One of the greatest things about the Grand Strand is just how abundant the natural beauty of the area is. It is blessed with gorgeous beaches, of course, as well as inland areas that will absolutely take your breath away again and again. One of those beautiful places – and a perennial favorite among Paradise Resort guests – is Murrells Inlet’s Brookgreen Gardens, one of our area’s true treasures.
Brookgreen Gardens offers a beautiful experience on any day of the year, however, it is simply a must-visit in December thanks to the annual Nights of a Thousand Candles tradition. For this event, the gardens are open at night and visitors are able to experience them like no other time of the year. Imagine the gardens coming to life at dusk with more than 5,500 hand-lit candles and hundreds of thousands of electric lights blanketing the gardens for the event. There is also an 80-foot-tall evergreen tree decorated with 70,000 lights — in itself an amazing sight as it is lit nightly in a grand fashion precisely at 5:45 p.m.
On event days in early to mid-December, Nights of a Thousand Candles opens at 3 p.m., and the evening doesn’t wind down until 10 p.m. Once the night begins to fall, everything changes right before your eyes. While strolling through the gardens with your hot cocoa or glass of wine, you will not only be in awe of the centuries-old live oak trees draped in hand-placed lights, but you will be treated to entertainment throughout the property as well as carolers and bell ringers who make their way around the property each night. Entertainment will be featured nightly and does change with the date, so please check the schedule when purchasing tickets. Entertainers appearing include the Thistledown Tinkers (Celtic), Vocal Edition (choral), the Paul Grimshaw Band (rock), the TruSol Band (R&B), Timmy and Susanna (children’s music), Bates Holman and Friends (jazz), and Ron and Natalie Daise (Gullah music).
Guests can also enjoy a dinner catered on the grounds by Inlet Affairs of Murrells Inlet. Dinner is available from 3:30 to 9 p.m. and is served cafeteria style. This year’s menu will feature delicious dishes including shrimp and grits, she crab soup, snow crab legs, BBQ, chicken bog, mahi-mahi, clam chowder and more. Beer, wine, gourmet hot cocoa, homemade apple cider and champagne are also available. Additionally, there will be beverages, soups and snacks available in the Old Kitchen, which is located in the sculpture gardens, and a beverage tent is located next to the main entertainment area, as well.
Aside from the lights, food and wonderful live entertainment, a breathtaking outdoor glass exhibit will be presented in Anne’s Garden each evening. Imagine the garden decorated with intricate and exquisite hand-blown glass pieces created by Conway Glass. Be sure not to miss this. Anne’s Garden is tucked away to the left of the main path when exiting the gift shop, just before you arrive at the Pavilion Restaurant.
Tickets are on sale now and sell out quickly, so visit www.brookgreen.org/NightsofaThousandCandles or call Brookgreen Gardens at 888-718-4253 to get yours now. Nights of a Thousand Candles runs December 1-3, 8-10 and 15-18. Traditionally, Thursday evenings are the least crowded, as they allow guests to avoid the weekend hustle and bustle. Arriving early so that you can see the candles being lit is suggested.
Make your plans early and come with family and friends to create a new holiday tradition that everyone will love. Brookgreen Gardens is just over a 30-minute drive from your home away from home at Paradise Resort. If you need help with tickets or directions, we are happy to help.