Longwood Gardens brightens up for Christmas

The moment you walk into Longwood Gardens, you know you are in for a unique treat. Within its walls are manicured lawns, expansive topiaries and botanical wonders that boggle the mind and dazzle the eye. From Nov. 27 to Jan. 11, these majestic gardens are transformed into a wintry wonderland, ushering in “A Longwood Christmas.”

Nestled in the Brandywine Valley, Longwood Gardens was purchased by Pierre S. du Pont in 1906. Back then, the property only held an arboretum of ancient trees. Since then, it has expanded and become what we know today, recognized as the world’s premier horticultural showplace. The ever-changing landscape draws people from all over the nation every year.

During the holiday season, Longwood Gardens becomes even more magical. All of the trees dotting the outside landscape are dressed in sparkling lights, every color of the rainbow glittering in the night. There is a fountain show that occurs at intervals throughout the night, with water jets shooting up to timed Christmas carols and colored lights.

You can also see an ice skating show for an extra five dollars. While walking outside might be chilly, it is well worth the cold to see all of the twinkling lights and gorgeous scenery.

The beauty does not stop outside. Inside, poinsettias are arranged throughout the orangery, and hollies peek out from the surrounding foliage. There are numerous Christmas trees in the Conservatory, each one decorated in a different manner – one of them even revolves.

Lilies, begonias and orchids bloom everywhere, wreaths hang from every wall, and Christmas lights dangle from the ceiling like icicles. There is a large fountain filled with cranberries that float on its surface.

Every room in the Conservatory is decorated for Christmas, including the Music Room near the back of the mansion. This room was once used to entertain the du Pont’s private guests and has the air of an old Victorian home, cozily lit and tastefully decorated. A large Porter Baroque music box plays in the corner, pouring loud yet soothing music throughout the room.

Perhaps the most interactive area of Longwood Gardens is the Indoor Children’s Garden, hidden within the East Conservatory Complex. Despite its name, there is something about it that speaks to even the oldest of guests. With 17 fountains that shoot water every which way, winding passages and staircases that force its walkers to crouch and even a large, imposing fountain lovingly dubbed the “Drooling Dragon,” the Indoor Children’s Garden is a mystifying area for all ages.

Longwood Gardens is a stunning place to be, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Only a 40-minute drive from campus, it is a great place to unwind and enjoy the Christmas season. Going with friends makes the experience even better.

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