I love to travel, but sometimes it’s important to patronize the amazing places in your own backyard. The Philadelphia area is FULL of places that are worth a visit, or if you can, worth the cost of a membership. One such place is Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA (https://longwoodgardens.org), which is a 30-ish mile drive down Route 1 South from Philly.
In truth, I have little interest in gardening, flowers, or other plant life, but I just love this place. There’s a peace and beauty to it that I always fail to articulate. Luckily, my mom saw fit to get a membership in her retirement and we now head out there a few times each year. Over time, I’ll cover each of the annual highlights, but today I’m sharing the best of this year’s Orchid Extravaganza.
Let me start by saying I’m down with anything called an extravaganza. Every birthday, anniversary, or whatever celebration should be called an extravaganza because we should celebrate the little things. I digress…the flowers. I’m just drawn to them every year. The horticulturists manage to grow flowers with colors that can only be produced in nature. Seriously, Crayola must be so jealous. Along with this year’s crop of orchids, the Gardens’ theme is currently Winter Blues. It was all so gorgeous. Blue is my favorite color. It looks great on everyone.
The ‘Winter Blues’ part played out clearly in the main galleries of the Conservatory with a variety of flowers (yeah, this is where you can tell I’m not an expert…can’t even remember the flowers’ names!). As you progress through to the smaller galleries, you start to get the various types of orchids. The horticulturists apparently grow thousands and swap them in and out so the best flowers at any given point are being shown to the public. As a person who has killed a cactus, I have the greatest admiration for these talented people!
The orchid festival is the perfect time to head out to Longwood during the winter. All the highlights are in the Conservatory, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time outside in the elements. It will take over an hour to get through the entire Conservatory, so there’s plenty to see. Our family likes to head out in the morning and then grab lunch at the Terrace. The Terrace is Longwood’s fancy name for the cafeteria, but the food is so much better than cafeteria food! On this visit, the Terrace was under construction, so I’m not sure what it will ultimately look like, but the food was still excellent. I always get the mushroom soup (Kennett Square is the mushroom capital of the US) and whatever else moves me that day. On this trip it was a mozzarella, roasted red pepper, and pesto sandwich. YUM!
I hope the pictures I’ve included in the post and the much larger gallery on Instagram (link on homepage) give you a feel for the beauty of the place. Longwood is always a great visit and we’ll come back to it many, many times on this blog.