses lining historic Chestnut Street. Antiques & Artisans, Blend, Caravan Cigar Company, Vargo Gifts, Straub Gallery, and Mattie’s Strudel Haus all offered special deals throughout the day. 

At Blend, there was even live music. Colin Wolf and Sarah Stoll of Smooth Retsina Glow entertained shoppers with live music from their three albums, the newest scheduled for release in 2021. 

The Steckel House was also open for tours. The house, which dates back to 1804, is on the National Register of Historic Places and the state’s register. The home has 12 rooms and seven original working fireplaces. Bear-Heckman and her husband purchased the home and carefully renovated it with pieces original to the time period. That included tearing up the floors to reveal the original flooring, opening up doors that were nailed shut, and exposing the original nine-foot ceiling.

All of Chestnut Street boasts an impressive history, with every building dating back to 1799 – 1899. Visitors could explore this history as they shopped, ate roasted chestnuts, and safely enjoyed the return of the Bath holiday tradition. Despite all that 2020 held, it began to feel a lot like Christmas in the borough.


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