Dickens Dinners at Madrona Manor

The Dry Creek Valley destination summons the cheer of Victorian London.

CAROLS AND CUISINE: Christmas, or at least the celebrating of Christmas, isn't a one-size-fits-all-festivities kind of thing. Some people prefer the tinsel-kitschy touches of the 1950s, some like a more nature-inspired observance circa the '70s, and some go for that ye olde Scrooge-and-sweets Christmas that a certain Mr. Charles Dickens made famous. Oh, who are we kidding here? The Dickensian Christmas has become somewhat the gold standard of Christmas celebrations, with caroling and figgy puddings and people in their ruffled-skirted, velvet-jacketed best. A few places around the state mark the merriment with a throwback to the days of "A Christmas Carol," but Madrona Manor throws down some Michelin-starred meals to complement all of those cheerful carols. The Healdsburg inn and restaurant festoons its December calendar with a handful of Dickens Dinners, popular nights that tend to sell out due to the multi-course dinners and the presences of bonnet-rocking, top-hatted carolers doing their "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman"-y best to brighten up the proceedings with song and quaint-a-tude (and succeeding). Want a time-travel-esque dose of Dickens this season? Then find your velvet frock and mark...

DEC. 7... on your parchment calendar, for that's the night when the whole England-meets-Sonoma Valley celebratory shebang begins. The gussied-up Twelfth Night Singers do the caroling, and a sample menu? Oh, it might include Smoked Egg Sabayon, Dungeness Crab Salad, Beef Wellington, and, you got it, a classically figgy Christmas Pudding. Price? It's a hundred dollars, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For the full festivitivies, drive your carriage to the Madrona Manor web site (and don't forget your Scrooge-like candle, to light the way).

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