WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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S T E V E M A A S writer P E T E R B A K E R photographer when it c omes to real estate developers in Wellesley, it's safe to say no one is more eclectic than William Meagher. Downton Abbey, Fenway Park, Santa's Workshop, Buckingham Palace — those are just a sampling of the 325 buildings that Meagher has managed to sneak into a corner of town without a single visit to the Board of Appeals. That's not to men- tion five train lines, a trolley, and aerial gondolas. But then Meagher's neighborhood, like Brigadoon, is not on the map and makes only limited appearances. And with most buildings under one foot in height, they all fit into a single room. Snow Village has been part of the Festival of Trees at Elm Bank Reservation since 2014. Some 9,000 visitors trooped through the village last year, triple the number the first year. "It has really made a difference in our festival," says Katherine Macdonald, executive director of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, which is headquar- tered at the Gardens at Elm Bank. The holiday festival, which also includes scores of decorated trees, wagon rides, and Santa, is Mass Hort's biggest annual fund- raiser. This year's festival runs November 24 to December 10. Snow Village itself is open weekends to everyone and weekdays for group visits. While Meagher, 79, pours his heart, time, and not an inconsiderable amount of money into the miniature buildings, people, and landscape of Snow Village, it is the trains that he is known for. "Everybody refers to me as the 'train guy.' They give more headaches than any- thing," he says, with his ready laugh. What he loves is recreating the magic of Christmases past, including his own as a child in Rhode Island. * * * Snow Village is spread out over two large tables. Stand between them and close your eyes; it sounds as if you're in the middle of a rushing stream. The longest train route travels through a mountain tunnel; past a ski resort; and alongside a village with a vintage MacDonald's, a classic diner, and an old-fashioned Main Street. It then swings by the North Pole, where Santa sits at his desk making out his list with a swaying quill pen. While children race back and forth to keep up with the trains, their parents and grandparents peek inside the illuminated buildings. In Downton Abbey, dancers whirl about in ballrooms. Shoppers ride an escalator in Kringle's 55 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8

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