Reporting Jay Lloyd
When weather turns mild, Americans turn to the road – a drive in the country. Around here Amish country is a magnet. Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, cured meats, buggy rides and nurseries. The back country setting off route 23 is the kind of vista that suggests a really green thumb is at work. The interiors at Black Creek Nurseries are so expansive that they fade into a distant horizon and are filled with every variation of plant and shrub known to local gardeners – and then some. Garden accessories, tools, furniture and advice are as abundant as the plant life. Black Creek is a destination stop for Philadelphia area garden clubs and can consume hours of browsing.
On a Sunday drive through pristine Bucks County to vineyards and Washington’s Crossing, the Pineville Tavern is a welcome stop since the mid-18th century. You might find jars of pickled pig’s feet behind a well worn bar with a glowing fireplace to cut a chill. But as warmer days approach, the focus is on a reconfigured patio. Look for it opening as the first days of early spring lure day travelers to a relaxing lunch with and Italian tilt that includes half-portions of pasta dishes for lighter eaters. Believe me, you still may take away enough for dinner.
Take an early Spring voyage on the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. Half-hour after casting off, you see a vista of large tankers and cargo ships, fishermen and sailing yachts. The town of Lewes, Delaware, a 5 minute shuttle or cab ride from the ferry terminal is a walkable smorgasbord of history, eateries, bars and shops. The round-trip adult ferry fare from Cape May to Lewes is $14 with discounts for kids and seniors. This season, there’s shuttle bus service from the terminal into Lewes, Thursday through Sunday. Cabs are always available by calling just before you dock. Better still, there’s no charge to take a bike. If you drive to the ferry terminal in Cape May, parking is free. The voyage is about 1-1/2 hours each way.
Orchids and rare Blue Poppies are at the center of the visual feast at Longwood Gardens through the end of March. But strolling the grounds and greenhouses with the approach of Spring opens a window on a topiary backdrop or tropical forest. It’s a sensory journey crowded with the aroma of plants and flowers combined with the texture of ferns and bark. Adult general admission tickets are $23 with a variety of discounts and special event fees. All the prices are here: tickets.longwoodgardens.org
There’s nothing that shouts, “SPRING” like the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year it opens on March 11th and runs through the 19th. The theme this year is “Holland”. So expect tulips, uniquely crafted canal scenes, windmills and wooden shoes. I lived and Broadcast from Holland for a year in the late fifties and the most popular tune across the country at the time was, “Tulpen Uit Amsterdam”, Tulips from Amsterdam”. That gives you an idea of how much the Dutch love their flowers. Show tickets this year are $35 at the Convention Center Box Office or $28 if you buy on line. Discounts are available for students and kids.
Time to break out the shorts.