I hope you all enjoyed the Travel Guide posts for Maryland and Delaware. I’m home now, but over the next few days I’ll be writing about Kennett Square (again) as we stopped there after leaving Ocean City.
On this past trip, I broke one of my own cardinal rules. After mentioning it on this blog and even to other people, I stayed at Kennett Square for four nights. Before that, I thought two was the absolute max. That there wouldn’t be enough to do. As it happens, I was wrong. This extended stay gave us plenty to do. Below are some highlights:
- Knowing we would be there for five days and knowing we would want to see Longwood Gardens multiple times, I purchased a year-long pass for two people. This was $135. However, it’s a steal when you consider that single day passes during the Christmas season are $30 each. All we had to do was visit twice and it would be worth it. We ended up going four times (twice at night, twice during the day) and still probably did not see everything. My friend’s FitBit had us walking over 24 miles during this entire trip (which does not even include when we hit the hotel gyms). So it kept us active and saved a boat-load of money. The displays were beautiful. There was a log-jam of people one night, but that is to be expected. Stations were set up with fire pits and stands selling hot chocolate. It was an enjoyable experience and I would like to return next year.
- On the second day, we took a day-trip to Lancaster, where I really feel like home. It was long overdue, and only a 40 minute drive. Breakfast was at our favorite, Dienner’s Country Restaurant, and then we headed over to another one of our favorites, the Cackleberry Antique Mall. Prices are not bad, and there are an innumerable amount of dealers. It’s a destination in itself. I usually walk out with a bar sign, and this time I ended up with two more for my collection: Boodles Gin and Pinwinnie Scotch. Such nice workers and a selection that anyone could find something they would like. Our excursion ended with compulsory visits to Dutch Haven, Kitchen Kettle Village (where we buy nothing as always and marvel at the exorbitant prices) and the Bird-in-Hand Farmer’s Market, which I absolutely love. And I am sad to report the massive, endless antique store across the street is out of business.
- There are also two wonderful antique shops in Chadds Ford, only a 5-10 minute drive down US 1 from Kennett Square. There’s the Pennsbury-Chadds Ford Antique Mall (which really is like a mall; he always finds something) and then the Brandywine River Antique Market. I have never purchased anything at the latter, but the building itself is an old house and barn that is really amazing just to walk through. Items in every nook and cranny. It’s like a hunt just trying to see it all.
- After a second visit to the Half Moon in Kennett Square, we hit up the following restaurants for the first time during the remainder of the trip: Lily Asian Cuisine, La Verona, Palm-a-Bagel, Plaza Azteca, and Hank’s Place (Chadds Ford). All were good.
- Ever been to the Brandywine River Art Museum? That gets a post to itself later this week as well.
- And of course, what would a stay at this place on New Year’s Eve be without sticking around to see the famous Mushroom Drop? Yes, the mushroom capital of the world rings in the new year with a 700 pound illuminated mushroom. I’ll say this: if you don’t appreciate small-town America, you could not appreciate this event. It was cute. It was amusing. It was also kind of boring. I don’t mean that in a way which trashes the town or the people; but it was sorely lacking. The street vendors hardly had anything appetizing, and there wasn’t enough entertainment or open shops to sustain multiple hours in the freezing cold. The “party” at the youth/garage center (which was more like a fundraiser) was bland. The poster said you pay a $10 cover charge and “food and drinks provided”. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything for free, but to pay $10 just to be allowed into a gigantic empty room only to pay $8 more for a Styrofoam cup of barely passable wine was just not good. He was not as upset because he was freezing and this allowed us to sit inside and be warm for as long as we wanted, but there was nothing to do in there besides play ping-pong or air hockey on a table that wasn’t plugged in. He was happy and I was no longer cold, so I chalked it up as a donation and say it is what it is. I did appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere of the whole event, though. There were no rowdy drunks or people acting stupid from what I could tell. That’s a blessing to us all. The drop itself was not accompanied by much fanfare, or even an audible countdown until people started screaming it when it hit about five seconds. By 12:01 we were out of there to beat the traffic. Was I glad we went? Absolutely, but it’s not something I need to do again.
- Lastly, I just want to give a shout-out to two incredibly kind people working at the “pop-up” art store/gallery. We chatted a while and they were very helpful recommending restaurants and things to do. If you’re reading this, do reach out and say hello. Happy New Year!