Monday, July 14, 2014

Quick Little Trip ...

Scott and I whisked ourselves away this weekend for a little vacation in the Brandywine Valley. It was much needed, trust me! If you read the blog with any regularity, you know I love the Brandywine Valley, that beautiful, Eden-like area where Philadelphia meets Delaware and Maryland. We had a reason to go, Patti LuPone (broadway legend) was performing her show "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda ... Played that Part" at Longwood Gardens, but our only reason for staying the long weekend was exploration, relaxation, and restoration.

We started at one of my favorite stores in Glen Mills, Pa, Terrain at Styers. Terrain is the brainchild of the Anthropologie brand. A store devoted to gardening and plants, it's a nursery done only the way that Anthropologie could possibly pull off. Unique, one-of treasures are mixed with hand crafted soaps and beauty products, plants and gardening equipment strewn about the lush pebble carpeted grounds with glimpses of fine upholstery, art, and home d├ęcor through every window and open door. It's a magical place, and I'm constantly and irrevocably inspired every time we visit:

Next we headed off down the road for a little antique store shopping. There are 4 antique stores on Baltimore Pike, all of which carry a variety of things and operate in a Co-Op format with vendors renting small spaces and filling it with literally, whatever they want. Sometimes it's good - and sometimes it's not.
At one of these antique stores, a large open air porch wraps the entire house turned shop, and I couldn't resist playing Alice when I saw this awesome oversized chair:

How fun is this? I don't think it's for sale, because it's been here every time we stopped in to the store. Architectural fragment litters the porch, everything from windows and doors, to fireplace surrounds and columns are ripe for the picking. Inside, I thought this little sign was brilliant for the baker or cook who likes a little whimsy:

Keep Calm and Add Butter
Next we checked into our hotel, unpacked our bags, and then headed back to Longwood Gardens for a quick spin around the gardens before Patti's show. (I'm totally on a first name basis with her!)


I even got inspiration for our kitchen remodel from the antique kitchen on view in the home turned museum of Longwood Gardens' creator and benefactor, Peirce duPont.
Then we headed over to the stage, to grab our seats before Patti came on to perform. Now, if you know anything at all about her, you know that pulling your camera out to take pictures while she's on stage is begging for an embarrassing invitation to leave, so I left my phone tucked neatly into my white pants, and enjoyed the concert! She's an amazing performer!
The next day we headed into Baltimore, but before getting there, we stopped off at Ladew Topiary Gardens by recommendation of my friend Amy. It was lovely!

It was a lovely garden, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. The inside of the Ladew house is spectacular, a home I could move right into without changing a thing! Unfortunately, they do not allow interior photographs. Next we headed down to Baltimore, and to the National Aquarium. I'm a huge aqua-nerd, so, anytime we are near an aquarium of any repute, we go.
While it was a lovely aquarium, the highlight had to be the introduction to Calypso, the 490-pound green sea turtle missing its left, front flipper. Found off the Long Island coast in 2000, the turtle was just 6-pounds when rescuers nursed the now mammoth turtle back to health. The missing left flipper, lost to a severe infection when Calypso was found, doesn't even seem to bother Calypso. We had a great time, but so far, nothing has compared to the Boston Aquarium.
We headed out to the harbor, strolling around the water and even taking a hike up Federal Hill to appreciate some of the architecture and available real estate!

We headed into the shops along the harbor, including the candy shop where they had laughable, oversized portions of popular candy bars, including my favorite: Sweettarts!
I didn't have any, but I had to take a picture in jest. As night fell, we took one more leisurely stroll around the harbor, before we headed back to the hotel.
The next day, we headed off in a northerly direction to Philadelphia. We had been to Philadelphia before, of course, but I wanted to run into IKEA quickly, and it's a great city.

We of course, made a stop at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, where I ran those steps like a champ, showing Rocky a thing or two in my burlap Toms. Then we walked around the area, finding our way to Fairmount and the Eastern State Penitentiary, now a museum. They were closing up for the night, so we didn't get to tour - something I'm sure we'll make plans to do next time, but the restaurant across the street was intriguing.


Situated perfectly inside of an old firehouse, Jack's Firehouse was a visual delight. Dark and moody, the food was amazing. I had their pulled pork piled high on corn chips seasoned with a blend of powdered spices, and their bone-sucking ribs. If you're ever in the area - I highly recommend it! After dinner, we went to the King of Prussia mall for a little retail therapy, and then back to the hotel.
The next day we were heading back to CDLV, but before we did that, we stopped off at Winterthur to make use of our Member passes. I could tour the house over, and over and over again. And have! In fact, blogging about it several times, here and here and here and here. This time we did a short tour, the introductory, which is free to members and takes about 45 minutes. On this tour, you get to see my favorite room in the house:
The Chinese parlor. This room was created around the wallpaper that Mr. DuPont found in Paris, although the paper had been hand painted in China. He brought the paper back to this house in the Brandywine Valley and had his architect create the room, size, height, and coved ceiling around the exact size available from the purchased paper. The rest of the room is filled with fine early American antiques and slipcovered furniture. You can see better pictures of this room, and read more history from the links above.
We got home last night, late, and fell into bed. Today started like any other day before we snuck away. Full of things to do, and people to see! If only we could afford to live like tourists 365-days a year!


  1. Artie ... Thank you so much for sharing these truly amazing photos with us! And may I just add, you look quite spectacular!

  2. Hi Artie!!! I loved the tour! I will add that to my list of things to do! Your pictures are beautiful-you definitely have another talent there!! Leslie

  3. Wow. I am exhausted just reading about all the things you did on your trip. You two have boundless energy. I love Longwood Gardens and Winterthur, but I have never been to Terrain. The shop has great style -- why not? Just like Anthropologie. Thanks for letting me be a voyeur on your beautifully photographed trip.

  4. It looks like you had a great time. Happy to see you were able to make it to Baltimore :-) I discovered the Ladew Gardens recently. They are lovely!

  5. Natural photographs are looks more spanking . Like your all photos .