Events in March
Jan. 27 – Apr. 6
Time to kick-start Spring! Longwood Gardens is on the right track, as it presents a refreshing preview of flowering bulbs inside nearly three acres of greenhouses. So, bundle up and head out of freezing Philly to catch a glimpse of these gorgeous flowers. For information call 1 (610) 388 1000.
Philadelphia Flower Show
This phenomenal flower show brightens the convention center like no other – and makes the whole place smell a bit sweeter too! Regional growers and plant fanciers strut their stuff with awesome displays that bring entire gardens indoors. Other features include floral arrangements, individual prize-winning plants, demonstrations and, of course, a large area devoted to shopping. Beware: you’ll be tempted to empty your wallet quickly in this marketplace full of flowers, plants, garden supplies, and artwork. Be strong. Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets).
March 24, 2001
Real Ale Rendezvous VII
Need an excuse to down some beers while in Philly? Well here’s a great one: America’s oldest real ale gathering. Features include cask-conditioned ales and lagers from around the world (check their website for a beer list). Held at Dock Street Terminal Brew Pub in Philadelphia. For information call 1 (215) 922 4292.
Maple Daze & Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast
Here’s a treat – eat homemade pancakes drowning in fresh Pennsylvania maple syrup, and support a great cause at the same time. Better yet: this pancake feast lasts all day long! All proceeds from this yummy meal benefit the Hepatitis C Awareness Fund. Events on Saturday include children’s arts and crafts, and the sale of Maple Daze treats, including freshly tapped maple syrup, maple baked goods, and maple candy. MMMmmm. Held at the Reading Terminal Market (12th and Filbert Streets) both days from 10am to 4pm.
March 29 – Apr. 1
3rd Annual Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Festival
Why not commemorate your visit to Philadelphia with a lovely portrait of Ben Franklin, or perhaps a rendering of the Liberty Bell? A tattoo is a unique souvenir that is yours to keep – FOREVER. With over 40 artists and vendors offering all things tattoo, this is the place to get it done. For information call 1 (215) 946 2853. Held at the Ramada Inn Essington (just south of Philly).
Pond in the East Conservatory of Longwood Gardens.
Every March the Philadelphia Flower Show brings in people from all areas of the world to celebrate flowers and the art of gardening. As a result, the show tends to be extremely crowded and costly – a victim of its own immense popularity. For those of you who would like to get a taste of spring without getting your toes tread upon, a visit to Longwood Gardens might be a better (and less expensive) option.
The gardens have a rich history. William Penn originally owned the land that they are now on, and sold it to the Peirce family in the 1700s. Two members of the Peirce family, brothers Samuel and Joshua, started planting trees on the land in 1798. They collected and grew many rare types of trees in their arboretum, and the area soon became to be known as Peirce’s Park. Over a century later the brothers were gone, but the trees lived on. Unfortunately, their days appeared to be numbered, as the trees were slated to be cut down for timber. Enter the hero: Pierre du Pont.
In 1906, du Pont bought the property in order to save the trees. At the time du Pont was a busy man: he was the chairman of both Du Pont and General Motors. However, he soon became known as the owner and architect of Longwood Gardens as well. He worked to develop various facets of the Gardens, overseeing many construction and renovation projects on the property throughout his lifetime. He also wanted to ensure the public would have access to the beautiful grounds. After his death in 1954, du Pont left Longwood Gardens "for the sole use of the public for purposes of exhibition, instruction, education, and enjoyment."
Today, Longwood Gardens provides year-round enjoyment for visitors from around the country. The Gardens cover 1050 acres, including a gigantic glass conservatory (built by du Pont in 1921), an open-air theatre, Italian water gardens, topiary gardens, forest paths, lakes, and fountains. The Peirce-du Pont house is also open to visitors, and features a wonderful historical overview of the property.
The Gardens hold various events throughout the year, including special displays for Easter and Christmas, seasonal festivals, and colorful fountain shows during the summer months. Their "Welcome Spring" festival is currently showcased in the Conservatory through Apr. 6 (I highly recommend it – a recent trip through there on a cold winter day was like virtual Prozac). It will be replaced by the fabulous Easter Display, which starts Apr. 7 and runs through the 20th.
Longwood Gardens is located on Rt.1 in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia.
Directions: Take I-95 South to Route 322 West (Exit 3A) to Route 1 South. The Gardens will be on your right.
Hours: 9am – 5pm daily. (Open until 6pm April through October.)
Admission: Adults, $12 (Note: Half the price of a Flower Show ticket!), but $8 on Tuesdays; children under 6, free; 6-15, $2; 16-20, $6.
For more information call 1 (610) 388 1000.