05 Sep Longwood Gardens
Before moving to DC, we admit that we had never heard of Longwood Gardens and can’t believe we never did, since they are spectacular. We’ve visited Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and Longwood Gardens is just as amazing (except, of course, they are outside gardens and not focused on a grand mansion).
The gardens are just over 2 hours away from DC, so you could visit them on a day trip. We decided, instead, to make a weekend out of it and spend Saturday night at a B&B near the gardens. We stayed at Galer Estate winery (literally right next door to the gardens) and would highly recommend it. You can see the Longwood Garden fireworks (which only happen on special occasions) from the winery and the wine, scenery, service, and rooms are perfect.
If you’ve read our posts in the past, you know that we enjoy the drive as much as the destination – so, while you can zip to the gardens on I-95 or, much better, and only 15-30 minutes longer, leave I-95 as soon as you can before or after Baltimore and take Route 1 the rest of the way. You could also leave earlier on Saturday and add on another hour or more to take a northern detour through Amish country (stopping at Bird-in-the-Hand) and leaving the gardens until Sunday.
The gardens themselves can take you as long as you want but most people spend 3-4 hours there – we spent closer to 5 hours, including a lunch at their café. You will want to see the fountains as they do their amazing, almost Vegas-style, water dancing every couple of hours as well as spend an hour or two in the greenhouse and the rest of the time simply enjoying the gardens – they are incredibility beautiful and well worth your time. They are also ideal for dogs and small children (in strollers) or older relatives (in wheelchairs). Have a great, relaxing weekend away!