Mendocino Magic: Festival of Lights

Spend a dazzling evening, near the ocean, amid the illuminated splendor of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

THE FANCIFUL FACT... of the matter is this: A lot of people are looking for some enchantment around the holidays. We don't necessarily need to board some shimmering cloud and fly off to a storybook castle, nor do we require time travel, good luck spells, or a lucky toad to befriend us (though, let's be honest, all of those things would be flat-out fabulous). What we are seeking, though, are those moments, places, and experiences that whisk us away from the day-to-day, at least for an hour or so. Twinkly light displays have a way of upping the whimsy of everyday life, thanks to their instant ability to set a meditative, be-at-peace mood. If "meditative, be-at-peach mood" also summons the ocean to your mind, and lingering at the beach, take heart: There's a place not far from the surf that's going the sparkly route over several nights throughout late November and much of December. It's the...

MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS, just a couple of miles south of Fort Bragg, and it will be awesome aglow each Friday through Sunday from Nov. 24 through Dec. 17, 2017. If you know this spot you know that it is quite near the waves, giving it a coolness that not every plant-filled stretch can claim. That means fun bundle-up time as you stroll among the glittery seasonal displays set up throughout the gardens. As for what you'll see? The Succulent Garden will take on an oceanic look, the Heath and Heather collection will include a "sailing brig" of sorts, and the pathways will be lit to encourage sauntering about. A get-warm tent, hot cocoa, hot cider, and other treats away. Plan on Mendo-ing it before the holidays? You'll want a ticket to this charmer of an outdoor bon bon, so get yours right away.

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