Summer at Longwood Gardens
As a member of the social influencer program at Longwood Gardens (a botanical garden that was once the home of Pierre duPont and is now open to visitors year round), I received a family membership for the year. Longwood Gardens has been one of my favorite local attractions ever since I moved to this area 18 years ago. I love walking through the perfectly manicured gardens and conservatory and gazing at the mesmerizing fountain shows. But as many times as I’ve been to Longwood over the years, there are a few things I had never done.
I had never been in the duPont House, and I had never eaten at their fancy 1906 Restaurant. I crossed both those items off my bucket list last weekend!
For her birthday back in March, I gave my mom guest passes to Longwood Gardens and promised to take her on her next visit. She finally got around to cashing in on that promise last weekend. Saturday was an absolutely glorious day to wander the gardens at Pierre duPont’s famous estate.
Our first stop was the rose garden, where both my husband and I took a copious amount of photos!
The kids weren’t thrilled to be there at first.
But they rallied when they discovered the topiary garden. They loved that.
And the ice cream helped.
They also enjoyed the duPont House much more than I expected. I really enjoyed hearing Pierre duPont’s story and why Longwood Gardens is so full of fountains and trees. We enjoyed the fountain show, but admittedly, it’s not nearly as splendid during the day as it is at night.
I highly recommend their Fireworks & Fountains events. We attended one a few years ago and it was a truly unique experience.
Here’s some more eye candy. My husband and I took well over 100 photos between the two of us — me on my iPhone and him with his fancy Nikon D7000.
I’m busted! (Gotta capture it all on Instagram, dontchaknow!)
I got him back with this one.
Our last stop before dinner was the Italian Water Garden — Pierre duPont’s first fountain garden modeled after one he loved in Italy. This is a bit of a hike from the main garden areas, but it’s worth the walk.
After that, we were more than ready to relax in the elegant 1906, where we dined on the porch. It was perfect weather for eating outside, and the atmosphere was only superseded by our fabulous meal. I love that Longwood sources local wines and cheeses and many local meats and vegetables as well for their menu. In full disclosure, we are good friends with the manager of the restaurant so I have a good deal of behind-the-scenes knowledge of the care and expertise goes into the management of the food services at Longwood. It’s really fascinating to someone who hasn’t had any experience with the food industry.
We enjoyed their locally sourced cheese plate, although I didn’t get a picture of that. It was quite generous, which I appreciated since there were 7 at our table. Sometimes local cheese samplers are skimpy on the portion sizes, but not at 1906.
For dinner, my mom and I both ordered the BUTTER POACHED HALIBUT with Leek Emulsion, Fingerling Potatoes, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms, and Pickled Ramps.
My husband had the ROASTED PORK CHOP with Braised Artichokes & Fava Beans, French Breakfast Radishes, and Black Garlic Jam.
And my dad had the BRAISED PASTURED CHICKEN with Baby Heirloom Carrots, English Peas, Pearl Onions, Fava Beans, and Herb Puff Pastry, although we didn’t get a photo of his plate.
Everything was outstanding. I love the combination of fresh and interesting flavors, and I also appreciated that I didn’t leave feeling stuffed, even though I did splurge on dessert — the Banana Crème Brulee with Dulce De Leche Ice Cream and Peanut Caramel was in and of itself worth the visit to 1906.
Dinner prices are in the mid-$20 range so it is certainly a fine dining restaurant, but if you’re local, it’s definitely one you should consider for your next special occasion.
While there are many attractions to entice the kids at Longwood (my kids love the tree houses scattered around the property) my mom and I agreed that we need to go back once the kids are in school and take our time perusing the gardens and the conservatory and eat lunch at 1906 without the distraction of impatient children. I’m looking forward to that!