Cee Neuner posts a Flower of the Day Challenge. I have enough flower pictures in my archives to post every day for about three years, but I’ve never posted every day for an extended period of time, and seldom more than once a day. Since I have other projects in the works, I’m in a quandary.
Hi, I’m Marsha. In September my travel plans included beautiful, forested Delaware. If you want an easy walk that families can enjoy because ANYONE can do it, come to Winterthur Gardens in DE. Here I am resting on the edge of my seat at the edge of the Enchanted Woods at Winterthur Gardens near Hockessin, DE.
More than one of the du Pont boys who owned DuPont Chemical Company, where my mother’s cousin Hal worked, loved gardens. We were so glad he did as we meandered the broad path around the gardens for about three hours. Yes, we were lost at times. This map did not help. 🙂
“Winterthur’s 1,000 acres encompass rolling hills, streams, meadows, and forests. Founder Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) developed an appreciation of nature as a boy who served as the basis for his life’s work in the garden.”
Off the edge of the pathway at a middle point in the 1,000 acres of Winterthur was an Enchanted Woods.
Be Brave! Travel On!
We crossed the troll bridge into the Enchanted Woods. First, let me introduce you to Hal. As some of you already know he’s 91. In his day he engineered hard plastics in car engines. Although now he is at the losing edge of blindness, he walked three hours guiding me through the gardens at Winterthur. (The blind leading the blind at times)
As we entered the Woods Hal could not resist the first hands-on activity for us kids.
I felt like a kid here. At one edge was a fairy ring. Hal told me not to get too close. But, Hal is blind. What does he know, right? Who can resist advice like that?
I was clearly standing on the edge. What would you do with a sign like that? You can’t read it either, can you? hahaha
Soon I was covered in a mist that spread through the gardens. Everyone passing by knew I had disobeyed the sign. I hoped these were good fairies.
Here are a few more pictures of the fairy ring. These giant concrete mushrooms trapped several gleeful young children. We could hear laughter and see mist filtering through the trees as we walked around.
Lucky for me I run fast! 🙂 That’s it for now.
Blogging Tip: To Build Community Use Photo Challenges to Share Your Travels Posts
When you visit family, what do you do? Sit in the living room and talk, watch TV? STOP THAT!
Be an expert traveler instead.
Six Tips to Become an Expert Traveler AND Make YOUR Trips More Fun! 🙂
Tip #1. Visit at least one tourist attraction per visit.
I love to walk. My mother’s cousin, Hal, age 91, is an expert traveler. He is also an expert host. When I visited him in September we walked for two hours through Winterthur, a beautiful garden in DE. While walking we met a retired couple who walked there often.
“We walk here and at Longwood Gardens,” they told us.
Hal thought I had been to Longwood Gardens before. But since I hadn’t, the next day we drove 15 miles to Kennett Square, PA to see the iconic Longwood Gardens.
Tip #2 After touring every kind of tourist attraction and museum in the United States and Europe, the best advice I can give you about touring like an expert is never to think you are an expert. Tobe the expert traveler, listen and learn as you go. Let your family, friend or guide be the expert on the places you visit.
I love to go in green and come out with more knowledge than when I went in. That way you can be flexible. Go where your host or hostess takes you! You won’t always know where you are going. When you blog about it after the trip, here are four bonus tips.
Bonus Expert Traveler Blogging Tips
You can make comparisons between that attraction and another you have seen.
Share your guesses about what you saw, then check your facts either online or in books you buy.
If you load up on facts beforehand, you will probably forget them. Worse you might get into a “who’s right” argument with your host. Take it from me who’s “Always Write,” that’s not cool!
If you know taking company somewhere, you SHOULD check your facts first. but you’ll probably forget them because you don’t need to know them yet.
Tip # 3 The exception to that is if your friend says, “Read this book before you come.” DO IT. You may appreciate what you see more. If you are traveling with friends, you all become expert travelers.
That being said, you are going to become an expert about Longwood Gardens. Or you can remember a time you went to Longwood Gardens.
The Outdoor Gardens at Longwood Gardens.
We arrived at about 11:30 am, and unlike Winterthur, there were no shady areas to walk. The September sun warmedbroiled boiled us and water features added humidity to the air.
Pierre du Pont, an expert traveler around the world, enjoyed water features. He especially loved Italy. We came across a lake across from the Italian Water Gardens.
Unless you happen to be a frog, you would not want to jump in and swim in this lake.
Does anyone want an algae kiss? Ribbit, Ribbit.
I stood inside the lakeside gazebo to photograph Hal looking at the lake.
What impressed me most about this gazebo was the ceiling’s intricate pattern. Pierre du Pont designed his own gardens. He incorporated much of what he learned on his travels to Italy.
With thousands of plants on thousands of acres, Longwood Gardens is a photographer’s paradise. I couldn’t click fast enough. We did not let much grass grow under our feet. But some grasses grew high over our heads.
The display of flowers on the grounds outside reminded me of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. Stonework abounds here in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Unlike its Victorian counterpart, Longwood Garden is not built into the rock quarry.
Almost 100 Years Ago
Imagine back to the roaring 1920s. Hal was just born. Imagine what technology was like. Car travel was still new. Freeways were still thirty years away. Yet, in 1925-27 Du Pont created the Italian Water Gardens with the most elaborate water show in the world. The Gardens reminded me of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Overlooking the Italian Water Gardens is a Canopy Cathedral. What attracted me were the windows. It was not as grand inside as the windows led me to believe, but it was worth the short climb to go inside to look out over the meadow.
Much of the wood for this structure came from reclaimed wood. I love that the millionaire, DuPont, was more than an expert traveler. He concerned himself with ecology and conservation of the community where he lived.
The floors of this Canopy Cathedral came from a toothpaste factory in Toronto, Canada. That left a sweet taste in my mouth! The windowpane treehouse overlooked the meadow and Italian Water Gardens.
Exploring improves the expert traveler’s experience. Not many people were at the gardens outside in this area. I walked the stairs alone. I felt like a kid going into an abandoned treehouse. It was ripe for imagining a different time.
Be an Expert Traveler When You Come Home, Too.
My parents and their friends used to entertain each other with their travel (or kid) slide shows. From my perspective as a six or seven-year-old, none of them were exciting storytellers. We sat on the living room floor in a darkened room as they droned on about their trips.
Tip #4 Break your tour photos into groups. Entertain readers a bit at a time. Remember home movie days, and be kind! 🙂
Tip #5 Describe how you felt about what you saw, not just what you saw.
Today we all have the opportunity to be travel experts and create our own magazine articles. We are publishers on our own blogging channel.
Just like three MILLION other bloggers! If you want more viewers and readers, here’s one last tip.
Tip #6 Photo Challenges offer bloggers a community to share photos and become friends. Include them when you can. I love Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge for showing off gardens and trail tours.
Being an expert traveler starts before you leave home. It ends when you share your memories as you go through life. Today we have lots of ways to share. Expert travelers enjoy the journey and make it appealing to others around them.
Did this tour today of the Longwood Gardens bring back memories or inspire you to visit?
Sharing is caring.
I see those little words everywhere. But it does feel good when readers interact. Do you have a garden suggestion for me? Leave me a link in the comment section. Press a button to share these expert travel tips with others. (Especially long-winded, know-it-all friends!) Like me, an expert traveler! 🙂
It was morning; through the high window I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky as it hovered cheerfully over the long roofs of the neighboring houses. It too seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans, and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion. Herman Hesse
On this September day the sky, though blue, filtered through the trees until it became transparent, blending into the enchantment of the forest in the Winterthur Gardens.
I looked for the pictures I remembered taking on that magical day as I strolled with Hal, but they weren’t there. Have you ever had that happen?
You know, you just know, that picture is somewhere, but it’s not.
I am persistent. I found the picture of the medieval English-style roof I wanted to share with you. But it’s a video! Woe is me!
This quick post turned into a two-hour ordeal. I shortened the video (a new skill). Next, I added some beautiful bird sounds chirping after the rain cleared the air that I downloaded for free. Google helped me learn how to erase my own boring intriguing narration which I had already chopped to bits when I cropped the video. Finally, I uploaded it to YouTube.
If you are wondering about the woven branches, I’m not standing on a twig roof shooting this video. Hal and I are standing opposite the enchanted cottage in a gigantic roofless bird’s nest replete with three wooden eggs the shape of king-sized watermelons.
The little box on my YouTube channel tells me that I now have 56 videos. Guess how many followers I have of my YouTube channel?
Back to the thatched roof
Once I finished the video, I learned about thatched roofs. I looked for roof shapes so I could be more precise. After I searched through all the common roof shapes, thatched and cottage finally paired.
Thatched roofs are odd-shaped. Duh! No wonder they are so quaint.
Although they once denoted poverty, the wealthy put thatched roofs on their homes to be more eco-friendly. Did you know that thatched roofs can last up to 50 years? The English used thatched roofs from available resources such as dried vegetation like straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, or heather. Experts contend that thatched roofs do not burn as easily as some roofing materials.
Maybe it’s thatched, and maybe it’s not
This simple Woodlake home looks elegant with a cottage-style roof.
Everything in Delaware winds. Driving from the airport in Philadelphia, I turned off the freeway onto a state road and headed towards Hockessin, DE. It felt like I had entered a land of make-believe.
Even state highways were paths through a deep, mysterious forest. And water showed up at almost every bend.
The day after I arrived, mom’s cousin Hal suggested a drive to the historic district of Wilmington. He knows I love historic buildings and babbling streams. This spot along the Brandywine was the perfect stop.
You can never say corner in Delaware, it seems. Points are obliterated in curves, drown in the gurgling streams. How could this pastoral scene be part of the 9-11 Battle in 1777?
Mr. Dylan Duck stands on his rocky lookout over the Brandywine surveying his family activities. Donovan and Dana Duck discovered something fishy in the Brandywine.
The twenty-mile lower stem of Brandywine Creek winds lazily around the historic district of Wilmington, DE. Maybe Dylan’s ancestors watched for Redcoats.
Possibly Dylan’s ancestral family watched Peter Minuit who founded New Sweden in 1638 along the Delaware River and inland to the Brandywine. He died in a hurricane on his return trip, but his colony remained. I can imagine the Swedes lounging with their feet dangling in the stream sipping a mug of home brew on a beautiful September day after harvesting crops all day.
Gossip Along the Brandywine in 1644
Overheard by Dylan Duck I
“This here is mighty fine wine, you’ve made, Peter.”
It’s not wine. It’s brandy, Beatus. Made from this gurgling stream right here. It’s the water that makes it tasty.”
Brandy? Wine? Whatever. It is delicious. ” Abram added.
“Sounds like a good name for this river to me, Brandywine,” Beatus said.
Don’t tell that old Swede, who built the grain mill, Andreas Brainwende. He thinks this stream is his, and we should call it the Brainwend River after him,” Peter said.
Brainwend, Brandywine, his hearing’s so bad, he won’t know the difference.
“You got the water in just the right place, didn’t you, Peter?” Abram said.
Yeah, a couple miles from here the creek pours into the Christina River,” Peter told them. “Ah the beautiful Christina, named after our queen. She’s a spoiler.”
“Yeah, she looks sweet, but looks are deceiving, so I hear.”
“Shhh, you two! Someone might be overhear you. You don’t want to mess with our governor!”
“I’m talking about that brakish water two miles yonder at the confluence of the two rivers. Christina’s waters would make a brandy that even you wouldn’t drink, Abram,” Beatus said
“You don’t think much of my tasting skills, Beatus?”
“Not so much.”
“OK, fellows, better finish it up here before you get us in trouble. The wives will wonder where we are.”
Hey, Marsha,” Hal called interrupting my reverie. “Haven’t you seen ducks before? What are you doing?”
What looks like placid waters now, once powered grist and gunpowder mills. Mills fueled the industrial era before the onset of steam-powered machinery. The DuPonts made their fortunes here. Ah, this was the place to learn history.
Ah, this was the place to learn history.
I could see that it was no wonder why many nineteenth century builders used stone to construct Wilmington buildings along the Brandywine. Mmmm, I wanted to put my toes in the cool water and feed the ducks, sip some wine and…
“Marsha,” Hal called again. “What is so interesting down there? Come up here. I want to show you something about this old post office building.
How do you ignore a 91-year-old retired engineer who was tired of Dylan and Donovan, the dark-feathered ducks, and wanted me to move on to something more mathematical? More than likely he wanted to go home and eat, my stomach reminded me that it was getting late.
“Did you notice the way the sun is casting a shadow on this stairway of Breck’s Mill?”
Hal scores again – something I would not have noticed without him.
The shadows had crept up on me as time swirled dreamily down the stream. But the sun was dipping in the sky. Strawberry-rhubarb pie in the fridge was beckoning us to come back to the 21st century and go home for dinner.
What wonderful, lazy afternoons do you remember sitting by a gentle stream, or lovely lake, waterfall, or even a water fountain?