5 Places to Welcome the Holiday Season & Where to Warm Up Afterward

‘Tis the season of tree lightings, cocoa, and plenty of festive coziness.

‘Tis the season to celebrate the holidays outdoors. So whether you’re headed to a Christmas tree lighting, holiday parade or celebratory bonfire, there are plenty of places on the East End to warm up afterward with a hot meal or beverage. Here are five free holiday celebrations and where to eat, drink, and be merry afterward.

1. Southold Historical Society Candlelight Tour
November 24, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Experience an old-fashioned Christmas at the Southold Historical Society’s Annual Candlelight Tour. Wander through their festively decorated historic buildings, visit Santa in the barn, then enjoy Christmas carolers as a gigantic Christmas tree is lit on the grounds. Afterwards, head next door to Founders Tavern where you can warm up with a hot cup of New England clam chowder or share a large Margarita pizza. Their extensive menu also includes burgers, salads, entrees, a children’s menu and local beers on tap. For more information on the Southold’s Candlelight Tour, please visit the Southold Historial Society website.

2. Light the Montauk Lighthouse
November 25, 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Cancelled last year for a lack of funds, the lighting of the Montauk Lighthouse is back this year. It takes some 30,000-holiday lights to light the Montauk Point Lighthouse for this special ceremony that includes live music, Christmas carols, snacks, gorgeous vistas and of course a visit from Santa Claus. Afterwards go straight to Sammy’s Restaurant and Bar in Montauk. You’ll love their New England clam chowder, which is served in a sourdough bread bowl, or dig into their signature lobster burger. Sammys Restaurant and Bar is located at 448 West Lake Drive in Montauk. For more information on the Lighting of the Montauk Lighthouse, visit the historic museum and landmark’s website.

3. Southampton Parade of Lights & Christmas Tree Lighting
November 25, 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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Southampton’s holiday festivities begin with horse & buggy rides at 12:30 pm., followed by the Annual Parade of Lights at 4:30 pm, which is a procession of fire engines decorated with holiday lights. The Christmas tree lighting takes place at 5 pm at Agawam Park, followed by a holiday reception at Southampton’s Cultural Center, with an appearance by Santa. After the festivities, you can literally walk to Southampton Publick House for a pint of their award-winning locally brewed beer. Pair it with a bowl of PEI mussels, steamed in white wine or tuck into their crab cake sandwich, topped with corn salsa and remoulade. For more information about Southampton’s Christmas Tree Lighting visit the Southampton Chamber of Commerce’s website.

4. Greenport Christmas Tree Lighting & Gallery Walk
December 1, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Greenport officially kicks off the holiday season in Mitchell Park with the lighting of their Christmas tree and Christmas carols. The celebrating continues as village merchants and art galleries extend their hours, offering visitors an evening of shopping, discovery, and refreshments. Be sure to stop at Aldo’s Coffee Company for a hot cup of freshly roasted coffee or hot chocolate. For something more substantial, stroll over to First and South for a bowl of their South Street chowder with clams, poached fish and smoked bacon or order the shrimp and grits in lobster butter sauce.  For more information about the Greenport Christmas Tree Lighting and Gallery Walk, visit the Greenport Village website.

5. Riverhead Holiday Bonfire
December 9, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Riverhead welcomes the holiday season with their Annual Bonfire & Holiday Celebration on the Peconic River waterfront. Bring a beach chair to warm your tootsies, as you enjoy Christmas carols, candy canes and a visit from Santa Claus. Afterwards, PeraBell Food Bar is just steps away from the waterfront. Warm up with a bowl of their French onion soup or if you’re really hungry try a plate of their popular Poutine made with French fries, Cheddar cheese curds, and bacon brown gravy.  For more information about Riverhead’s Annual Bonfire, visit the Riverhead Business Improvement District website.