Our family has had a membership to Longwood Gardens for the past three years, but we’ve never managed to get there to see the Christmas displays. It either gets too cold or our schedules get too crazy. This year I was determined to get there. Last week’s weather was very mild and we made it a point to clear our schedules to visit. The kids – ages three and five – were looking forward to seeing the lights and our son couldn’t wait to see the train which is only on display during the Fall and Christmas seasons. But it wasn’t just the Garden Railway that they were looking forward to — they enjoy the Tree House and believe it or not, they are very interested in the different types of plants and flowers throughout the grounds and in the Conservatory. Since Alyssa (3) has been visiting since she was a baby and Tyler (5) has been visiting since age 2, they have become very appreciative of the beauty found at the Gardens. It is a fantastic learning experience for them and it brings me joy to see them stop and ask for us to read the informational signs to them. This past summer they were so involved in the Waterlily Display that one of the workers actually came over to them and gave them a little lesson on the plants and allowed them to touch them. During this visit as we were walking along a path, Tyler stopped to admire the lights and snowflakes in one of the large trees and he said he remembered when that was lit and there were fireflies and music. A man passing by us stopped and asked how old he was and said that he was quite impressed that Tyler was recalling “Nightscapes” from a couple years ago. I love that our children enjoy visiting here!

We knew we were going to be in for a treat when we could see a tree covered in green lights all the way from the road before the entrance. I mean, there are over a half-million lights to be seen once you enter the Gardens. From trees illuminated with “icicles” outside to gorgeous displays inside, the whole experience is breathtaking. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our visit. I have many more, but I don’t want to spoil it for you if you want to go this season!

 

Longwood Gardens: Icicle Tree

Berries and Poinsettias

Longwood Gardens: Berries and Poinsettias

Orchid Tree

Longwood Gardens: Orchid Tree

Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts

Longwood Gardens: Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts

I think the Exhibition Hall with the apples, cranberries, and walnuts was our family’s favorite part – we were in awe of the estimated 670,000 cranberries, 8,000 Granny Smith Apples, and 3,000 walnuts used to create the patterns. Crazy, right?!

If you plan on visiting, be sure to check out the Longwood Gardens website for their calendar of events and for more information. The membership really is a terrific value especially if you intend on visiting more than once a year.

Bundle up and take your travel mug with hot chocolate and enjoy an unforgettable experience that will become a family tradition. I would love to hear about your favorite part too!

-Denise