A Daytrip to the Regina Laudis Abbey Creche in Bethlehem, CT
The holidays are meant to be a time of reflection; however, the majority of my time is spent reflecting on everything I must prepare for that magical morning! So, I thought it would be a nice break to do something different and check out this creche with the boys. The children and I spent a couple of hours over in Bethlehem to see the creche on display at the Regina Laudis Abbey. We arrived at the Abbey and parked by the shop at the top of the drive. We found home-made cheeses and local honey while admiring the pottery, art, and especially the carved stone basins. My boys have never seen a gift shop that they don't like and this one was no exception. We then took a nice walk back down the drive and along a path that led through the grounds until we reached a restored 19th century barn. (On Dec. 1 and 2 make sure to visit the town of Bethlehem also for their annual Christmas Town Festival).
Inside the barn is the 16 foot long creche display filled with 68 figures measuring between 14-16 inches high. The figures, made of carved wood, terra cotta, porcelain and jute, are situated in a small village made primarily of cork tree bark. It's truly beautiful no matter what your religious belief. The figures were made in 1720 in Sardinia, Italy and have been immaculately restored in their original dress. The children kept busy counting all of the animals they could find thanks to a suggestion from a nun we met at the shop.
The entire excursion at the Abbey took a little over an hour and was enjoyed by all. I felt we left having had a nice cultural experience with a bit of peace thrown in for good measure. Not to mention a great visual reminder of what the origin of the Christmas season is all about. The town of Woodbury is not far from the creche and there are some great restaurants such as the Good News Cafe and bakeries like Ovens of France where you can stop and get lunch or a just a delicious treat. All in all, a nice way to spend the day with the family.
Open every day from 10-4pm. Free.
Abbey of Regina Laudis
273 Flander Road
Bethlehem, Connecticut, 06751
10-4 every day FREE
Originally published 12/4/12.