It is that time of year. A time when you should stop the crazy, hectic world and reflect on family and those wonderful holiday traditions that make you feel connected. Rockford’s holiday carriage rides have become one of those traditions for many area families. Picture it. You are standing in downtown Rockford and giant snowflakes are falling from an inky sky that is dotted with thousands of glittering stars, your warm breath being marked by the cold night air. All around you the decorations of the season are letting you know it is time for celebration. Gorgeous greens and red bows are wrapped around plenty of storefronts, along with little white lights that are adorning almost every tree and light pole in the downtown district – enough to stretch out for 9 1/2 miles! The quaint shops have also captured the essence of the season with crowd-stopping window displays that are sure to delight both young and old. And amid this Currier and Ives setting is something else – the regal carriages of Grand Carriages, LLC. A footman greets you and helps you into a snow-white carriage pulled by two sturdy horses. You pull a warm blanket around you and your family and you are off on an excursion through the streets of downtown Rockford. It is a slow and steady pace, and creates a special memory for you and your loved ones. The good folks of Grand Carriages, LLC keeps track of the riders – and where they are from – each night as they give the rides. We have hosted riders from not only around the state, and around the nation, but from around the world! The carriage rides are Thursday, Dec. 19 and Friday, Dec. 20 and are from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Both carriages embark from in front of Custard by the Dam, located on Squires Street, very near Arnie’s Bakery and Restaurant. We do not take over-the-phone reservations, but we do keep a list of families the night of the event and will let you know how long of a wait it will be so you can go shop or eat and come back when it is your estimated time. I invite you to Rockford to enjoy a wonderful tradition, and to enjoy the variety of quaint shops in the downtown district. You will be glad you did.