Although our Christmas holidays were spent with the usual activities of gift giving, eating, crafts and board games we had yet to get outside. Days before the holiday we studied the forecast, and examined our various hiking options but we wanted something that would continue the wonder of the holiday spirit. Finally, we settled on an evening visit to the Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor.
In previous years, the gardens closed for the season sometime in late Fall and remained closed until mid-April. But this year a Holiday Wonderland was created with thousands of Christmas lights so the gardens re-opened Thursday to Sunday evenings from November to New Year’s Eve. I am certain that no one anticipated the response to this spectacular display of magic. Additional hours and time slots were not enough to handle the crowds that came to enjoy this display.
We arrived a little early for our 4 o’clock time slot but still experienced some difficulty with parking, finally finding a spot in the upper parking lot. Although it was not quite dark during the early part of our explorations, we still got a sense of what had been done here. We wandered around decorated bridges and trees, stars glowing among the trees and even found the occasional toy elf hiding in some spots along the way.
The full impact of the “Gardens Aglow” event was felt when complete darkness came at last. As the night grew darker, I paused many times just reveling in the beauty surrounding me. At the end of the evening, I was glad that I had been able to experience this display that had extended the magic of Christmas just a little bit longer.