Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is vast, over 1,050 acres, and also very old.


From Wikipedia: “What is now Longwood Gardens was originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by a fellow Quaker named George Peirce (1646-1734). Although it started as a working farm, in 1798 twin brothers Joshua and Samuel Peirce planted the first specimens of an arboretum, originally named Peirce’s Park, and has been open to the public almost continuously since that time. By 1850 they had amassed one of the finest collections of trees in the nation. Industrialist Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) purchased the property from the Peirce family in 1906 to save the arboretum from being sold for lumber. He made it his private estate, and from 1906 until the 1930s, du Pont added extensively to the property.”

We had a laughably inadequate five hours to explore Longwood. The meadow alone requires at least 30 minutes to walk its perimeter paths. At a brisk pace.




The tulip poplars, oaks, and maples were taking on brilliant fall color, but as everyone we met assured us, it was a relatively anemic performance compared to years past.


The day began at 6:00 a.m., when we left relatives in Chicopee, Massachusetts, swung by New York to pick up a friend at the subway stop near The Cloisters, from there got on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and arrived at Longwood around noon. We stayed until closing, 5:00 p.m., drove to Philadelphia’s Chinatown to meet friends for Burmese noodles at Rangoon, then returned to New York by 10:30 p.m. to check in at our hostel in Chelsea. Covering such distances is not out of the ordinary, coming as we do from Southern California, but locals thought our itinerary was absolutely mad. The distances were not the problem but, rather, the number of gardens we thought it possible to see in one day. In this we were seriously deluded, since we’d actually thought it possible to include Chanticleer on the same afternoon as Longwood! So close, but both so vast, with too much of interest to join in a single afternoon.


I’ll have some of my own photos to post of Longwood later in the week.

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6 Responses to Longwood Gardens

  1. This is quite the eastern journey you’re taking us on. I’m enjoying the adventure.

  2. Kathy says:

    Denise, this is one I have missed, but hope to visit one day..I had to laugh at your description of the driving here and there and the reactions of the local folk..it is really remarkable how many fine gardens are commute distance from one another in the northeast-

  3. Pam/Digging says:

    I know what you mean about western perceptions of travel vs eastern. A RI blogging friend was telling me about driving from one end of Rhode Island to the other, half joking that that journey of an hour or so would require a picnic basket and maybe an overnight stay. I’m contemplating a spring trip to that area to see Chanticleer in spring. It’s so tempting to try to see the other great gardens in the area, but there’s only so much vacation time, alas.

  4. Saucydog says:

    Well, Pam, Chanticleer is an excellent choice, but Longwood is not that far off if you can squeeze it in.

    Kathy, you’re right, we have so many choices within a days drive, here. People just don’t go. My own mother-in-law lives 10 minutes from Tower Hill and she’s never been.

    I loved Longwood. Did you see any of the resident cats? I caught a photo of one rolling in the nepeta of all things!

  5. Denise says:

    SD, I’m so glad someone’s minding this blog! I had some minor wordpress meltdown yesterday but it seems OK for the moment. And I did see a Longwood cat! I really wished I could have seen Tower Hill too. And I’m wondering about Winterthur, what you think of it. Mostly, I wish I could have seen YOU!

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