Where It’s At

Gardens Aglow: A magical ride into fantasy

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 3:15pm

Story Location:
132 Botanical Gardens Drive
Boothbay  Maine  04537
United States

I didn’t want to leave.

I wanted to keep driving around through the dazzling light show at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens this time of year. Gardens Aglow has been taking the breath away from visitors for six years now, but unlike the first five it’s not a walking tour.

This year in particular we’re all in need of a beautiful distraction. Our eyes, mind, and spirit are hungry for respite from the year’s unending stress and anxiety, and Gardens Aglow is just the ticket.

When you begin the drive your senses are overwhelmed by colors outlining the CMBG landscape that in the dark – yes, your headlights are off – appears unending. And, like me, your eyes just may well up with tears.

I love the stories that are prompted by viewing paintings, and Gardens Aglow lives on one huge canvas!

The woodland creatures – deer, wolf, moose, birds, butterflies, fox – are all tucked in places waiting to greet you. The moose in the pond is back. As you are driving near it, if you view it as though its head is at your shoulder, the white light reflecting on the water from a group of trees seems to illuminate the path on which he moved across the water. A red fox on a rock at the pond’s edge stands watching the moose, enjoying being bathed by the light – and the attention from slow-moving cars.

Nearing the end of the drive there are Christmas trees as far as you can see. Multi-color, white, green, red, yellow lights adorn them and as the cold breeze moved the strands lightly, the colors appeared to lift off the trees and float in the air … just for a second. I could see myself dancing around them … if only what was imagined became real ...

One of my favorite places was the covered bridge covered with white and blue lights. It was as mesmerizing as a night drive when it’s snowing … snowflakes dancing in the wind.

Yes, it is an enchanting experience. Everyone at the preview when I was were making their way along the route quite slowly, absorbing the magic.

The staff at CMBG are positioned along the road, particularly as you approach the turns, gently waving lit batons to guide your way. Driving with my window down I found myself calling out to them – “Love it” and “I don’t want to leave.” They would respond with thank you’s and “You have to come back!”

And I will. The addition of snow will bring its own  magic to Gardens Aglow.

Marketing Director Kris Folsom recalls “bravo” and “Wow” as the comments heard most often on the preview night, Nov. 19, of the first Gardens Aglow driving tour. Folsom said there were a few tweaks to work out for Community Night Nov. 20.

“Last night was a great success,” Folsom said. “Timed ticketing worked very well. For the most part, everyone arrived at their ticketed time and that made things go so smoothly. The real test will be on Saturday night as we are nearly sold out in all of our time slots. Actually, that is true of the next four Saturday nights as well.”

Tickets must be bought in advance at www.mainegardens.org. Check out the FAQ section on the site. It is quite comprehensive. Ticket pricing is per car, not per person – $30 for CMBG members and $40 for non-members.

Said Folsom, “It’s wonderful to be able to offer a bright light during what has been a dreary 2020.”

If you’ve never been to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens before, and want a magical departure from reality, it’s at 132 Botanical Gardens Drive in Boothbay. And believe me, you won’t want to leave either!