For many years we have visited the timeless Dickens Village of Brighton to get a feel of Christmas in the 19th century. This year, instead of going into the town itself I thought it would be fun to see how the folks in the countryside celebrate the holidays. Here, in a little hamlet known as Evergreen, we can see Christmas celebrated without all the modern commercial trappings. Our little village is nestled in the foothill beneath the great bulk of 8,000 foot Deer Mountain from which the 150 foot Dasher Falls flows. The hamlet is carved out of the thick evergreen forest known as Tannenbaum. So buckle on your boots, put on your heavy coat and don't forget to bring your gloves and earmuffs for our tour through the little hamlet that time forgot.

There are two ways to reach the little hamlet of Evergreen. One route is to take the mountain trail that winds and climbs through the surrounding peaks and gets very dangerous when the snow covers the ground. The easier and better route is to book passage on the coastal steamship Britannia that stops at Evergreen three days a week. Below you can see the Britannia as she sails toward the little dock on the coast of Evergreen. The ship has to navigate her way through the waters and avoid the many icebergs that fill the waters this time of year. The Britannia only has to sail past Gull Point where the lighthouse stands and then her berth is just beyond.
As the Britannia sails toward her berth, we can get a quick view of the hamlet we will soon be walking through. Here we can see the coast and the fishing community and above them on the cliffs we catch a glimpse of the village square. To the right we can see Dasher Falls and finally Gull Point and its lighthouse.
The Britannia has reached her berth and we can disembark for our tour. Captain Nelson (one of England's finest) is placing the ship inthe hands of First Mate Hornblower who will be responsibe for keeping the ship free from the ice until it sails in the morning. The lighthouse keeper, Mr. Johnson can be seen sitting in front of the lighthouse carving a whistle for his grandson. To keep him company on this cool evening he has a jug of Christmas cheer sitting on a nearby table.
The little dock is filled with crates that will need to be loaded on the Britannia before she sails. I like the log chair sitting on the dock so that the overworked dock hands can have a place to rest when they get tired or are waiting for a ship to arrive.
Let's start our tour by heading to the left of the dock. We will walk behind the lighthouse where Mr. Johnson is still working. on his whistle. We will be heading heading toward the old church and our walk will take us down Seaside Lane and behind Dasher Falls. You can see the glow of the falls behind Mrs. Anderson who is waiting fo rher daughter Sally to catch up to her.
You should keep an eye out for wildlife as we are on our walk. We are really deep in the birch forest and rugged mountains so there is lots of wildlife to to see. For example right in front of us are some mountain quail, and if you look up on the hillside you can see a doe bedding down in the snow for the night. Lets head into the tunnel--it will be noisey with the roar of the falls above us.
As we emerge from the falls tunnel we are near the Henderson's fishing house. However before we get to their home take a look to the left and you will see the local photographer, Mr. Treadwell who is getting some Christmas photos of Dasher Falls. The camera he is using is a daguerreotype and only weighs about 50 pounds. Note how much of the sea ice collects along the shoreline.
Emerging from the tunnel (see the blue glow on the right) we arrive at the home of John Fisher and son Eric. John is packing up the day's catch so it can be taken to the Britannia and sold in Brighton and others towns along the coast. It is hard and cold work to fish in the winter months. It would seem that his son Eric will have to make one more trip out on the cold sea tonight as he left one of the lobster traps out on the rocks. If you look quickly, there is a great sea turtle out on the rocks preparing to dive back into the waters.
Here we can get a look at Mr. Fisher's work station. There is his handcart that he will have to push to the dock and later up the mountain to the Melancholy tavern where he sells his fish. Later tonight we will have dinner there and enjoy a hearty mean of Fish and Chips. His log chair sits by his work table that still has fresh fish to be cleaned. Looks like he kept the biggest one for his own dinner. His wife Claire has thoughtfully left him a steaming mug of mulled cider on an old barrel to help keep him warm on this night.
Mr. Fisher's son Eric is more of a dreamer than a worker. He is in charge of setting out and bringing in the lobster traps and we have already seen that he forgot and left one out on the rocks. He is standing on the pier listening to the sound of the sea that can be heard in the shell he is holding up to his ear. The birds have gathered to see if Eric leaves anything tasty on the pier. The pelican can easily carry off more than his share. Once again if you look in the forest there are several deer just beginning to come out.
At the end of Seaside Lane stands of oldest church in the hamlet of Evergreen. The little chapel is over 150 years old and the entire population of the hamlet gathers each fall to replace the old thatch roof. Father O'Brian is the resident chaplain and conducts services. Out in the sea an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin can be seen in the breaking serf. I also see the Harbor Master Henry Turnstyle rowing his boat home. He lives just past the point on which the church stands. Because of the mountains no road serves his home he must use his boat every time he goes out..
At Thornbury Chaple we can see Father O'Brian standing at the door to meet his congregation. Next to him one of the hamlet children is holding a box of candles for tonights candlelight service. I see Mrs. Shipley and her children waiting on a bench. Looks like the children passed their time by making a snowman. Now we will have to return down Seaside Lane to the dock where Britannia landed so we can continue our tour.
Having returned to the dock we can get a view of the right side of Evergreen. From here we can get a good view of Deer Mountain and Dasher Falls and also the residences of some of the country folk. Now let's start our walk to the village square with a stop at the Gin Mill.
We will have to wait just a moment before beginning our walk as the Michaels family is passing by on Seaside Lane on their way to Thornbury Chaple. Their faithful dog Mitch is running to catch up.
The gin mill stands on the left tributary of Falling Creek. The rushing waters of the creek power the mill wheel on th eleft side of the mill. The gin mill is owned by the Tipler family who also own the vineyards nextdoor and the wine shop on up the village square. Most of the gin made at the mill is loaded on board Britannia and taken to the great markets in southern England. There are numerous barrels of gin being prepared now for shipment. One of the Tipler sons is carrying one toward the loading dock now.
Behind the gin mill there are several stacks of fire wood to be used both in the mill and in the family home. The original homestead of the Tiplers stands to the right of the second fork of Falling Creek that appears to be nearly iced over with the cold. One of the Tipler brothers is in the front yard showing the Britannia's Purser some of the new wine that is ready for shipment. Several crates of wine are chilling in the snow. Like the gin from the mill, these wines will be shipped to southern cities where they will make fine Christmas gifts. If you want to get some of these fine wines to take home, we can stop at the Tipler shop on the square later tonight.
Whenever the Britannia puts in to this port she always carries the Royal Mail pouch. John Bell is the hamlet mailman and meets the ship. He has picked up the mail and started his deliveries. Mary Tipler is standing in her front yard reading some of her mail while her faithful dog Sparky is taking a nap on a blanket on the yard swing.You can see some of grape vines standing inside the hedge.
Immediately to the right of the Tipler home is Mountain Way the only paved road in the hamlet. The road is very steep and often covered with ice and snow. If it was unpaved the horses and wagons would never be able to make the climb during the winter.
On the right side of Mountain Way stands the Bailey Stables. Most of the residents of the hamlet winter their stock with the Baileys. They own the only hack (taxi) in the hamlet and also supply the teams for the local heavy draft wagons. The three Baily boys are out in the yard now. The youngest, Paul, is feeding the stock while his older brothers, George and William, are working hard trying to keep warm at the fire.
stable yard
The older boys are busy cooking the potatoes for dinner that they have taken from the large bag sitting next to them. They have finished mucking out the barn and so I guess they deserve to take a break while Paul keeps working.
Up on the cliff behind the Bailey barn is the Cobb family home. Mr. Cobb is the village potter and makes all manner of clay pots and mugs. His two boys are working on thatching the roof. With the new thatch the home should be warm and dry during the coming winter. Earlier today they finished rethatching the Thornbury
Chapel roof. Since many families in the hamlet are poor and cannot afford shingle roofs the Cobb family has lots of work and the family makes a good living.
The Prettywell sisters are widely regarded as the best lace makers in northern England. They buy wool from the local shepherds and then Margaret spins the raw wool into thread to make the lace. While Margaret does the spinning Grace tends to the flocks of geese and ducks that they raise. They have an excellent helper in the Border Collie Sydney who you can see working to herd the geese into their pens.
With their homestead located on the edge of the forest wildlife often wanders in looking for food. I can see a yearling deer on the right heading down to the pond for a drink. Can you spot the vixen (female fox) lurking in the trees? I think she is planning on goose for dinner. Sydney best be on guard.

Mountain Way is the road that leads up to the hamlet business district. As you can see the roadway is already covered in snow and more is expected tonight. Old Man Fezziwig is driving his delivery wagon down to the dock to pick up some packages. Hope he gets back up to the top of the mountain before the road freezes. Mike Rogers and his son Theodore are climbing to the roof top of the Gin Mill. Mike works as a chimney sweep and now his son is lending a hand. Since every house in the hamlet has a chimney there is plenty of work during the winter months when everyone is burning wood in their fireplaces.

Just past the Prettywell's farm is the gatehouse. Right now, as you can see, the doors to the gatehouse are open. These doors remain open as long as Mountain Way is safe to travel. When the road is buried in snow, iced over, or flooded from snow melt then they are closed so no one will be able to travel on the unsafe roadway. Mr. Henderson who takes care of the road is currently up in the square working on the road. I'm sure he will be back tonight to close the gates if the weather gets worse.
If you look in the trees, just above the gatehouse you will see one of the moose that roam these forests.
Once we pass through the gatehouse Mountain Way road runs both to our left and to our right. We will start by turning right and heading up the road to the manor house belonging to Lord Sheffield. The Sheffield family is the oldest family in the valley. In medieval times King Henry II granted title to all the lands in this valley to the first Lord Sheffield and the family has owned these lands since the year 1160. The current manor house was built inside the grounds of what was the original castle. The current Lord Sheffield serves in Parliament and spends his free time raising his prize retrievers. This evening Lord Sheffield is sitting out on the manor grounds reading his copy of the Times. One of his dogs is laying on a bench near his feet while another is keeping a watchful eye on us as we approach. I think a third dog is standing on the drawbridge at the entrance to the castle.
Lord Sheffield reading his paper in the company of his three dogs.
As it is getting close to dark Mr. and Mrs Wilkins, cousings to the lord, are in their sulky heading down to the dock so that they can catch the Britannia before she departs.
Along the side of Mountain Way lies Jordan Pond. The pond is the source of the water for Falling Creek. If you remember this is the little creek that powers the wheel back at the Gin Mill. Once again if you look closely, you might be able to see two deer around the pond.
Listen---do you hear that howl? It is said that the mountain are home to a pack of timber wolves but no one actually has seen them. Sometimes at night you can hear them howling. If I can hear them, you would think I should be able to them as well.
As we cross the stone bridge that splits Evergreen we will get a good look at Dasher Falls and the strange rock formation that looks like a deer. It is this formation that gives the mountain its name. The building on the left side is the villge book store and on the right is the Melancholy Tavern. There certainly is a great deal of snow on the mountain this evening.
Once we pass Jordan Pond the road starts its steep climb to the village square. Before we get to the square we will pass the Melancholy Tavern. This is the only public eating house in the village so it is where we will be having dinner later tonight. Mr.s Fisher has already made his daily delivery so there will be fresh fish for tonight's Fish and Chips. I would have preferred the lobster, but Mr Fisher said his son Eric didn't catch any today. Crossing the bridge that runs over Dasher Falls I can see one of the Tipler boys driving the Gin Wagon and on the patio outside the Melancholy there are a couple of customers sampling some of the gin. By the way, if you look just above the Gin Wagon you can see a bear walking along the rocks.
As we come across the old stonebridge we get our first full view of the village square. Starting on the right side we can see theTipler Gin Wagon coming across the bridge over Dasher Falls. The next two buildings are the Antiquarian Bookstore and above it is the Saint Alban's Church.
The Antiquarian is one of my favorite places to visit in the village. In summer you can sit on the deck and enjoy the view of the square and the bay below. However, my favorite place in the winter is the upstairs reading room, where with a cup of hot chocolate I can relax and either read a good book, or look out the window and enjoy a beautiful view of the head of the falls. Today, the shop owner, Mr. Booker is standing out front and telling stories to two of the village children. The story he is telling was written in the 1840s by a man named Charles Dickens. I think it is called "A Christmas Carol". The man in the grey coat shoveling the walk is Mr. Henderson. You should remember him as the Gatehouse keeper and the man in charge of the village roadways. I think is he just listening to the story Mr, Booker is telling the children.
Comiing down the roadway is the village Hack, it is being driven by Todd Bailey from the stable we passed earlier tonight. If you don't want to walk back to the dock in the morning to catch the Britannia, don't forget to tell Todd and he will pick you up at the inn.
Before going out to the village square, lets stay to the right and head up the stairs to Saint Albans. As we head up the stairs to the upper level the first fellow we come to is Mr Bell, the village mailman. That's him in the red jacket ringing his bell so everyone will know he is coming. When they hear his bell it means that either he is bringing mail or that you can bring hm those letters you want to send through the post. At the head of the stairs we will pass the Wellington Lamp Shop. I see that Mr. Wellingham has sold some of his lamps to a couple visiting from out of town. Next as we continue up the stairs we will pass the Bob Cratchit house. Tiny Tim has hurt his leg and can't walk, so his father carries him on his shoulders. In front of the Scrooge and Marley Counting House you can see Mr. Wellington's son Henry who has just gotten his first job working as the village lamplighter. That is him on the ladder in the blue jacket.
Tiny Tim and his father Bob Cratchit.
The Scrooge and Marley Counting House
Finally at the highest point in the village, we come to St. Alban's Church. When he returned from the Crusades in the 12th century the first lord Sheffield commissioned the building of this church in thanks for his safe return from the wars of religion. The old church still stands proudly at the top of the village square. Father Morgan is the pastor of St. Albans and always grees his parishioners as they enter the church. If you look in the old tree behind the church you will see a hawk about to take flight.
After visiting the church and getting back to the village square we will come to the Falstaff Inn. This is where we will be spending the night. The inn is reputed to have feather mattresses and goose down comforters to keep us warm on this cold night.
Nex to the Falstaff Inn is Mr. Leacock's Poultry shop He has fresh local poultry for sale. He gets his birds from the Prettywell sisters' farm back down the mountain. Mr. Leacock has a good heart and will always knock a bit off the price of his birds for those who are having a hard time with their finances. He makes sure no one in town will miss out on Christmas dinner.
In the center of the village square stands a small park. The park contains a pavillion where residents often have family picnics when the weather is nice. Now that it is Christmas most of the tables and benches have been removed and the village Christmas Tree has been set up. The tree is lit each night during the holiday season and residents of the village come by to enjoy the show of lights. Each lamp must be lit by hand as there is no electricity in the 19th century. On the back side of the park stands the "Old Curiosity Shop" a place where residents can find all manner of interesting gifts for friends and family. The manager of the shop is Nell Trent's grandfather who can be seen standing in front of the shop with a basket of sweets to share with those who visit the little park. Little John Wilkins is sitting with his father at the park table and sharing some of his treats with his dog Rex. There are couple of warm jugs of cider sitting on the table to ward off the chill of the night.
The final shop to see tonight is the Tipler Wine and Spirits shop. The shop sells the wine made at the Tipler faarm we saw earlier and also the gin from the Tipler mill. Ernest Tipler can be seen showing a sample of the latest vintage to a possible customer.
No English Christmas would be complete without a cone of chestnuts that have been roasted by an open fire. Jack Hopkins always brings his chestnuts to the square during the Christmas week. they are one of the most popular holiday gifts available in the village. Next to Jack you can see a large wooden door. This is the village ice house. Every winter the villagers cut and collect large blocks of ice and pack the little cave with these blocks. Then, during the summer months ice chips can be collected to make chilled drinks on the warm days.
We can finish our evening tour by enjoying the warm glow of the lights on the village tree here in the park. Later we can head back to the Melancholy Tavern for our Fish and Chips dinner. Then it will be back to the Falstaff Inn to spend the night wrapped in a goose down comforter. In the morning we will catch a ride on the Britannia and then be back to our busy lives. Life in this little village will remain as it always has.
I will always remember one of my favorite views of this little village. I saw it from the deck of the ship as we arrrived. You can take a look at my memory below.
To night, while we are asleep in the inn the village everyone will not be sleeping. The little creatures will begoing about their nightly activities. . .
All those who live in Evergreen know that tonight, after Midnight the village will have a visitor. . . .

From Father Christmas and myself, the Village Landlord, I wish you each a Merry Christmas and I thank you for visiting this year's edition of

A Dickens Christmas.