Murrells Inlet, S.C. — Candles glimmered in ponds, gleamed from archways, glowed along pathways and illuminated art – thousands of lumens hanging from trees — drawing oohs and ahs from thousands of visitors to the opening weekend of Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens.
None of the visitors really counted the candles — officially the count is more than 5,500 that are hand-lit — the people were content to feast on sculptures and holiday lighting draping from the gardens’ signature trees and bushes, music and classic Southern food.
“It’s like magic, with the lights and the candles,” enthused Jerre and Amanda Reese of Murrells Inlet.
It didn’t hurt that the temperature was a relatively balmy 60 degrees.
“We’ve been here when it’s been much colder,” Amanda Reese said.
Rhonda Voss of Shelby, N.C., took credit for the weather.
“We ordered it,” she confided, smiling. “Seriously, we were visiting the beach and read about this event. It’s the best deal ever.”
For Eric and Mary Vienneau of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the opening evening provided another glimpse of the gardens.
“We came down to Litchfield for three months and often ride our bikes to and through the gardens,” Mary Vienneau said. “We love it here.”
Friday’s event was the first visit but not the last, promised David, Bridget and 1-year-old Addy Kate Hall of Spartanburg, getting ready to sit down for dinner in the main food tent.
Not everyone was impressed by the lighting or the sculptures that are among the main draws at Brookgreen Gardens.
“I thought the potatoes were a hit,” said ‘tweener Cameron Moore of Surfside Beach, stopping to count the points on a star hanging from a tree before heading off to the Old Kitchen where hot chocolate and marshmallows awaited.
“Oh yeah,” added Cameron. “It’s really pretty.”
The Nights of Thousand Candles continue Dec. 14-15 and 20-22.
General admission is $16 for adults and $7 for children 4-12. Food is extra.
By Anita Crone
For the Times
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