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Find New England’s winter wonderland in Jackson, N.H.

Lisa Elia
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A wintry scene at Nestlenook Farm, a 65-acre Victorian estate in Jackson, where visitors can skate on the three-acre Emerald Lake.

Tucked away in the stunning wilderness of Mount Washington, Jackson, New Hampshire, gives off a quintessential New England vibe with its red covered bridge, quirky general store and white-steepled church.

However, it truly takes on a storybook quality for the holidays, when parents push their kids on sleds, children twirl around on ponds decorated with twinkly lights, and Belgian draft horses pull Austrian sleighs with guests on the Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour.

“It’s like walking through a Currier and Ives painting,” said Kathleen Flammia, executive director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the tour. “In the winter, the village streets are usually blanketed in snow and on the weekends during the holidays, you can hear the bells from the sleighs of the Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour.”

The 18-year-old event has grown in popularity, Flammia said. The first year, the tour didn’t sell out, but that quickly changed. Each year, seats have filled quickly, and now, there’s usually a waiting list, she said.

This year, three sleighs will run six times a day through four weekends, starting Nov. 28 and ending Dec. 20. She said the tour makes eight stops at local inns and downtown restaurants, where participants receive eight homemade chocolate cookies, candies or puddings, plus a goodie bag for extras and a jingle bell necklace to ring at each stop.

Despite almost 200 years as a resort town, Jackson hasn’t changed much. The Wildcat River still runs through the heart of town, whose streets are lined with reminders of the past, when the town was part of the golden age of White Mountain resorts. Laced through the downtown streets are the peaked roofs and welcoming porches of rambling inns; the 1901 Jackson Old Library’s red shingle-style building with a gambrel roof; the 1847 Greek Revival-style Jackson Community Church, marked by a bell in its belfry; the circa 1860 white clapboard Jackson Grammar School; and a cornucopia of restaurants, a curio shop, general store, photo gallery and jigsaw puzzle shop.

On the edge of downtown is Jackson’s cheerful red 1876 covered bridge, or Honeymoon Bridge, whose nickname comes from newly married couples kissing under its canopy for good luck.

Skiers are drawn to the Black and Wildcat mountains near Jackson. The town’s 100 miles of cross country skiing trails pass under evergreens and white spruces, over rolling farmlands and past country inns with icicles hanging from the eaves. Nestlenook Farm offers skaters the chance to glide across a three-acre pond, take an evening horse-drawn sleigh ride in the lantern-lit forest, or go snowshoeing along a quiet path in the woods.

The Jackson Historical Society and the Museum of White Mountain Art feature paintings from 19th century artists, including the world’s largest oil on canvas of the White Mountains, “Autumn in the White Mountains,” by contemporary artist Erik Koeppel.

For more information, visit jacksonnh.com.