Saturday, January 14, 2012

Longwood Gardens

 Here we are, a couple weeks into January, and I'm doing posts from a month ago (well, December 23rd).  The Christmas season just gets too busy with all the activity, and visitors, and I end up missing posts.  And, I don't want to lose the pictures, so you're getting it now.  I know, it's selfish of me.

I know Robby looks uncertain here, but he did such a fabulous job!  We were at Longwood Gardens from about 1pm until 6pm or so and he just was an absolute joy while we were there.  The ride home was something else, but I'll discuss that later.  

Longwood Gardens is impressive generally, as is their solar field (which, the man in the picture above might have had something to do with), but it is truly beautiful at Christmas.  They both decorate interior areas with Christmas trees and seasonally appropriate plants, but then the entire property is lit up with thousands of lights at night.

We lucked out with a beautiful day, that was only a bit chilly, and my parents were able to make it back from visiting my brother and his wife in NYC to go with us.

Some of the less traditional displays delighted me.  Yes, this area was red and green, and filled with Christmas trees...but in a fountain?  Who would have thought...

I wish I had a view of the this entire conservatory, but this fountain had 8 or so trees in it alone.

Longwood was built by Pierre DuPont, in the early 1900's because he wanted to preserve the trees that had been planted their.  The gardens, and residence, were extravagant additions, though.  We found ourselves speculating on how massive a fortune it must have taken to import all the various species of plants in one room that we were in alone.  

This was the first time that Robby had truly seen trains, and now he is becoming more enthralled with them, even craning his neck up to watch the one circle over the dairy department at Wegman's.

Obviously, the boy wasn't going to let go.  He was afraid someone might steal his vantage point!

Yes, this is a GINGERBREAD HOUSE.  There were a few that represented each of the buildings on the property.  I can't imagine the effort that it took to make them.

I also loved that there were seasonal touches to each of the rooms.  This was the greenhouse dedicated to roses, but it contained hundreds of decorative stars (that I can't think of the name of for the life of me, even though we always had one hanging in front of our house...) hanging from the ceiling.

Probably my favorite "tree"

There was also an outdoor train display that we looked at before heading in to eat dinner and wait for it to get dark enough for the lights to turn on.

Robby amazingly never napped (again, eluding to the car meltdown in out future), but LOVED dinner in this cafeteria-style restaurant that we were in.  He had just been introduced to turkey, and happily ate bits of it out of my sandwich.  He was his usual charming self, squawking back and forth with a child at another table.

Once it became darker, the brilliant light displays stole the show.  Unfortunately, Christmas lights are really darn difficult to take pictures of!

I tried, but you'll have to imagine for the most part...

As we made our way out, of course, that's when Robby chose to fall asleep.  He slept for about 10 minutes, which is just long enough to make him think he is refreshed, without actually doing anything for him.  We get to the car, and BAM he's awake.  Not even 5 minutes into the drive home (which takes 45 minutes), he starts to lose it.  We stop, let him eat, and hope that his mood will be improved.  No such luck.  TOTAL MELTDOWN.  He SCREAMED the entire ride home.  My mother insisted that I let her switch seats and try and calm him down, when I had given up and was just letting him go.  Of course, she was no more successful than me.  When my boy gets going?  There is NOTHING you can do other than get to your destination.  And hope that there is no permanent hearing loss.  We made it in record time as Chris found the shrieks motivating, and, of course, the second we get home, he's a prince again.  What can ya do?

Anyway, a great place to visit, and I'd highly recommend making it there if you can!

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