Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing posts from the Kennett Square area as part of Travel Guide PA. It’s a popular destination for tourists in December because of Longwood Gardens being all decked out for the holidays. I was there in August, and am in the process of transferring reviews from my personal blog to this site. Below is a brief, simple but effective itinerary we used. I actually came up with it myself. Not mind-blowing by any means, but it gets the job done. We were told a one night’s stay was enough, but we tried two anyway. It ended up being fine. Just right. I wouldn’t recommend staying longer than that unless you want to take day-trips stemming from Kennett Square. The hotel we stayed at was the Hilton Garden Inn, and from what I have researched, they seem to have decent prices all year considering they’re one of the only shows in town.
Day 1 (Arrival)
Lunch at Kildare’s Public House
Dinner at Half Moon Restaurant and Saloon
Break for Lunch/Dinner
Town of Kennett Square and The Mushroom Cap
Nighttime Return to Longwood
Day 3 (Departure)
Being that the QVC Studio is only a half hour away from Kennett Square, you have the perfect opportunity to check it out on your way in. But is the tour worth it? I’ll put it this way: if you love QVC, you’ll love the tour. If you’re indifferent, then you’ll probably find it to be just okay. I thought it was a good way to kill an hour, while he absolutely loved it. There are different kinds you can take, but the basic one was about an hour long for $10. You get to see behind the scenes, what the individual studios look like from above, and learn the history. It was cool seeing the sets, lighting, and control room, and even learn what goes into the production. Our tour guide was friendly and super knowledgeable, though she did make it a point to say multiple times how she gives the “same tour over and over again” day after day. After you’re done with that, it’s a quick drive into the main part of West Chester where you can get lunch at Kildare’s, an Irish pub with an awesome whiskey selection. There are also other restaurants in town, including a brewery.
Now it’s time to head to Kennett Square. If you’re a history buff, stop at the Brandywine Battlefield from the Revolutionary War. You can book a guided tour of Washington’s headquarters or just walk around outside on your own. It was hot, so we did not stay long. It’s beautiful scenery, though we could not find exactly where most of the fighting occurred. The visitor center contains a small gift shop and video. If you’ve been to Gettysburg, it’s a far cry from that. Not into history? Then try the Chadds Ford Winery nearby which also offers tours and tastings (we didn’t go there). For dinner, there’s the Half Moon Saloon. We actually ate there for lunch on day two, but I’d recommend it for dinner.
On the second day, you have to try Longwood Gardens, which is the reason for most of the town’s tourism. Whether you’re into gardens or not, it is worth visiting. You could spend the day there. Your pass is good for an entire day too, so make sure to get a bracelet that way you can leave for lunch and come back later on. There is a fine dining establishment on premises (very expensive) and a cafeteria with moderately priced fare. We didn’t eat there. It’s worth leaving and checking out other dining establishments in town. We were there in summer, so that meant the beer garden was open. As you’ll see, they had the best damn pretzel I ever had in my life along with local brews. There was also “Nightscape”, which ended in the fall, but they may have some late-night events for Christmas.
In the actual town of Kennett Square, there isn’t much. Many restaurants and a place called “The Mushroom Cap”. It’s a store and museum devoted entirely to mushroom. The town itself is the “Mushroom Capital of the World”. Not sure you can get a whole afternoon out of the town, though.
For your last day, on the way home, stop at the Pennsbury-Chadds Ford Antique Mall and the Brandywine River Antique Market. Both had beautiful selections, the latter of which was actually housed in a pretty amazing historic building. You could easily spend hours in both places. The rooms went on forever and ever. So if you’re in a rush to go home, just pencil it in for day two in between visits to Longwood.
Be sure to check out my restaurant reviews in the next few days as they are posted. In the meantime, whatever you do, do not eat at the Longwood Family Restaurant (no affiliation to the Gardens). You’ll see why in a couple of days.