Travel

Mass. has 2 of the best public holiday lights displays in America, according to USA Today

One offers 675,000 lights along a three-mile drive-thru route.

Winterlights at Naumkeag in Stockbridge. David Edgecomb

Public displays of holiday lights have brightened the season for many this year, and two twinkly Massachusetts events were just ranked among the best in the nation by USA Today.

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USA Today released a list of the 10 best public holiday lights displays in America on Friday, and Winterlights in Stockbridge and Canton ranked No. 6, while Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield ranked No. 10. The list, part of the publication’s 2020 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards, comprises the “best, brightest and most beautiful holiday lights shows put on by neighborhoods, cities and parks across the United States.” The No. 1 display is Natchitoches Christmas Festival in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Here’s what USA Today wrote about Winterlights:

This winter, the gardens at Naumkeag in Stockbridge and the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton will light up with thousands of twinkling holiday lights during the Winterlights event. Timed tickets give guests a one-hour window to enjoy the display while enjoying some seasonal foods and refreshments.

 

“That Winterlights is now recognized on a national level in addition to being so beloved locally is incredibly heartening for us as an organization,” said Christine Morin, The Trustees’ chief of places and engagement, in a statement. “With high demand and limited capacity, we are thrilled to offer two additional weeks so more folks can safely experience the wonder of Winterlights.”

The publication wrote the following about the Springfield lights: “Bright Nights has been lighting up Forest Park in Springfield, Massachusetts since 1995 with more than 675,000 lights along a three-mile drive-thru route.”

Winterlights has been extended through Jan. 17 and Bright Nights at Forest Park will be lit through Jan. 6.

A New England botanical garden also landed on the publication’s list of 10 best botanical garden holiday lights in America. Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine ranked No. 3 on the list. The winner was A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. This fall, Gardens Aglow was also named one of the world’s most spectacular light displays by Conde Nast Traveler.

A sitting room inside The Elms in Newport, R.I. decorated for the holidays.

USA Today readers also named two New England spots among the 10 best holiday historic home tours in America: Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, Conn. ranked No. 5 and The Breakers & The Elms in Newport, R.I. ranked No. 10. Graceland in Memphis ranked No. 1 on that list.

Before planning a trip to see the lights, be sure to follow all COVID-19 travel restrictions as well as safety rules established by venues and local officials.

For the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards lists, USA Today travel experts selected 20 nominees in topics from food to lodging, destinations and things to do. Then the publication asked readers to cast votes to determine the top 10.

View USA Today’s lists of best places to see holiday lights.

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