Gingerbread House at Elizabethan Gardens Winter Lights.

In the darkness of winter’s nights the lights of Christmas are a symbol of promise and hope. There is something uplifting about the sparkling lights that pierce the darkness; for anyone who has had a chance to wander through Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island that is especially true.

Winter Lights is a visual feast for the eyes that the Gardens do every year, lighting every path and it seems like every tree with thousands and thousands of lights.The gardens are a remarkable example of a formal English garden and during the holidays Christmas lights outline the branches and shapes of the trees and plants and line the paths.

Wandering through the 10 acre garden there are surprises everywhere—a hidden gingerbread house or a gazebo tucked away along the path. In the middle of the garden there is a roaring log fire with marshmallows available for roasting.

The event has been expanded this year and will run through January 23. Through December the Elizabethan Gardens are open Tuesday-Sunday. In January Winter Lights will be held Fridays and Saturdays. It is an outdoor event—dress accordingly, the breeze off Roanoke Sound can be quite chilly.