From Brunswick to Rockland, nearly all of the sizable towns (with a supermarket and a downtown) are strung along Route 1. Only one, Boothbay Harbor, sits near the end of one of the many peninsulas reaching into the Gulf of Maine. It’s a challenge, and so the Boothbay region puts on a series of great seasonal festivals – Windjammer Days, Harbor Fest, the Food and Music Festival, Festival of Lights and more – to keep visitors coming down the peninsula throughout the year.

The Festival of Lights is on now through the end of December and includes fireworks, events and beautiful displays in both Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor. The wonderful Harbor Lights show, on Dec. 1, has been going on for 33 years and shouldn’t be missed.

Attend and enjoy the festival, but please boycott Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Why? Because Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, without engaging the community, decided to become a massive Disneyland-style destination. They clearcut 24.8 acres of coastal forest – all of it habitat for several significant vernal pools – and built 849 parking spaces uphill from the Boothbay region’s drinking water supply.

Parking lot runoff must now be monitored for years. And when Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ flawed development was temporarily halted by the local Board of Appeals, they chose to sue the town of Boothbay in both federal and state courts rather than simply improve their plans.

A boycott will remind Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens that they are in service to the community, not the other way around. With their problematic $30 million expansion, and their subsequent lawsuits, they seem to have forgotten that they are a “public-benefit” nonprofit.

If, despite the problems at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, you decide to attend Gardens Aglow, please refuse to park in Lot B or Lot C, which both drain downhill toward Boothbay’s water supply.

Jason Anthony


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