Festive greenery framesthe Letters to Santa booth at the Castle Hill Inn during the 2021 James L. Maher Center Popup Tree and Wreath Sale.

The Maher Garden Center, located on the campus of the James  L. Maher Center on Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown, will open its doors on Thanksgiving weekend (November 25-26-27) with a selection of Christmas trees, hand-decorated wreaths, poinsettias,  ornaments, and other festive accents – heralding a new chapter for the beloved Aquidneck Island institution as an inclusive center for horticultural and retail training and a year-round source for beautiful plants and unique gifts. 

The Maher Center will also be taking its Yuletide stylings on the road once again this year, with the second annual James L. Maher Center Popup Tree and Wreath Sale at Castle Hill Inn on Saturday, December 3, and Sunday, December 4 from 10 am to 3:30 pm. The event,  hosted by the Inn in support of the Maher Center, will offer complimentary hot cocoa and cider, holiday music, and a keepsake photo op at the magical “Letters to Santa” mailbox – as well as the very special experience of browsing for the perfect tree or wreath in the idyllic setting of the Inn’s Chalet Lawn. Balsam roping and other greenery will also be available for sale.  

All proceeds benefit the James L. Maher Center’s programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

“The holidays at Castle Hill are always a special occasion, and we’re thrilled to be bringing back our pop up tree and wreath sale in support of our friends at the James L. Maher Center,” said Brian Young,  Managing Director of Castle Hill Inn. 

“We’re all about helping people live life to its fullest, and we can’t think of a more vivid expression of that than being part of so many people’s Christmas memories,” said Lynne Maher, executive director of the  Maher Center. “We’re incredibly grateful to our dear friends at the Castle Hill Inn for once again inviting  our community to celebrate the season in such a beautiful, festive setting.”

“We’re thrilled to be bringing the magic back to our Garden Center for the whole holiday season,” she added. “We can’t wait to connect with old and new friends, and we’re so grateful to everyone whose  holiday purchase will help support our programming all year long.” 

The Garden Center is a key element of that year-round programming, noted Board President John Casey.  

“Rewarding work makes life fuller for everyone,” Casey said. “We look forward to drawing on the Maher  Center’s rich horticultural heritage, as well as the expertise of our friends – through our wonderful partnership with the URI Master Gardeners Program, for instance – to help people develop practical skills  through new, hands-on training programs based at the Garden Center.” 

“Many members of our Maher Center community are working on the Island – in offices, at supermarkets,  at Naval Base Newport, and in other settings – and we’re delighted to continue to help enrich more lives and support our local economy by preparing reliable, skilled employees,” Maher said. “Our new horticultural learning opportunities will complement our growing repertoire of employment services,  which includes job exploration and coaching, work readiness, culinary training, and more.”  

Casey and Maher noted that, as the Garden Center continues to evolve, it will offer unique art and products created by members of the Maher Center community and other talented friends – celebrating the vibrant creativity that flows from embracing different ways of looking at the world. 

The Maher Garden Center, located at 910 Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown, Rhode Island, will be open weekends through the holiday season. Following a brief hiatus, it will then reopen in early spring to  meet our community’s educational and gardening needs.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...