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Drive-by light shows bring excitement for the holidays

December is a time for visiting family, hanging out with friends and spending time engaging in holiday activities that can cure those winter blues. Although the coronavirus pandemic has caused many changes and setbacks, there are still many ways to get out of the house and into the holiday spirit. One way to get in the festive mood and find something safe to do is to see a  holiday light show or display. With so many locations and opportunities around the state of Maine, there is an enjoyable option for everyone. Here are three holiday activities that shouldn’t be missed.

Gardens Aglow, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay ME

Previously named as one of Maine’s top attractions, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are a beautiful collection of walkable landscape gardens that live in the Boothbay peninsula and include almost a mile of shoreline. Opened in 2007, it has since been a Maine staple and heavily-trafficked tourist attraction during the summer and spring months. Each year, the gardens put on “Gardens Aglow,” an annual light show that has been a family tradition for six years, and is open to the public. Because of COVID-19, this attraction is only offering a driving tour this year. Families can reserve their spots online for a specific showing and buy tickets in advance, with ticket prices ranging from $30 per car for members to $40 for non-members. 

The light show is visible from the inside of your car, and you can view spectacular arrangements of lights that are synced to holiday music. Lights of every color, shape and size litter the grounds and cover every inch of tree and building. Guests can drive around and view each arrangement and decorated scene. Gardens Aglow is running from Nov. 21 to Jan. 2, 2021.

L.L. Bean Northern Lights Celebration, Freeport

From Nov. 23 to Dec. 31, Freeport, Maine hosts its annual L.L. Bean Northern Lights Celebration. With many activities and chances to enjoy holiday cheer, guests can view lights and attractions while also getting their holiday shopping done. This year, the musical holiday light show is running every night from 5-9 p.m. Lights decorate the L.L. Bean campus and also cover the giant tree as the center spotlight of the show in Discovery Park. 

Guests can also visit the twinkling light tunnel to stay warm while waiting in line to shop in the main store. Discovery Park also has heated seats for guests to enjoy the light show, fun holiday windows displayed in the storefronts and an interactive walk called “Holidays Around the World.” The walk includes trail markers that guests can scan with their phones to learn about how other countries and cultures celebrate holidays throughout the year. L.L. Bean also has festive photo ops for families who come to visit the light show. You can pose next to your favorite tree or step inside the human-sized snow globe. There is something for everyone here, and it is a great opportunity for socially-distanced fun. 

Lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, York

The Cape Neddick Light is a lighthouse in York, Maine that has been a staple destination to visit since its construction in 1879. Still used today, it is nicknamed “Nubble Light” because of its granite base, and sits on the tip of the Neddick Peninsula. The town of York decorates the lighthouse annually after Thanksgiving, and has done so since 1987. During the lighting, families can gather around the lighthouse, eat cookies and snacks and sometimes even get a visit from Santa. Guests can view the decorated lighthouse each night, which will remain decorated from Nov. 28 to Jan. 1, 2021. Although the ceremonial lighting has passed, it’s never been a better time to take a visit and enjoy the view! 

Have a safe and happy holiday season! Remember that although things are changing, there is always room for festive activities and safe holiday fun. 

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