With the exception of Christmastime, when the trees throughout the Gardens are decorated with thousands of tiny twinkle lights, the Gardens have always been quiet after dark. With Nightscape, guests can enjoy wandering the Gardens after dark because the trees and flowers are transformed by light and sound. It’s quite enchanting.
They use projectors to cast lights on the trees and flowers, and the music is coordinated with the movement of the lights… or visa versa. I tried to capture a bit of it on Periscope, but my camera phone was having a hard time picking it all up. To really get the idea, watch this 35-second trailer they created.
We enjoyed a media reception with dessert and wine before the Nightscape display started at 9:30, where the director of Longwood Gardens and the creator the Nightscape experience, Ricardo Rivera, shared a little bit about the process and inspiration behind the project. In true Longwood form, the drinks and desserts were artfully displayed among flowers and other natural decor. It was stunning.
After the reception, we wandered the Gardens and took in Nightscape. There are 9 different displays in all, and I think we saw 3 or 4 of them. My favorite was the Garden Walk. I think it will be even more enjoyable when it’s not so crowded and you can really get lost in the experience. Nightscape will run through October 31st, at which time I’m assuming the holiday displays start up again.
We enjoyed Nightscape, but the biggest draw for us was actually the new Beer Garden. Designed after the beer gardens in Europe, I predict this new attraction will go a long way to making Longwood Gardens relevant to the younger crowd. What makes the Beer Garden super cool is this little hut they built from an old tree they had to cut down in the Gardens. Typical of Longwood, the attention to detail is impeccable. You can see by the line that the new Beer Garden is already a smashing success.
Because Longwood is committed to sourcing their food and drink locally, they partnered with Victory Brewing Company to provide three beers on tap, including a signature brew called Longwood Seasons: Summer Zest, a Saison beer brewed using lemons grown in the Gardens. Then to compliment that, their chefs created a special Beer Garden menu featuring tasty pub fare. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than that!
Each Thursday, regional artists perform live in the Beer Garden from 7-10 pm. Check longwoodgardens.org for the performance schedule. You can bring your own chairs and lounge on the lawn, take in the gorgeous scenery, and enjoy the live music. When we were there, a bluegrass band was performing. We wanted to spread out a quilt and sit there all night, but we had to get on over to the dessert reception. We will definitely come back sometime when we can enjoy the Beer Garden all evening.
Throughout Nightscape, Longwood will offer a variety of special programs and activities for guests to enjoy including live music, Family Nights, and a new Artist & Friends speaker series. A Nightscape ticket is required for admission to the programs and Beer Garden. Due to the overwhelming popularity of these two new attractions, I’d advise waiting a few weeks to try them out, but whenever you go, you’re definitely in for a good time.
Disclosure: I was provided with free admission to experience Nightscape, but all opinions and experiences are my own.