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Sunday, December 11, 2022

Winter Lights at Naumkeag in the Berkshires (Stockbridge, MA)


Winter Lights at Naumkeag

The month of December is when tiny towns across New England turn into a Hallmark movie. The coffee shops and storefronts are decorated with lights and garlands. Carolers sing through the firelit dining room of historic restaurants. Tree lightings and winter festivals bring in the crowds while light parades close down wreath-lined Main Streets. Holiday events take over our weekend calendars and we all bundle up to sip cocoa and enjoy the season.

Stockbridge, a small town home to Norman Rockwell in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, does all of this with a heightened level of charm. Not only do they turn their town into a snowglobe backdrop, but they offer one of the best light shows in the country. Winterlights at Naumkeag offer a magical outdoor holiday experience at the famous estate which is a New England holiday event that cannot be missed. 

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Lit pathway in the beginning of the walk

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Hanging snowglobes - some of my favorites

After running into this tiny New England town last fall, we quickly made plans to come back for the month of December. We read about the famous light festival, booked a hotel, bought tickets to the Normal Rockwell museum and set the date. Of course, we ended up getting sick that weekend and canceled our trip, postponing it to this year. We booked an Airbnb in the neighboring town of Lee, just a five-minute drive downtown, and set a calendar reminder to book our winter lights tickets nice and early. We booked our tickets at the end of October and were amazed to see the event was already offering limited tickets on the weekend. We snagged 7pm tickets on a Friday in the middle of December and headed to Stockbridge. 

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Entrance to the greenhouse

I wasn't sure what to expect but for the $27 ticket price, I was hoping it was good. I am happy to report that the winter lights far exceeded my expectations. We arrived at the property and were instantly dazzled by thousands of glittering lights in the distance. We started off on the path, enjoying the different music, different themed areas, and the different types of lights throughout the property. Magical snow globes hung from trees, sparkling lights that looked like glitter cast into the woods, and tunnels and arches of colorful lights. We even had the chance to walk through the first floor of the famous mansion decorated for the holidays. The icing on the cake was the little concession stand and fire pit that offered hot cocoa, cocktails and snacks to enjoy as you walked through the lights. We spent about an hour on the property and our almost 2-year-old loved walking the paths, seeing all the lights, and being out with the other kids past their bedtimes. We saw other families enjoying the night and talked to a few who told us this was their favorite yearly holiday tradition.

This event exceeded my expectations and I have a feeling this may be our new family tradition as the snow starts to fall in the small mountain towns of Massachusetts. Keep scrolling to read everything you need to know before you go and don't forget to book early.

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Colorful lit walkways through the estate

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Winter Lights at Naumkeag

Event Dates
November 25, 2022 – January 7, 2023
Wednesdays – Sundays (Closed December 24 & 25)

Wednesday-Thursday – Adults: $22/$17, Children (Age 3-13) $10/5
Friday-Sunday – Adults: $27/$22, Children (Age 3-13) $10/5
Children under 2 FREE

Purchase online - this is a popular event that sells out far in advance, plan to buy tickets as soon as they are released in October. I highly recommended signing up for emails from the Trustees to be notified of the presale. 

Parking is downtown Stockbridge, off Main Street or at the Town Hall. The shuttle (small school bus) is by the Town Hall - you will see a small booth with a short line. The shuttle runs every five minutes and it's a quick 3-minute ride. After your walk through the light show, you pick up the shuttle right where it drops you off at the estate.

Tickets and Timing
Tickets are purchased for a "start time". Show up within 15 minutes of your start time to the bus pickup in downtown Stockbridge (for a 5 pm ticket, show up between 5 and 5:15). You can stay at the property as long as you like. An hour is plenty of time to walk the path, enjoy a snack, and see the first floor of the mansion.

Unfortunately, this event is not wheelchair or stroller friendly. You follow a path that is sometimes uneven or goes up hills or stairs. Prepare to leave the stroller at home and use a carrying device for small children.

Leave the dogs at home - this is not a dog-friendly event and they are not allowed on the property for this event.

Bathrooms/Warming Areas
There are bathrooms at the property by the mansion and you are allowed to visit the first floor of the mansion which is also a great chance to warm up if it's a particularly cold night. We bundled up and were perfectly comfortable during our walk. 

There is a small hut outside selling snacks and beverages (hot cocoa, cider, egg nog, and alcoholic beverages). We opted for cocoa and cookies.

Other Properties
While the biggest light event is held at Naumkeag in Stockbridge, there are two other light displays managed by the Trustees in the area: the Stevens-Coolidge property in North Andover and Bradley property in Canton.


Concession stand Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Drinks/concession stand on the estate

Family-friendly event 

First floor of the mansion Winter Lights at Naumkeag
First floor of the estate

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Courtyard area at the estate

Family friendly Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Greenhouse area 

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
2023 New Year display 

Winter Lights at Naumkeag
Greenhouses lit up at Naumkeag

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