McCloud transforms into Victorian-era wonderland each Saturday in December

Shareen Strauss
People said that they felt transported back in time on Saturday's McCloud's Victorian Christmas Tour.

"Walking through the Inns decked in Christmas wear,

People wander about smiling as they stare,

At the little holiday scenes so decorative at the Inns,

People’s children so happy

With leftover marshmallow on their chins.

The weather cooperated perfectly,

And was dry enough to walk

Through the little town of McCloud

Or take a carriage ride and talk

About the Victorian Christmas

Being celebrated all about.

People dressed in old fashioned attire

Even the Grinch was out.

Many sites to see

While enjoying cookies at each one

When they finally went home

Dreaming of more McCloud things to come."

This sums up the feeling of McCloud’s second Saturday of its Victorian Christmas celebration, including small-town events planned for each Saturday in December.

Many came from as far south as Chico and Vacaville and as far north as Yreka and Seattle. They even dressed up for the occasion in bell dresses and bonnets to participate in the spirit of Christmas in McCloud.

It was a scene out of a Dickens novel as people adorned in old fashioned attire enjoying their “Victorian High Tea” at the McCloud Hotel to jazz and Christmas classics played on the piano by accomplished pianist Monica Harle.

The decorated churches, Bed & Breakfast establishments, museum, even a private house on Quincy Ave, all opened their doors for visitors to enjoy seeing the magic of the season. There was a map for self-guided tours through the McCloud Guest House, McCloud Hotel, McCloud River Bed & Breakfast, McCloud River Mercantile and Hotel, Heritage Junction Museum, St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church, McCloud 1st Baptist Church and the private home of the Richardson house. At every stop on the tour, holiday cookies, hot chocolate or apple cider and other condiments were offered to keep people fueled during the cold day of sightseeing.

In the McCloud Mercantile and Hotel, where each room has its own theme, retired train engineer Michael Zetocha shows off his expertise in the Railroad room with an FAO Schwarz train set chugging along around a Christmas tree.

And if children wanted one for themselves, next door in the Mercantile Great Room at the Yuletide Bazaar, Macy’s had a pop-up selling the exact train set plus many more toys that were laid out for children to try.

There were also many vendors at the bazaar selling goodies and yummies and handmade specialties just for that special person for the holidays.

As the day progressed, people with their faces painted like Santa and reindeer emerged from the face painting booth. Many warmed their hands by the fire pits outside on Main Street while others melted marshmallows and smores or bought kettle corn or lemon shakes from the food vendors outside.

No yuletide Christmas would be without carolers and other musicians who wondered about along with Santa himself and that silly menacing Grinch mingling with the children.

Like in an old fashioned movie, over the musicians and carolers, one can hear the bell from the Salvation Army Bucket where people who strolled by would drop a dollar.

McCloud has a mailbox just for children to write letters directly to Santa. Between now and Christmas eve, the mail box is available for the young and old alike at the McCloud Mercantile lower hallway. But that is not all, for every letter sent Santa’s way, Macy’s is donating $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the Macy’s Believe Campaign.

Next Saturday is the Dickens' Dinner (reservations required) and Scrooge performances and the Polar Express matinee from 2-4 pm with a visit with Santa. For more information or reservations, call the McCloud Chamber at (530) 964-3113.