Top tips for enjoying Gardens Aglow and the Boothbay peninsula

Local sponsors help Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens illuminate the region
Fri, 11/05/2021 - 10:00am

    Thanks to Central Maine Power, L.L.Bean, and other generous sponsors, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Gardens Aglow will once again illuminate the festive season in a whole new light.

    Following 2020’s successful pivot in the face of Covid-19, the Gardens has again opted to hold the event as a driving experience. Beyond being accessible to a wider variety of people, it’s a safer format, warmer and more comfortable. 

    Guests are encouraged to make an evening of it by creating a festive playlist, brewing a thermos of tea or hot chocolate, packing snacks for the drive, and downloading a map of the region that includes entries in this year’s community lighting contest and voting for their favorites. The map will be available at prior to the event’s opening night, and the festive tour of the peninsula makes a great pre- or post-show activity. For more options, visit to see what dining, shopping, and overnight accommodations will be available for the season.

    “It will be a whole new experience this year, longer and more immersive,” says Gardens’ President & CEO, Gretchen Ostherr. “We’ve redesigned the route, bringing the show closer to viewers in their vehicles and adding a host of new illuminated sculptures and scenes. We hope that people will support a driving version of this event for one more year and make an evening of it with their friends and families.”

    This year’s show, its theme designed around Maine’s woods and waterways, is a fun and festive nod to nature, celebrating its importance to human health and happiness in an increasingly stressful world. The over 650,000 LED lights illuminating the Gardens are energy efficient and long-lasting, resulting in energy costs of only $120 for the entire six-week event.

    The annual event runs Nov. 20-Jan. 1, Thursdays-Sundays, plus the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and every night, Christmas Day through Jan. 1, from 4:30-8:30 p.m. The event is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Although no facilities will be open during Gardens Aglow, those interested in accessing the Gardens’ environmentally-driven Gardenshop can enjoy seasonal shopping throughout the winter at

    Note that cars exceeding height restrictions (a nine-foot maximum) will be turned away. No trailers, buses, limos, or RVs are allowed on the route. Because this is a driving tour, guests will remain in their cars and no food or facilities will be available for safety reasons. 

    Between Gardens Aglow and Boothbay Lights, the Boothbay peninsula is the place to be for wintertime cheer. Experience the Gardens’ explosion of festive color, then enjoy a wide variety of the region’s seasonal activities. For more details and to order tickets, visit For a complete calendar of regional offerings, visit

    At nearly 325 acres, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is the largest public garden in New England. Voted #1 on TripAdvisor, the nationally recognized public garden is located in Boothbay, Maine. With two miles of hiking trails, 19 acres of ornamental and themed gardens featuring native plants of Maine, a children’s garden, a sensory garden, and so much more, there’s something for everyone. The mission of the Gardens is to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature through horticulture, education, and research. To reserve tickets or learn more, visit