Sure, they’re formulaic, almost like a Mad Lib: big city [woman or man] meets small town [woman or man] because of [situation] and, after some stumbles, romance ensues. Hallmark holiday movies began airing in late October and will continue through the holiday season. If you’re a fan of the idyllic, nostalgic TV movies that are perfectly festive for the season, you’ll want to book a long weekend at one of these charming small towns within about three hours from Washington, D.C.
Havre de Grace, Maryland
It’s hard not to fall in love with this picturesque town with beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. There’s a town Christmas tree that gets lighted in early December, Santa comes to town, and to make things extra cheerful: holiday music fills the streets, free crafts are provided for the kids, plus cookies, and story time. If you’re returning home from the big city in search of small-town love, Havre de Grace over the holidays doesn’t disappoint.
The quaint simplicity and elegance of Orange, Virginia makes for a wonderful weekend getaway this holiday season. The town, “situated amidst rolling landscapes and spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” transforms into an old-fashioned holiday village. There’s live music, family photo backdrops, a Children’s Toyland walk-through, and more. There’ll be a Christmas Parade Sunday Dec. 5 with the Rotary Club with the theme “Christmas in America.”
St. Michaels, Maryland
Mark your calendars for Dec. 8-10 for Christmas in St. Michaels, less than two hours from D.C. Just about every holiday event in St. Michaels has appeared in a Hallmark holiday movie — breakfast with Santa, a marketplace and sweets shop, and a parade along Talbot Street (their version of Main Street). Homes in the town decorate so beautifully, there’s a lighted drive-by house tour too!
Just two-and-a-half hours outside D.C., In the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster, Pennsylvania could easily be the setting for a future Hallmark movie. There’s a tree and menorah lighting, a Christmas train at the Strasburg Rail Road, The Christmas Carol performed at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, and so much more. Even the local amusement park, Dutch Wonderland, transforms into Dutch “Winter” Wonderland. It’s hard not to get swept up into the holiday spirit after spending a long weekend exploring the town.
Including the “nation’s horse and hunt capital,” Middleburg, on this list is a must — the charming and delightful Virginia town, established in 1787, gets even more festive during its “Christmas in Middleburg” event. This year, the event takes place the weekend of Dec. 1-3. You’ll feel like you’re in your favorite Hallmark holiday movie with events like a Christmas pageant at a local school, a tree lighting (be sure to brush up on your carols!), and shopping at local places like the women’s boutique Chloe’s of Middleburg.