Winterlights at Naumkeag: The Trustees’ Gift To All of Us
The iconic Blue Steps
A portion of the Rainbow Walk
Michael Rodriguez, director of signature events for The Trustees, and Brian Cruey, general manager at Naumkeag and of The Trustees' properties in the Southern Berkshires.
This is not something I ever thought I’d say, but nighttime can’t come early enough from now through December 30. Because once the sun sets, Naumkeag, the historic home and gardens in Stockbridge, Mass., turns a switch and becomes Winterlights, a beckoning, ethereal world of shimmering holiday lights and designed light installations.
The Trustees of Reservations, the nation’s first preservation and conservation nonprofit, which owns the property, plans for Winterlights to become a new tradition at Naumkeag (and also at The Stevens-Coolidge Place, another Trustees property in North Andover). It is, in a word, spectacular. Over 120,000 lights turn each garden “room” into its own twinkling universe. The Linden Walk becomes a brilliant rainbow pathway. The iconic Blue Steps sparkle like candy canes winding all the way to the bottom. Waterfall lights border the Evergreen Garden. And my favorite, the Woodland Walk (dubbed the Enchanted Forest for these weeks), is a laser light show that looks like it’s been inhabited by countless fireflies. It’s simply magical. Holiday music and warming refreshments (for purchase) add to the ambience.
Winterlights has been a project in the minds of Naumkeag General Manager Brian Cruey and Michael Rodriguez, the director of signature events for The Trustees.
”We started working for The Trustees at about the same time four years ago,” Cruey said, “and this was at the top of our wish list.” It was a gargantuan effort to put into place. Six to ten people worked two-and-a-half weeks to install the lights, sets and walkways. A new electric infrastructure, constructed during the property’s $3.3 million garden and landscape restoration, paved the way for the light show.
Winterlights is open Thursdays through Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m., and many of those evenings will include special events. Santa will make an appearance on Saturday nights; a glowing Hanukkah menorah will be lit Dec. 6-9. Other evenings include a living nativity (12/21), a guided full moon solstice walk (12/22) and a New Year’s pet parade (12/30).
The immersive, self-guided tour has something for everyone. Along the path, nine reindeer statues will encourage kids to participate in the reindeer scavenger hunt (prizes for those who find each of Rudolph’s compatriots). Inside the mansion, a wishing tree area is set up for anyone who wants to write out a wish and tie it to the twinkling branches. The gift shop has been moved to the main floor, which has been decked out in holiday finery.
We in the Rural Intelligence region are accustomed to having our breath taken away by the natural vistas we’re privileged to behold. In Winterlights, nature has been given an assist from the non-natural world, but the result is every bit as magnificent.
“Winterlights is the first-of-its-kind presentation of this size and scale in all of the Berkshires,” said Cruey.
And something we need to brighten these dark days and nights.
Winterlights at Naumkeag
Thursdays – Sundays, Nov. 23 – Dec. 30
5 Prospect Hill Rd., Stockbridge, MA
Trustees Members $12; nonmenbers 17. Children 12 and under free.
Tickest on sale at thetrustees.org/winterlights
Support Rural Intelligence
We have always kept Rural Intelligence free for all our readers but the reality is that we do need the support of readers like you. Did you like what you just read? Do you value the unique content Rural Intelligence provides? Please consider making a donation to support us. Even a small donation helps secure our future!Support Now