Why not partake in a time-honored Christmas tradition at Yosemite National Park – the Bracebridge dinner, which has been hosted every December since 1927! Baroque Travel finds out all about it
For almost 90 years, visitors have flocked to Yosemite to enjoy the traditional seven-course feast, the Bracebridge dinner at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, which was formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel but was renamed in March this year. This long-standing Christmas tradition involves transforming the hotel’s dining hall into an English manor reminiscent of the 17th Century. Guests are hosted by Squire Bracebridge to a four-hour celebration of all things Yuletide, which includes songs, dancing, acting and lots of pageantry not to mention the awesome dinner feast.
Horn-blowing heralds the start of ‘Ye Olde Bracebridge dinner’ at this elegant hotel, and guests enter the lavishly decorated Bracebridge Hall to travel back in time to Christmas time centuries ago, where traditional Old English Yuletide celebrations always included lots of music and glorious food. The manor hall boasts 50-foot ceilings with wooden beams and vast windows offering exquisite views of snow-clad mountains. Inside, guests are warm and cosy, enjoying a festive atmosphere and sumptuous food whilst a splendid selection of around 100 singers and court characters retell the story of Lord Neville Bracebridge and his household.
The captivating, lavish Bracebridge dinner is one of the most highly anticipated events in this part of the world. The event is held over a series of nights, not just on Christmas, so that it can accommodate all those who wish to experience the Middle Age Renaissance feast and Yuletide celebrations. This event has always been popular; in fact, in 2006, the Wall Street Journal called it “the country’s, if not the world’s, premier Christmas dinner”.
The original pageant on which the Bracebridge dinner is based was written in 1927 by Garnet Holme, but it’s also loosely based on a series of five Christmas stories in The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, Holme’s world-renowned book that also includes numerous famous tales such as ‘Rip van Winkle’ and ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’. The Christmas stories are nostalgic, idealized tales of Old English Christmas festivities that take place in an English manor owned by Squire Bracebridge – hence the name of the legendary dinner.
The setting for this iconic Christmas feast, The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, is located in the Yosemite Valley in California’s Yosemite National Park. This grand rustic hotel initially opened in 1927, and Bracebridge dinners started the same year. The majestic hotel, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, is the most luxurious establishment in Yosemite National Park and has hosted numerous celebrities, royalty and international politicians. Aside from luxury accommodation, the hotel also offers a decadent sweet shop, comfortable bar and heated outdoor swimming pool. Meals – other than the sensational Bracebridge dinner – are held in the dining room.
The hotel boasts a striking granite façade, massive stone hearths, rich stained glass, colorful Native American artworks and beautifully appointed guest rooms. It’s centrally located, making it an ideal base from which to explore the Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point.
If you would like to visit this luxury hotel and enjoy a traditional Bracebridge dinner this December, contact Baroque Travel right away, email@example.com and we will book everything for you, from reservations to travel arrangements. The following dates are available for the dinner: 22, 24 and 25 December 2016.