Longwood Gardens Review
Nestled unobtrusively on the outskirts of Philadelphia, over 1000 acres of maintained grounds and gardens wait for those looking to be blown away by beauty. Featuring everything from an outdoor theater to an awe-inspiring conservatory, Longwood Gardens is a true feast for the eyes, and a must see for anyone in the area.
The brainchild of the du Pont family, the Gardens are several hundred years old and steeped in history. The Pierce du Pont House dates back to 1730 and serves as a museum dedicated to the land and the various tribes and families that have built it to what it is today.
The grounds are spacious and inviting. There's no sense of cramming in as many flowers as possible at the expense of taste. Fountains feature heavily in the landscaping, including two full fountain gardens. The larger fountains near the Conservatory light up and dance during the Summer firework shows. Other notable features include the Chime Tower and the treehouses scattered throughout the park.
From a more touristy stand point, Longwood Gardens has another distinction- it has easily the best cafeteria-style restaurant I have ever visited. That may sound like a backhanded compliment, but we ate there twice and were extremely impressed both times. I had steak with mashed potatoes and ratatouille made from vegetables grown in the Gardens. This is a wonderful feature for families who don't want to drag their kids into the sit-down restaurant, without sacrificing food quality.
Another thing I appreciated was the staff. The woman at the entrance desk was very knowledgeable and recommended the gardens currently in bloom to us. It was a hot July day, and security guards were driving through the park handing out free water bottles to everyone they met. We also spoke to several employees while relaxing in the lily pad garden. They were friendly and seemed quite happy with their jobs. The whole place is so welcoming and really sticks out in my mind for customer service.
The main draw of Longwood Gardens is the conservatory. Huge, vibrant, and diverse, the conservatory is worth the entrance price all on it's own.
All in all, Longwood Gardens is a great time for all ages. I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for a day out in the Philly area. Prepare to spend five or six hours in the Gardens, and try to make it on a Fireworks day. Spring and Summer are obviously the peak months, but Fall sees the Chrysanthemum Festival and Winter has the highly-anticipated Longwood Christmas. There's always something new to see!
You can see more information and news at Longwood's own website.