STOCKBRIDGE — Ready for some holiday cheer?
You’re sure to find it at Naumkeag, where dazzling light displays in hues of every color await.
Winterlights, the popular holiday lights show, returns for its third year at Naumkeag with 175,000 energy-efficient LEDs spread across the Gilded Age mansion and historic garden estate. The property, which is part of the Trustees of Reservations, is celebrating its 60th anniversary as a house museum.
“We’re very excited we’re able to welcome the community back to Naumkeag [for Winterlights] this year,” said Brian Cruey, director for The Trustees’ Southern Berkshires properties, during a press preview on Sunday.
Winterlights runs Tuesdays through Sundays from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 27 through Saturday, Jan. 2. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Mondays, with the exception of Dec. 21 and Dec. 28.
Advanced purchase of timed tickets is required for each person attending. (Tickets are not required for children ages 2 and younger.) Tickets will not be sold on site and visits will be limited to an hour. Tickets can be purchased online at bit.ly/3nNU6kS.
Hosting the annual event during the novel coronavirus pandemic, he said, required The Trustees to make changes to its format. And while those changes will greatly reduce the number of people able to visit the property, lowering attendance from 1,500 to just 200 each night, Cruey believes the changes are worth it to be able to boost community spirit. In fact, The Trustees added two additional nights — Tuesday and Wednesday — to the schedule to be able to host as many guests as possible this year.
“We’re allowing 15 people in every 15 minutes. It’s kind of nice. You don’t have the crowds,” Cruey said, noting the same reduction safety protocols were in place during the Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show in October. “All parking will be onsite; there’ll be no shuttle buses this year.”
In addition to the reduced capacity, patrons ages 2 and older are required to wear masks and practice social distancing of six feet or more. Guests also will notice the path through the lighted displays is one-way this year, a measure taken to ensure social distancing requirements.
“We weren’t able to open up the Chinese Garden or the Evergreen Garden this year, as we needed to keep everything on one side of the house,” Cruey said. “But we have 175,000 lights on the part we have open. It’s a smaller space, but with more lights.”
Guests who have attended in previous years will notice several other changes, including new decorations on the iconic Blue Steps that lead up to Naumkeag’s gardens, as well as in a few other spots.
“This is the year to try new things,” Cruey said.
Those attending this year will still be able enjoy the Rainbow Road and Laser Light Forest, as well as the “Wishing Trees,” a staple of Winterlights where guests write wishes on provided tags that are then tied to tree branches.
“We’ve moved them outside this year,” he said, “to make them safer. We want people to be to make their wishes for 2021.”