‘Look! There’s a gnome’s home!” my 7-year-old granddaughter, Vera, called to her 3 year-old sister, Valerie, knowing that she wanted nothing more than one of these mythical creatures for Christmas. They were captivated once inside the brightly decorated little hut. The magic of the holiday spirit had begun.
I don’t want to spoil the surprise by revealing more of the many enchanting moments in store along the woodland trail at Winterlights, the award-winning outdoor display at the historic 90-acre Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton. But I will mention that the fun-filled event sponsored by Citizens features a new sound and light show.
Winterlights also dazzles at two other beautiful garden properties that are protected and cared for by The Trustees of Reservations. Naumkeag, in Stockbridge, was the Gilded Age mansion and 48-acre estate of country estate of New York City lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate and Caroline Dutcher Sterling Choate. The newly renovated Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens in North Andover was the summer home of Helen Stevens Coolidge and her husband, John Gardner Coolidge, a diplomat descended from Thomas Jefferson and Isabella Stewart Gardner’s nephew.
Holiday-themed refreshments such as hot cocoa, hot cider, and cider doughnuts are available. A Winter Wonder Shop features a bright display of holiday-themed items like candy canes, fanciful knit hats, wooden reindeer and timely people ornaments like a masked nurse and a doctor with a notice to “Keep calm and wash your hands.”
To avoid overcrowding and keep this event safe for all tickets include a reserved time of arrival. Masks are not required outdoors but must be worn indoors. Additional COVID safety protocols and FAQ’s are available at the registration link. https://thetrustees.org/program/winterlights-massachusetts/.
Winterlights runs Wednesday through Sunday each week from the Friday after Thanksgiving through Jan. 9. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $10 for children Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, $25 for adults and $10 for children Friday and Saturday. Members save $5 per ticket. Children under 2 are free.
Tickets, especially for weekend dates, are selling out quickly, so reserve yours online in advance as soon as possible. No tickets are sold onsite.
Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate
The 90-acre Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate was once a colonial farmstead known as Cherry Hill Farm and in 1902 became the country estate of Dr. Arthur Tracey Cabot.
Cabot built the stately house and a complex of farm and estate buildings. The elegant landscaping is highlighted by an Italianate, latticed-walled garden.
The property was acquired by his niece, Eleanor Cabot Bradley, in 1945. She lived there with her husband and made additions, including ponds, a sunken camellia garden, a greenhouse and an art studio alongside the formal gardens. She bequeathed the property to The Trustees in 1991.
The Bradley Estate’s land and hiking trails are open to the public seven days a week. Private and corporate special events are also held here.
The Trustees protect and share over 100 properties, incorporating about 27,000 acres of ecological, scenic, and historic importance around Massachusetts. They offer creative programs throughout the year.