KENNETT SQUARE – This holiday season has been rich in tourism for local businesses and treasured monuments.
“Chester County’s Brandywine Valley is truly an all-season destination,” said Susan Hamley, executive director of the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau.
“While nature may seem sleepy during the winter, there is a beauty and serenity to be discovered and enjoyed,” Hamley said. “We invite visitors and locals to get away from it all every day by booking comfortable accommodation and exploring the scenery.”
The Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau is also launching a new beverage tourism initiative – titled ‘Cheers to Chester County’ – this year that will showcase the region’s breweries, wineries and distilleries.
Upcoming Chester County attractions include Winterfest in Kennett Square in February, as well as shows at Uptown Knauer Performing Arts in West Chester, The Flash in Kennett and Kennett Symphony, Colonial Theater in Phoenixville and People’s Light in Malvern, according to Hamley. .
From the Mendenhall Inn to cozy guesthouses, local hotels offer special dinners and “stays” to celebrate Valentine’s Day in February.
Celebrate Winter Wonder at Longwood Gardens, shop and dine on the charming main streets, and celebrate the New Year at the many bustling wineries, breweries and distilleries, Hamley said, adding: “Well done until 2022.”
Longwood flies away
The Winter Wonder, which will feature hundreds of blooming orchids, takes place January 22 through March 27 at Longwood Gardens.
Longwood Gardens had 1,498,553 guests in 2021, said Patricia Evans, public relations manager for Longwood Gardens.
From January to May, Longwood Gardens was open at 50 percent of capacity.
In 2020, during which Longwood Gardens was closed from March 14 to June 17, reopening for the rest of the year at reduced capacity, there were 855,889 guests, according to Evans.
Visits this holiday season have been busy at Longwood.
“This holiday season has been very popular,” said Evans. “We have welcomed just over 537,000 guests through January 5.”
This season’s holiday display continues through January 9.
Longwood Garden’s best holiday season per person was the winter of 2018-19, when the world-renowned botanical nonprofit hosted just over 468,000 guests.
Longwood Gardens is in the Township of East Marlborough, just north of Kennett Square. Customers can enter via Route 1.
Evans said Longwood Garden changes the theme of the holidays every year, adding that there is always something new for guests to see.
“This year our Fire and Ice theme resonated very well with our guests who enjoyed displays from fiery reds to cool blues to icy whites both inside and out,” said Evans. “New additions this year to our 500,000-light outdoor exhibit included an enlarged tunnel of lights and glowing orbs outside.”
She said the interior of the Alpine Wonderland created in the Longwood Exhibition Hall was an oft-photographed moment of the season.
In other news, Longwood Gardens plans to complete the preservation and restoration of the Orchid House later this winter, Evans said.
“As we have seen throughout the pandemic, people are looking for outdoor experiences that they can have with their family and friends, and we are delighted that our gardens offer this to our guests,” a- she declared.
Nearby, the Brandywine River Museum of Art is located in Chadds Ford, Delaware County. Part of the property includes land in the County of Chester.
“This year’s holiday season has seen the highest attendance since the pandemic began in 2020,” said Thomas Padon, Director James H. Duff of the Brandywine River Museum of Art.
“It was heartwarming to see the Brandywine full of happy families enjoying the museum, seeing the Brandywine Railroad – the beloved model train exhibit – and our famous art collection during the holiday season.”
Padon said Brandywine also opened the museum’s recently renovated Strawbridge Gallery, on the second floor, featuring landscapes from the Richard M. Scaife legacy.
“It was wonderful to welcome so many visitors to the museum, as well as to hear how much they had missed coming to the Brandywine in the previous months when we had been closed due to Hurricane Ida,” said Padon. “We are all proud of the role the museum plays in the community.”
The Brandywine River Museum of Art was closed for several months after Ida, which hit the area on September 1.
“We are very grateful to all the staff and contractors at Brandywine who moved mountains to make it possible to reopen the museum on Friday, November 26, following the devastating flooding in September which forced the museum to close for several months, ”said Padon. “Through their efforts, we were able to reopen the museum with our Brandywine Railroad train exhibit – an annual holiday tradition since 1972 – as well as highlights from our permanent collection on display in the galleries.”
Padon especially thanked model railroad specialists Dave Jensen and Paul Hoerner.
“One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the flooding was the loss of thousands of our iconic creature ornaments, all of which are handcrafted by our volunteers from natural materials,” Padon said of Ida. “We lost our historic collection of creatures that still adorned our large-scale trees in the Museum’s atrium. We were touched by the generosity of the staff, volunteers and community members who donated some of their own creatures to the museum so that decorating our tree would be possible again.
After the flood, the volunteers immediately got back to work creating new creature ornaments for this year’s sale, Padon said, adding that all of them sold out thanks to the outstanding support from the Chadds Ford community and in particular from the Chadds Ford Historical Society.
“Although there are still many months of work to be done before the museum is fully restored and regained full functionality, we have assembled a remarkable team of experts and skilled craftsmen to guide us in the salvage work that will bring us together. are still waiting, ”he said.
“We are very grateful for the tremendous support we have received from the community throughout the pandemic and in particular since the flooding caused by Hurricane Ida. Over 700 donors have donated to our Emergency Flood Relief Campaign, with nearly $ 1 million in funds raised to date, ”said Padon.
“Shortly after the September flood, 150 volunteers came to campus and helped clean up flood debris on our 15-acre campus,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do as we continue to address flood damage of over $ 6 million on our campus and buildings.”
The Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings exhibition will open on February 6 at the Brandywine River Museum of Art.
“This retrospective presents a spectacular selection of 100 works by one of America’s most iconic and beloved artists, who sadly passed away on December 25 at the age of 101. The exhibition will be presented at the Brandywine until April 10, “said Padon.
From the Brandywine River Museum of Art to Longwood Gardens, there is plenty to do this winter at home. The adventure awaits.