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Arts & Culture

Photographer Captures The Magic Of "A Connecticut Christmas"

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Caryn B. Davis
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Photographer Caryn B. Davis took pictures in many historic homes in Connecticut for her book "A Connecticut Christmas." This picture was taken in the library of Gillette Castle in East Haddam.

From New Haven's "Fantasy of Lights," to the thousands of luminaries that light up Noank on Christmas Eve, Connecticut towns seem to find their own unique ways to celebrate the holidays.

Photographer Caryn B. Davis criss-crossed the state to capture the beauty of the season in her new book of photography A Connecticut Christmas.

Davis said when she started this project she thought she knew the locales and events that might best capture the essence of a Connecticut Christmas. But she soon discovered many more holiday surprises in the process, like walking through the snowy woods with a llama at Country Quilt Llama Farm, and the Boar's Head Festival at Hartford's Asylum Hill Congregational Church.

“There's literally hundreds of people involved in this reenactment if you will of the Epiphany”, Davis said. “There's all of this activity happening up and down three aisles. There's animals and beautiful costumes and dancing and singing and it's just amazing. It was visually stunning.”

A Connecticut Christmas captures the Boar's Head Festival, and lots of other Connecticut holiday traditions and events. Davis snapped photographs in over 40 towns for the book.

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Credit Caryn B. Davis
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The Boar's Head Festival at Asylum Congregational Church in Hartford.

Historic homes, decorated town greens, and lavish festivals are included, but Davis said she also wanted to capture the natural beauty of the season, including the cover for the book - a shot at dusk of Middle Cove in Essex.

“We were looking for that quintessential New England,” said Davis. “This has the water, and the boat with the tree on it, and the church and the scenic beauty. I was hoping and praying that that tree would still be lit up and that they hadn't taken it down yet, and they hadn't, so it worked out good.”

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Credit Caryn B. Davis
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Middle Cove in Essex, the cover shot for Caryn B. Davis's book "A Connecticut Christmas"

Davis said in the process of putting this book together she was taken by how Nutmeggers really get into the holiday spirit.

“Everybody was really generous with their time, everybody was super excited to share Christmas with me” said Davis. “People inviting me into their homes, a policeman in Litchfield stopping traffic so I could get my dusk shot, people just going all out and being extremely generous and passionate and excited.”

Disclosure: The Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival at Asylum Hill Congregational Church is an underwriter for WNPR.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”

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