“Freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin—inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night.” ~ John J. Geddes
Maine is filled with the most quintessential towns, which come Christmas time become decked out Winter Wonderlands that could have just come out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. There is something about a Coastal Christmas that is much more appealing and dare I say charming compared to a Mountain Christmas in a lodge in Stowe. (Sorry Vermonters) From November onward, every town I drive through has become decked out to the fullest with wreathes and trees, many with a nautical spin. From Kennebunk’s Christmas Prelude, to Santa arriving on a Fisherman’s boat in Rockland, to L.L. Bean in Freeports’ Northern Lights, Christmas joy is in abundance when you travel to Maine.
Freeport is a town in Maine and home to LL Bean. LL Bean doesn’t just have their flagship store there, they have a whole campus of buildings connected by parks and cobblestone stairs that creates a quaint environment and is also a shopper’s mecca having outlets and other stores located in the heart of downtown Freeport. And during Christmas from the middle of November until New Year’s Eve, L.L. Bean puts on what they call the Northern Lights. A Christmas festival that is perfect for kids AND adults alike.
Northern Light’s Festival
The L.L. Bean campus is transformed into a Christmas oasis. Not only do they have the tree lighting in the middle of the square, a lighted arch way, a model T display, a life sized snow globe which is instagram worthy, AND gorgeous window displays. But this year they had a few surprises with the addition of an ice rink, with free skating (I haven’t yet taken a spin on it, but I will be soon!) as well as offering free hot chocolate! It is one stop fun friends!
Freeport is one of the places I typically stop at when I am making my way up North since they have a Starbucks, and the staff there are phenomenal, despite being busy! They also have public restrooms, so it is a great halfway stop if you are headed up towards Camden or Bar Harbor. I drove through in early November just as they were setting up, and I knew I needed to visit once the festival was in full swing!
My best friend’s parents live about twenty minutes away so after doing a couple days after Thanksgiving get together with her and her family who graciously had me over, I decided I was to close to not go check out the festivities. Admittedly it was insane as I was the Saturday after Turkey Day and it was extremely crowded. But hey, I only ended up circling a parking lot a gazillion times before I found a parking spot. BUT I did find one! Not only was it a win, it was completely worth it!
While it was busy, everyone seemed to be in great cheer and extremely respectful. I of course had to take pictures by the tree and the snow globe, which were adorable and COMPLETELY Instagramable. I also spent time watching the skaters skate, lamenting the fact I forgot my skates, (next time!) though the rink was crowded, it would really only be for the experience. I walked through the tunnel of lights and I appreciated that they had put up little plaques explaining the different religious holidays this time of year. I didn’t do any shopping, (I actually didn’t do any ALL weekend, I think I was burnt out from making the guides for you friends!) but it was fun to look around and explore. The L.L. Bean campus wasn’t just decorated perfectly outside, but inside as well. And I even recognized a few friends who have collaborated with them, and had designed some special products for the holidays for L.L. Bean’s home store.
They were passing out free hot chocolate, but I opted to stop at Starbucks for some java because I was driving home. I did get a holiday drink, because ’tis the season! It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon, especially the Saturday after Thanksgiving! Not that I needed help with my Christmas cheer, but if you are finding the holidays difficult, it was the perfect way to boost the spirit and feel festive, without being overwhelmed.
Have you ever been to Freeport? Are there Christmas festivals where you live?
You can read my other Blogmas Posts Here: