Friday, June 24, 2011

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: LONGWOOD GARDENS, KENNETT SQUARE, PENNSYLVANIA

This weekend I’m going to be visiting my family and one stop I hope to make is Longwood Gardens. During the summer after I graduated from high school this was a favorite evening destination for my friends and me. The gardens and the light and fountain show appealed to our hippie sensibilities. It also didn’t hurt that back then admission was free. (Now it costs $18 for adult admission and $8 for students up to 18.)
Like most young people, we were more interested in each other than the vast gardens, woods and park grounds, but we also spent a surprising amount of time learning about the plants, trees and landscape layout. What I learned then, has given me a lifelong appreciation of formal and not so formal gardens that has drawn me to places like Versailles, Hautfort, Sardy, Castle Howard in my travels.  

Many years later I can still find those special places at Longwood that filled me with youthful awe. And to my delight, they only seem to get better!

If you’re ever in the area west of Philadelphia and just north of Wilmington, make it a point to see these world famous gardens. While you’re there, stop by the Brandywine River Museum in nearby Chadds Ford which has a wonderful collection of paintings by three generations of Wyeths—NC, Andrew and Jamie.
So what were your favorite places to visit growing up? Have you been back lately?

3 comments:

Colleen Thompson said...

I'd love to go back there. Longwood Gardens is so lovely.

Enjoy!

Julia said...

Does River Oaks count? Seriously, when I was quite small I thought that neighborhood was a fairy tale land and my Grandmommie's house like a castle. I dream of going back. Literally, dream of it. But, I am afraid that my memories are much richer than the reality that is there now.

Lark Howard said...

Sure it counts, Jules! And it's still beautiful. During the cooler spring months, we often drive around R.O. with the top down on the car and sightsee--especially during Azalea Trail when we can tour the gardens. You need to come next year!