By Joshua Palmes

‘Tis the season to send out holiday cards to friends, relatives and acquaintances. And of course you want to include a family photo that shows how everyone has changed and grown in the past year. Rather than gathering around your fireplace though, why not leave the house and snap some shots at one of the state’s landmarks. Here are some great Connecticut settings for holiday photos that will really capture the Yuletide spirit.

The Historical Christmas Barn
150 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT 06897
(203) 761-8777

The Historical Christmas Barn is located next to Wilton’s oldest home, the Lambert House, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Both the classic red barn and the white wooden house with its large sprawling lawn are perfect settings for your holiday photos. In front of the Lambert House you’ll find an old-fashioned sleigh that will be ideal for the family to gather around as well. When the photo session is over visit the barn and shop for some classic Christmas gifts, decorations and ornaments.

Mystic Seaport
75 Greenmanville Ave.
Mystic, CT 06335
(860) 572-0711

For holiday photos that recall picture postcards of classic New England, head on down to Mystic Seaport. The popular Connecticut attraction that recreates a typical 19th-century shoreline village decorates its buildings and landmarks each year for Christmas, and they’ll make your photos stand out. Consider visiting this weekend for the annual Lantern Light Tours held in the evening. This year it features a 70-minute walking performance of a play called “The Nut-Cracker Sweets” set in 1876 and performed by actors in period garb.

Lake Compounce
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT 06010
(860) 583-3300

Lake Compounce is always a top Connecticut destination during the warm weather months, but it’s worth making the trip during the late autumn as well. That’s because of the amusement park’s annual Holiday Lights event going on through December 18. A perfect photo backdrop would be the state’s largest Christmas tree, reaching 100 feet high. The festively-decorated carousel is another great option. When you’re done taking pictures reward your kids by taking them on the North Pole Railway ride or letting them decorate their own cookies.

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Hubbard Park
999 W. Main St.
Meriden, CT 06451
(860) 630-4259

Meriden’s Hubbard Park is beautiful any time of year, but you don’t want to miss it during the holidays, when it puts on the Festival of Silver Lights. With over 350,000 white lights illuminating dozens of areas of the park, there are countless possibilities for scenic holiday photos. Along Hubbard’s trails, on its trees, and by its bridges and ponds you’ll find sparkling lit wreaths, snowflakes, reindeer, penguins and more. Admission to the festival is free and it ends on January 3.

The Shore Line Trolley Museum
17 River St.
East Haven, CT 06512
(203) 467-6927

This East Haven Museum always goes all out for Christmas, making it a prime spot for shooting great family pictures. The museum’s trolleys and exhibits are all decked out for the season, making for an attractive and unique background for your pictures. Visit this weekend for Santa’s Trolley Winter Wonderland for a ride that includes complimentary cookies and hot chocolate. St. Nick will be aboard if you wish to take pictures with him and your children (who will also get a present).

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