On Sunday Pennsylvania goes back to some of the restrictions we saw back in March. Lockdown is how some would call it but inconvenient seems like a better descriptor… unless your livelyhood is again at stake… Restaurants are back to take-out only and indoor entertainment venues and community activities are cancelled. Stores are limited to 50% capacity. It’s like lockdown lite and I guess that’s all you can get away with when so much of our state government is determined to fight for our freedoms even while hundreds of residents die each day from a virus they insist isn’t that bad. But you know this. You read the news, and those who are being safe are being safe and those who aren’t just won’t believe the stove is hot until they touch it.
Longwood’s greenhouses are considered indoor entertaiment, and as such will now be closed throughout the holidays, but fortunately we were able to get down there on our usual Sunday after Thanksgiving visit. The tickets were reserved a week in advance, and even though by the time the day arrived everything was sold out we were still happy to find the place nearly empty. I believe ticket sales had been cut down to about 25% normal capacity, so from our first step out of the car, through the entrance, to the grounds, through our meal, through the greenhouse, back to our car we barely touched a cleaned surface or moved within six feet of another visitor. I felt entirely safe, but keep in mind I also believe in the 5 seconds rule so your results may vary.
As usual the decorations were perfect. Swathes of holiday flowers, stylish ornaments, perfect lighting, and all the special touches we look for on our visits. Even the kids were impressed although I suspect they’re both into the stage where much of what their dad does embarrasses them, and forcing them to pose as they opened the bathroom door probably didn’t help. My bad, but I consider the conservatory bathrooms to be one of the underrated highlights of any Longwood visit. Lushly planted green walls surround the spacious private powder rooms, and even if you’re not inspired to take a picture you’ll probably never again want to settle for a drafty stall.
I’ve only got a few more decent pictures since most of the time we just enjoyed the visit, but Longwood has been posting quite a few photos online this year and pretty much all of them are better anyway so let me suggest their website, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever media you prefer. Also I recommend their drone flight through the greenhouses video which really shows off the inside decorations. It’s almost as good as being there.
Both inside and out, the best show starts as daylight fades. Lights are everywhere and decorations sparkle and it’s nearly impossible to take in all the fantastic detail.
There’s always a nightime hush after dark. A nice spiked or unspiked hot chocolate makes an excellent strolling companion, maybe not so much for our visit though since it was so warm we barely even needed our coats.
After our final cruise around the greenhouse we did one more lap around the grounds. We caught all the outdoor lights, visited a few bonfires, and took in one final fountain show.
So we had a great visit. You should go as well, but maybe not this year since besides being mostly sold out, the greenhouses are shut down until Jan 4th the earliest. Put it on your list though, and then stay safe so that everyone’s still around next year to check it off.
All the best, and if you didn’t do it before watch the drone video!