Cruising Bayside Lights
Holiday Light Fest Glows from the Bay’s Shores
by Carrie Steele
Wonderlands of holiday lights come in many forms this season from houses to downtown decorations to parks but the easiest way to immerse yourself in glimmering bulbs is to drive through a holiday lights display. The illumination at Sandy Point State Park is a destination for your family and out-of-town guests with kids either before or after Christmas.
Exiting off Route 50 just before the Bay Bridge, you can shed all your traffic woes: there’s no jams or angry drivers checking out lights. All from the warmth of your car, you’ll enter through a lighted archway guarded by toy soldiers, then through an arched bough of holly.
As traffic meanders, you relax and flip on your parking lights, so as not to ruin the good lighting effects surrounding you and other visitors.
At Sandy Point State Park’s Festival of Lights, you’re directed by paths created with orange strings of lights as you and your passengers ooh and ahh over cartoon animals and holiday-themed setups.
Along the tour you’ll not only see the Lights on the Bay’s signature giant red bear, you’ll encounter a lighted outline of the State House dome and St. Anne’s steeple, a skating pond scene and a pirate ship with swashbucklers waving sabers. There’s a park-full of wildlife, too, including a jellyfish, blue herons, clams and even Chessie the Sea Monster. You’ll drive through two tunnels of lights, made up of half a dozen archways of white lights timed to blink off and on in patterns and rhythms. A lighted gingerbread man leaps over the road onto his house of sweets.
This kid-friendly wonderland adds extra color to your holiday with both stationary and moving displays.
Before lights go out after New Year’s Day, mix a canteen or travel mug of hot chocolate to sip at as you drive, and tune into the special low-frequency holiday radio station that plays for your evening tour.
And on your way home, don’t forget to take a tour of your own neighborhood to admire your neighboring communities’ displays of holiday cheer.
Lights on the Bay runs 5-10pm nightly, rain or shine, including holidays at Sandy Point State Park, off Rt. 50, by the Bay Bridge. $12/car to benefit Anne Arundel Medical Center: 443-481-3161; www.aahs.org.