Travel Guide PA: Kennett Square Odds and Ends

Below are some food and drink-related odds and ends which did not make it into my restaurant reviews from this past trip to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Again, we went in August, so don’t be thrown off guard with mentions of how hot it was as I sit here posting this in 30 degree December weather.

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  • Longwood Gardens, as expected, was pretty great. Gardens aren’t really my thing, and walking around in the heat and humidity was a bit of a chore, but I enjoyed it. We ended up getting tickets to the Nightscape viewing too. They have about 10 different light shows coordinated with music set up around the park. They play on a loop every 10-15 minutes allowing you to see them all as you make your way around. I thought some of the effects were pretty weak, just because of how hard it is to project light and moving images onto a tree or shrub many yards away. There were some that were spectacular, though. The ones in the conservatory are a little smaller and in a controlled environment, and therefore more robust in color. I’m looking forward to checking out “Christmas at Longwood” in a couple weeks.
  • There also happened to be a bluegrass concert going on in the beer garden. We stopped in to try the grapefruit beer on tap. It was made by local Victory Brewing and very bitter, almost like an IPA (which I don’t like). I didn’t enjoy it, but where that fell short, an awesome pretzel picked it up. No kidding, it was the best damn pretzel I’ve ever had in my life. Soft and hot on the inside, crispy on the outside, and packed with plenty of salt. For $6, it was a long braid and came with warm beer cheese, garlic butter, and grain mustard.
  • We had planned to go to the highly recommended Two Stones Pub after Longwood since they are one of the few places open late (2 AM). We arrived at around 10:45 PM. We stood at the hostess stand for five minutes. No one showed up to seat us, so we took two menus and grabbed a seat at a table. The bar and tables are in one big room. It wasn’t busy, but there were a few people at the bar and a couple of tables taken. We then proceeded to sit there for a full 15 minutes and no one ever came to greet us or take our order. I know we kind of slipped in, but considering the bartender saw us and so did a waiter en route to and from bringing food to the table right behind us, no one seemed in any rush to serve us. So we got up and walked out. I can’t really bash the place since perhaps it was an off night and someone dropped the ball. Either that or it’s a hangout for local hipsters only (there was a long-bearded gentleman drinking beer out of a brandy snifter) and they didn’t need to be bothered with our money. I’d believe either one. Very disappointed because we wanted to try this place all day.
  • Leaving Two Stones at such a late hour meant the only show in town was an Applebee’s. Personally, out of the many bad chain restaurants out there, this is one of the worst. The food borders on microwaveable dreck. I mean, I think they really do use microwaves in their cooking, don’t they? But for $4 margaritas and half-priced apps after 9 PM, it’s not too bad.

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  • You know my hatred of hotel food but this is something tolerable. Staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, we grabbed a snack during happy hour. Yes, that massive thing above is a “snack”. The loaded fries, for $6, were topped with cheese, bacon bits, and ranch dressing. It was pretty good. Drink specials were $7, which isn’t bad for a selection including Knob Creek bourbon.
  • Lastly, being in the Mushroom Capital of the World led us to a stop at a mushroom-themed store, The Mushroom Cap, which also serves as the world’s only “Mushroom Museum”. It was a cute store, with a very friendly worker who offered restaurant suggestions. I ended up buying a plush mushroom (you could call it a “stuffed mushroom”) which the store named Gus…Fun-Gus. Get it?
  • Confession: although I like mushrooms, I didn’t eat a single one on this trip to the Mushroom Capital of the World.

I’ll be heading back to Kennett Square at the end of the month. Originally, Will and I had planned Williamsburg, Virginia, but we decided to stay a little closer to home. That and we really wanted to see Longwood decorated for Christmas. We’ll be there for New Year’s Eve, and might stick around to see the “Mushroom Drop”, where the townspeople drop a gigantic lighted mushroom at midnight. You can expect more blog posts from me there in a few weeks.

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