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Preview: Winterlights Returns to Illuminate Naumkeag
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
11:32AM / Monday, November 29, 2021
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Naumkeag in Stockbridge is decorated with Winterlights through Jan. 9.



The Trustees' Brian Cruey says the mansion's gardens are illuminated by more than 150,000 LED lights.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — The Trustees of Reservations' Winterlights is returning to Naumkeag for its fourth year.  The show is running from November 26 to January 9 and is currently 90 percent sold out.

The 48-acre property is illuminated with more than 150,000 LED bulbs and features themed displays such as Rainbow Road, Laser Light Forest, and the hallmark Blue Steps.

This year, guests can once again experience the Chinese Garden decorated for New Year's and the Evergreen Garden. The late 1800s home is also part of Winterlights for 2021, featuring a pianist, a gift shop, and an artfully decorated dining room.

"Last year we really focused everything on this side of the property, we didn't cross the drive," said Brian Cruey, director of The Trustees' Southern Berkshires properties.

"So we've got the Chinese Garden back this year, we've got the Evergreen garden, both are bigger and better than they've ever been before."

The Trustees have changed the orientation of some of the light displays to switch things up and have also contracted with John W. Field Tree Services to adorn a massive oak tree on the property.

"What I really love about this is you see so much of it from different angles as you walk through the show, you kind of just take a minute to look behind you and look around and really capture things from different angles, the things that you've already walked through," Cruey explained.

"You get a new perspective on each of the different elements which is kind of fun and gives it all a different perspective, which is one of the real beauties of Naumkeag, it's these little garden rooms that kind of had an individual feel to them but you're always kind of led to another area, a different view scape."

Putting everything together after concluding the property's fall event, "The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show," took about 10 staff members and countless hours of work.

Another new feature this year is parking in downtown historic Stockbridge.  

Shuttles will bring showgoers from the town's information booth to Naumkeag. The shuttles were not a part of Winterlights last year because of pandemic circumstances.

It is also a good way to make sure that pedestrian and vehicular traffic do not intersect, Cruey said.

"We're really excited this year because we are having everyone park in Stockbridge, which is a change for us, usually we do it at the [Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception,]"  he said.

"But we're doing a test run to see how it goes so we can hopefully get some of the local businesses to stay open next year and kind of make it more of a town evening, drive traffic to downtown, and hopefully some of the economic impacts can literally go downhill."

Naumkeag was built by the well-known architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White in 1884 for prominent New York Attorney Joseph Choate and his wife, Caroline. It was in the family until 1958, when Mabel Choate bequeathed it to The Trustees.

A National Historic Landmark, the property has 44 rooms and many gardens created by the Choate's daughter and landscape architect Fletcher Steele.

Winterlights is also happening at the Stevens-Coolidge House and Gardens in North Andover and The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton.

The event will run at all three locations Wednesdays through Sundays between Nov. 26 and Jan. 9, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets visit thetrustees.org/winterlights.

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