January is very much a part of winter. Plan to dress warmly for this nighttime event.
Story and Photos by Vanessa Quintanilla
Lights reflected off of the Descanso Gardens mountainside as I approached the entrance of Enchanted: Forest of Lights. In almost total darkness, you’d be surprised as to how much can be seen in all directions. The iridescent lights reminded me of fairylike magic, welcoming my arrival. The light fog that resided within the forest added to the enchantment of my experience there.
Once inside the Gardens, I found the staff to be extremely approachable and friendly. They were prompt about guiding visitors in the right direction, but also gave spectators the time and space to participate with the light displays that were interactive. Although very few street lamps were present, enough light and assistance was available to elude issues that could have ailed the event. Scattered showers made appearances at the Descanso Gardens, but with proper outerwear and my umbrella, the rain wasn’t enough to send me, or other visitors, home. The paved and spacious walkways allowed for great mobility for all guests during the mile-long stroll.
Flower Power, Rainbow Sycamores, Lightwave Lake, Symphony of Oaks, Fantasy Forest, Luminous Lawn, Ancient Forest and Garden of Good Fortune; of these eight areas within Enchanted, my favorite was the Garden of Good Fortune. The way the red lanterns glowed and reflected off of the water was magical. I was able to feel the good fortune there. A woman who passed by me said, “I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this place before!”
Bring the kids, or simply bring out the kid in yourself and hop onto the round tiles on the open field. Watch the circles illuminate on the command of your step. Want to create music? Step on the tiles that hug the trees at the Symphony of Oaks.
In Ancient Forest, powerful hues of magenta, blue, green and some tangerine created another level of life to the already-living plants and trees. One man described an area of Enchanted as, “feeling like being in the movie, Avatar.” It was definitely a sight to see.
Before entering the Gardens or deciding to leave for the night, visit the gift shop. And if you feel an alcoholic beverage will give you a boost of warmth in the cold temperature, visit the mixologist at the beverage bar. Guests are welcomed to take their souvenirs and drinks into the Gardens! However, if you would rather cozy up in front of a warm fire with some hot chocolate and snacks, visit Lakeside Brews inside the Gardens.
January is very much a part of winter. And since we SoCal natives aren’t used to the frigid temperatures of the mountains, plan to dress warmly for this nighttime event. This means layer up, wear proper shoes, and bring an umbrella if rain is in the forecast.
Located about 15 minutes north of Pasadena, the Descanso Gardens is in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, and very easy to find.
The Descanso Gardens is open almost year round, but Enchanted: Forest of Lights will only remain open till Jan. 8. To plan your visit, check out the Descanso Gardens website.