Winter Lights Winter Walk set up at Red Apple Farm. What to know.
PHILLIPSTON – A popular local apple orchard has been transformed into an electric winter wonderland for the holidays.
As one young visitor recently put it, “It’s like a maze of lights.”
Red Apple Farm’s first annual Winter Lights Winter Walk invites visitors to stroll along a path lit by 70,000 colorful, twinkling lights that have been strung to decorate trees, fences and farm implements. The path meanders through a pine grove, around a pond and out into the orchard.
Al Rose, who has owned the farm for decades along with his wife Nancy, said the idea for Winter Wonderland was suggested by a friend, Lester Spear, who has done similar shows in Maine, but needed a new location after that of land used by him was sold.
“(Lester) came here in the fall and said if we ever wanted to do a winter light thing, (the Red Apple Farm) would be a perfect place, so we spoke to Rick (Walton), our partner at the Brew Barn, and all of us just fell in love with the idea,” Rose said.
According to Walton, the team agreed to place the display at the Red Apple Farm annually for at least the next three years.
Rose said the light display was kind of a last minute decision.
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“We would have liked to have it done right after Thanksgiving, so we were a bit behind schedule, but we all worked together and made it possible,” he said, adding that a team of six worked non-stop for about two weeks Arranging tens of thousands of tiny lightbulbs on the farm. “It’s pretty impressive how far we’ve come as we’ve never done it before.”
Holiday music standards, old and new, blare out from loudspeakers throughout the orchard, and visitors can warm themselves by bonfires set up at various points along the trail. Santa manned one of the fire pits and posed for photos on a recent visit.
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But Walton said that while some of the decorations were Christmassy, the aim of the exhibit was to highlight the New England winter season.
“We just wanted to say ‘winter lights’ because I’ve been reading a lot of books lately that are set in Quebec, Canada, and winter is like a season of that kind to them, and Christmas has nothing to do with it,” said Walton.
The tour begins with a group of spruce trees that Rose’s grandfather planted as Christmas trees in the 1960s, Rose explained. “So you have a second life,” he added. The path then takes visitors around the small pond and then out into the orchard.
“(This display) really takes advantage of the natural farmland and gives it a holiday magic, and I think it looks very festive and very wonderful,” he said.
The reaction from visitors and neighbors has been positive so far, Rose said.
“People in the community seem excited to have something like this around and you don’t have to drive very far to see it,” he said.
Walton said the exhibition, which could include ice sculptures next year, is an event everyone in the family can enjoy.
“We have the Brew Barn, the Country Store and Santa for the kids,” Walton said.
Refreshments, including hot chocolate, cider and snacks, are available most nights at the farm’s Brew Barn.
Winter Lights is open most nights through New Year’s Eve from 4pm to 9pm. For tickets and availability, go to: Red Apple Farm Winter Lights.