BY MAGGIE WESTERMAN
The anticipation of Christmas morning and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can take up a lot of time. But once the jolly day passes, you’re left with a week of wondering what to do now.
Our occasional feature “10 Things” shares the best that Northeast Pennsylvania has to offer. Today, we’ll highlight some fun and free activities to bust your winter blues.
Steamtown National Historic Site
Learn about the people, places and machinery behind Scranton’s roots. Steamtown National Historic Site, 350 Cliff St., Scranton, offers a unique look into the history of the steam railroad and the important role the city played in it.
Stroll through the historic site’s museums and exhibits as they tell the life stories of the people who made railroads function. Watch films, check out art, visit the kids’ area, stroll through the machine shop and climb aboard real trains.
The grounds are open to visitors daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Christmas and New Year’s Day. New winter hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will begin on Sunday, Dec. 29. Visitors should call in advance during a snow storm to check the site’s status.
For more information, visit nps.gov/stea or call 570-340-5200.
Think you’ll still be in the Christmas spirit? As a gift to the community, every year Ballet Theatre of Scranton presents “The Nutcracker” ballet for free.
This marks the 43rd year of the production and its first at its new home, the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton. Since its inaugural performance, more than 350,000 people have seen the show.
This year’s performances will take place Thursday, Dec. 26, through Saturday, Dec. 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. each day.
Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office starting two hours before each performance. For details, call 570-347-2867 or visit balletscranton.org.
Southside Farmer’s Market
Find the perfect fresh ingredients for a warming winter meal at the indoor Southside Farmer’s Market.
Browse locally sourced veggies, fruits, meats, eggs, cheese, baked goods and much more. Grab a special holiday treat or the necessities for a cozy night in.
The market will be open Saturday, Dec. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 509 Cedar Ave., Scranton. For more information, visit uncnepa.org.
‘Star Wars’ Night
Journey to a galaxy far, far away at Carbondale Public Library’s “Star Wars” movie night Thursday, Dec. 26.
Prepare for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” with free showings of “Galaxy of Adventures: Luke Skywalker” at 4 p.m. and “The Last Jedi” at 6 p.m. Those who attend are encouraged to dress as their favorite character and enjoy free popcorn.
The Carbondale Public Library is located at 5 N. Main St. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page or call the library at 570-282-4281.
Destination Freedom Walking Tour
Rediscover history and learn about the area’s important role in the Underground Railroad with the Destination Freedom Walking Tour, which will share details about how residents of Northeast Pennsylvania helped former slaves on their journey to freedom.
Maps for the daily, self-guided walking tour can be picked up at Waverly Community House’s main office, 1115 North Abington Road, on Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and in the Abington Visitor’s Center at the Comm on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Appointments can be made to pick up maps outside of those hours. For more information, visit waverlycomm.org or call 570-586-8191.
Seven Tubs Nature Area
Enjoy 500 acres of trails and waterfalls at Seven Tubs Nature Area, 900 Bear Creek Blvd., Wilkes-Barre.
The unique landscape was created by flowing glacier meltwater that formed potholes that then filled with water, making natural “tubs.” Guests can hit the 1.8-mile loop trail and take in the sights. Be sure to bring along your pet for the fun adventure.
For details, visit visitpa.com.
Take your stargazing to the next level at Friedman Observatory at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus, 44 University Drive, Lehman Twp..
Guests can view the galaxy through a 16-inch high-power telescope. The observatory is open to the public on Friday nights, weather permitting.
Susquehanna Brewing Co. offers craft beer lovers a chance to take a peek behind the scenes.
The brewery, 635 S. Main St., Pittston, offers free tours each Saturday and Sunday at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. A guide tells visitors about the history of the brewery and how the company makes its beer. See some of the world’s most unique and up-to-date brewing equipment and sample some of Susquehanna’s products.
For more information about the tour and scheduling group visits, visit sbcbeer.com or call 570-654-3557.
Get some fresh air along the Luzerne County Levee Trail.
Grab your furry friends and head to the paved path, a spot great for hiking, biking, running or walking. If there’s snow, visitors can bring their sleds and enjoy the levee’s slope.
The trail begins on Wyoming Avenue in Wyoming. For more information and directions, visit traillink.com.
‘A Christmas Carol’
Charles Dickens’ holiday classic will come to life at West Pittston Library, 200 Exeter Ave., on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m.
The free dramatic reading of “A Christmas Carol” is open to the community, but the library asks that visitors call ahead so it can prepare enough Christmas cookies for everyone to enjoy. Guests will be able to savor the holiday joy with free hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.
For more information, visit wplibrary.org or call 570-654-9847.
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest