If you can get past the icy cold winters here in Maine, there are really some amazing views and unique events that make the shivering worth it. Gardens Aglow is one of those spectacular events. The gates open to this winter spectacular daily from 4pm to 9pm, November 17th to December 31st. As a member of the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, one can take advantage of discounted rates on entry and snacks. If not, the prices are still reasonable (around $36 for a family of 4). I highly suggest making reservations beforehand, as these self-guided walking tours can fill up very quickly.
With a recently renovated visitors center, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens provides a phenomenal list of amenities for discovering Gardens Aglow. There were plenty of bathrooms, seating, shopping and lounging areas within. A 300+ space paved parking lot and drop-off point at the visitor’s centers meant a no-fuss experience upon arrival. Furthermore, access to complimentary electric scooters and wheelchairs can be requested. Keep in mind, this is a wintertime event in Maine, so be mindful to layer up. Seriously, dress warmly. When you think you’re dressed warm enough… put on another layer. Nothing feels completely bone-chilling more than -15 with a wind chill at night.
I dove into the holiday spirit, walking through the meticulously kept gardens, decorated in a dazzling display of 650,000 lights. Be sure to keep a watchful eye for sound activated light shows, and interactive games for the kiddos. Wide walkways and no set direction allows you to create your tour as well as preventing any pile-ups form the massive amount of visitors they have every night. This is really a unique event that puts me in the holiday mood like no other. My family has made a tradition of going together every year – you might even be able to catch us singing Christmas carols as we walk, hot chocolate in hand, trying to keep warm.