9+ Best Gardens Aglow Maine Things to Do & Visitor Tips
Known as one of the most beautiful holiday light displays in New England, Gardens Aglow Maine is an annual event that takes place at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.
This seasonal celebration allows visitors to wind through the various public gardens and walk along the path as they admire the thousands upon thousands of sparkling light displays. It has become a favorite tradition of many residents, and it’s an event that attracts visitors from across New England.
About Gardens Aglow Maine
Today, visitors know that Gardens Aglow Maine is a brilliant display of holiday lights. However, this event started as a small and simple effort among friends.
A group of friends who were involved in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens decided to create a wintertime event where guests could stroll the gardens and enjoy the beauty of colorful lights along the way.
Since then, the event has grown into a time-honored New England tradition. With hundreds of thousands of LED lights adorning the trees, the landscaping, and the buildings on the botanical garden campus, visitors are able to enjoy a walk through a true winter wonderland.
Things to Know Before Visiting Gardens Aglow Maine
Gardens Aglow Maine is a seasonal outdoor walking event that typically takes place between the middle of November and the end of December.
It’s the only way to experience the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens during the winter season. Here are a few things that you should know about this memorable holiday event in Maine:
- Gardens Aglow is primarily an outdoor event held after dark. Guests should dress for the winter weather, which can be cold, windy, and chilly — it is New England, after all.
- This is a very popular event, and it sometimes sells out. It is best to buy advance tickets online.
- There is limited parking available at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. The most convenient way to get to the event is to park in downtown Boothbay Harbor and take the shuttle to the gardens. You can hop on the shuttle at the Boothbay Harbor Fire Department and Town Clerk’s office anytime between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. The shuttle does a continuous loop between downtown Boothbay Harbor and the Gardens Aglow festival.
Things to Do at Gardens Aglow Maine
Enjoy the Gardens Aglow Walking Tour
The Gardens Aglow event has been re-imagined to mirror its original walking tour, giving guests a simple, yet magical, opportunity to experience the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens during the winter months.
Throughout the nearly 1-mile-long path, visitors will be able to bask in the glow of the thousands of glittering lights strung on trees, buildings, and more. This is one of the most spectacular lights displays of festive color in the local area, attracting people from across Maine and throughout New England.
Warm Up Inside With Tasty Concessions
In addition to strolling along the twinkling walking path, visitors to Gardens Aglow can warm up indoors where there are tasty concessions and steamy beverages. Concessions can be found in the Bosarge Family Education Center and also in the Snack Shack.
Of course, visitors who would prefer to grab a quick snack while they are enjoying the lights will find that there are several food vendors on the route. The kettle corn and blueberry crisp vendors are particularly popular among those who come to see the lights for themselves.
More Things to Do Near Gardens Aglow Maine
Check Out the Gardens Aglow Lighting Contest
Sometimes, more than half-a-million holiday lights are not enough to satisfy the festive spirit. In the event that visitors are searching for more creative and innovative light displays, they can go exploring the local area where nearby residents have registered as part of the Gardens Aglow Lighting Contest.
Guests at Gardens Aglow can find a map of the neighborhoods in the surrounding area where participants have decorated their homes in hopes of winning the top prize this season. The winners of the contest are chosen not only by local judges but also by popular vote.
This is the perfect chance to extend the magic of the evening and have an impact on who takes home the coveted honor of best light display this year.
Explore the Region With the Boothbay Lights Festival
The Boothbay Lights Festival is a community initiative that is designed to connect locals and visitors with all of the most festive and merry holiday happenings in the Boothbay region.
The Boothbay Lights organization works to compile information about all of the exciting special events, light displays, restaurant specials, performances, and more that take place during the six weeks of the holiday season.
Of course, no holiday season in Boothbay Harbor would be complete without a stop at the Pot Buoy Tree for a selfie. This Christmas tree is unlike any other found in a typical living room.
It’s created entirely out of pot buoys and decorated with twinkling holiday lights to add to the ambiance. It has become a local icon, and it’s sure to delight anyone who is new to the area.
Dining Near Gardens Aglow Maine
Before you head to Gardens Aglow for the evening, you can stop by PORTS Pizzeria in Boothbay Harbor to enjoy a meal that everyone can agree on.
This local pizza place specializes in Italian brick oven pizza, and with dozens of toppings and specialty pizzas to consider, you will have a hard time choosing which pie to start with. Known for its homelike atmosphere and incredibly fresh ingredients, PORTS Pizzeria is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
To soak up those waterfront views before you immerse yourself in the illuminated displays at Gardens Aglow, head to Brady’s, which is known for being the only year-round waterfront restaurant in Boothbay Harbor.
Brady’s is the place to be if you are searching for a relaxed atmosphere and a hearty New England meal. Its menu consists of American classics and plenty of seafood fare, making it an ideal spot to nourish your body and warm your spirit before you spend an evening outside at Gardens Aglow.
Lodging Near Gardens Aglow Maine
Visitors who are traveling from afar will find the comforts of home at the Flagship Inn in Boothbay Harbor. It has been recognized as one of the best hotels in the local area, particularly because of its generous guest room sizes and sprawling family suites.
This hotel is one of the best options for guests who are hoping to include Gardens Aglow during their stay because it is centrally located within walking distance of downtown Boothbay Harbor where visitors can grab a shuttle to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
It is a pet-friendly hotel as well, which appeals to many travelers during the hectic holiday season.
The Tugboat Inn is a small, local hotel with 64 rooms, giving guests a family-like atmosphere to enjoy during their Boothbay Harbor getaway.
Its location on the waterfront makes it one of the most appealing hotels in the area, and its commitment to personalized service ensures that every guest has a memorable stay.
In addition to offering comfortable rooms with spectacular views, this hotel also has restaurants, shopping, and other amenities on site, making it a convenient place to stay for those who like to stick close to home while they are traveling.
FAQs About Gardens Aglow Maine
How long should I spend at Gardens Aglow Maine?
The Gardens Aglow path stretches for about 1 mile through the various garden areas. Most visitors tend to spend between one and two hours walking along the paths, viewing the light displays, and taking photos by the glowing lights. In addition, you may want to allocate additional time for concessions.
What should I wear to Gardens Aglow Maine?
Gardens Aglow is an outdoor event, and it is held regardless of the weather conditions. Given that it will take place during rain or snow, and will typically only close during extreme, severe weather, it is important to dress for the elements.
New England winters are notoriously cold, so dressing in warm layers with a hat, gloves, and a scarf will be needed to comfortably enjoy this event.
How many lights are used for the displays at Gardens Aglow Maine?
The light displays and lighted decorations at Gardens Aglow use more than 750,000 energy-efficient lights, making this a bright, beautiful, and sustainable event.
How much does Gardens Aglow Maine cost?
Tickets should be purchased in advance online. Ticket costs vary depending on the age of the visitor, and discounts are available for members, families, and senior citizens. Children 3 and under are admitted for free.
Explore Gardens Aglow Maine & More Holiday Activities
Gardens Aglow Maine is one of the most festive events of the holiday season in New England. It perfectly combines the pristine beauty of coastal Maine with the glittering wonder of holiday lights, making it an event that both the young and the young at heart treasure and enjoy.
Additionally, there are many other Maine Christmas towns worth visiting during your getaway. And, there are even more Christmas things to do during December.