Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport has become a beloved seasonal tradition for thousands of people. Now in its 38th year, the traveling play that brings visitors back to Christmas Eve 1876 has created its own traditions as well.
In fact, notes Denise Kegler, the program manager for Lantern Light Tours, there are five things you always get with a Lantern Light Tour:
- A horse and carriage ride through lantern-lined streets.
- Time aboard a historic vessel.
- Santa Claus.
- Participating in a traditional circle dance.
- Eating a delicious ginger cookie.
Let’s talk about these ginger cookies for a minute. First, they are made from scratch in the Museum’s Bake Shop. The shop turns out more than 7,000 cookies for the month of December, both to stock the Lantern Light Tours baskets and to sell in the store.
The dough is made from a secret and closely guarded Mystic Seaport recipe, fine-tuned over the years by shop manager Chanel Champagne and her staff. (One fun fact about the recipe, a single batch of 6 dozen calls for 15 eggs and 20 cups of flour.)
They start making the dough about a month before the tours start. Each cookie must be identical, and so they are weighed as they are rolled. Each cookie weighs a half-ounce before baking. The dough is hand-rolled in the bake shop, and then frozen until the tours start. The cookies are baked fresh for each tour. The reservations office sends the bake shop the advance ticket sales numbers, and then extras are baked for walk-ins. An extra batch is also made and packaged for sale in the Bake Shop. They spend two to three hours a day on the cookies when the Tours are running.
During this year’s production visitors receive their cookie while visiting the charismatic and enchanting Sprague sisters.
During the Lantern Light Tours, the Bake Shop stays open until 8 p.m.
To see the Lantern Light Tours schedule and buy tickets, click here.