Holiday Eye Candy: Gingerbread Wonders and Ice Sculptures

Travel Tips and Trips

Fairmont San Francisco Gingerbread House

Fairmont San Francisco Gingerbread House

Eye candy for the Christmas season extends beyond sparkling outdoor lights and elaborately decorated trees, to include imaginative ice sculptures and fanciful gingerbread houses. Gingerbread, according to food historians, has sweetened winter celebrations for eons. European pre-Christians adorned the piquant pastry with sun symbols, eating the cakes as part of their winter solstice celebrations. Centuries later Catholic monks depicted images of saints in gingerbread at religious commemorations. By the 17th century gingerbread became linked to Christmas and we have benefited ever since.

Enjoy these fanciful ice and gingerbread displays:

National Harbor, MD: ICE!

Every Christmas season the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center creates ICE!, a 15,000-square foot, walk-in attraction that dazzles little kids (and big ones) with its over-sized sculptures and scenes carved from two million pounds of ice. This year’s theme Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town features the Burgermeister, Kris Kringle, and other characters from the popular television adaptation of the tale. Kids can also zip down five ice slides. Bundle up as the insulated tent containing the sculptures is kept at 9-degrees Farenheit. Reserve tickets ahead of time. Through Jan. 3, 2016.

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, FL, showcases ICE! ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, TX, offers ICE! Christmas Around the World; and Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Nashville, TN, features ICE! The Nutcracker.

Queens, NY: GingerBread Lane

See the largest gingerbread village in the world at the New York Hall of Science. Winner of the Guinness World Record three years in a row, GingerBread Lane, created by Jon Lovitch, features 1,120 structures, including a carousel, a department store, a coffee shop, two trains, and a 10-square-foot candy factory. Everything is constructed from edible gingerbread. Through Jan. 10, 2016.

San Francisco: Fairmont San Francisco Hotel

The hotel lobby’s gingerbread house—22-feet tall and 23-feet wide—consists of thousands of gingerbread bricks and is decorated with more than a ton of icing and candy. Peek inside to see Santa, decorated Christmas trees and nutcrackers standing guard. For more sweets, book the Gingerbread Hotel Tea. Tea available through Dec. 30, except for Dec. 24 and 25. Gingerbread house displayed through Jan. 1, 2016.

Washington, DC: Marriott Marquis

The first ever gingerbread house at the Marriott Marquis in the nation’s capital, stands 10 feet tall, weighs more than 1,300 pounds and is garnished with more than 250 pounds of candies and 300 pounds of icing. In December at the counter at the hotel’s Anthem restaurant, kids can adorn their own gingerbread houses on Saturdays and decorate holiday cookies on Sunday. Through Jan. 1, 2016.

Marana, AZ: Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

This may be the only place you can dine inside a real gingerbread house. Constructed around a wooden frame covered with thousands of ginger bricks, the 20-foot-tall house set in the lobby comes with a working fireplace and a table for six that can be booked for $150 plus the cost of dinner. If that feels like too much dough, then just admire the structure whose recipe calls for 350 pounds of flour, 250 eggs, 856 pounds of sugar, 100 pounds of ginger powder, 10 pounds of nutmeg, 50 pounds of cinnamon, and 400 pounds of honey. Through Dec. 29, 2015.

Check out a Facebook photo gallery of some of these sites, and share with us your favorite holiday sites. Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.

Image courtesy Physician’s Money Digest

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