However, one of the best times to experience Shore Acres is during winter – when the moon is obscured by inky clouds and salt-rich coastal mists, and dark, winter storms pound the shore. That’s when Shore Acres provides a cozy refuge. The historic estate gardens take on the holiday glow of 300,000 lights that help combat the winter doldrums! Billed as “Holiday Lights at Shore Acres,” the illuminated gardens open on Thanksgiving evening and remain open until New Year’s Eve.
In a well-orchestrated series of work parties that begins in mid-October, the Friends of Shore Acres transform the buildings, hedges, pond, and trees into a dazzling display of lighted sculptures, decorated trees, flying pelicans, diving sea lions, leaping frogs, breaching whales, and schools of fish. Although the lights have a maritime focus, look for illuminated tulips, rhododendrons, roses, and dahlias, too.
Area volunteer firefighters put their extension ladders to good use to help string lights. Even the inmates at the Shutter Creek Correctional Institution are called to action to assist in building the displays.
A winter visit is guaranteed to rekindle the magic of the holidays in all who brave the elements. Hot chocolate, cider, coffee, and cookies are available in the gardener’s cottage and are served by a variety of community volunteer organizations. As guests sip hot beverages, carolers sweetly sing from the neighboring light-bedecked pavilion.
Subaru owner Marcie J. Bushnell lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she writes and dreams of romantic seafood dinners on the Oregon coast. Previous articles have highlighted travel, food, bird-watching, self-guided biking, and soft adventure tours.
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