A Longwood and Craft Beer Road Trip
When the sun is shining and you have just purchased the prettiest white summer dress, how can you not head for the fields and the farms spending a couple of hours outdoors? That's what I did on an August Saturday when I put on a brand new dress from jane, a consignment store in Princeton, NJ, and headed to the wild suburbs of Philadelphia (the Brandywine River valley). My boyfriend and I planned on a fun day exploring the area and being outside and I planned on a lot of pictures in my new dress.
In continuing our search for delicious beer in the state of Pennsylvania, Nick and I headed over to Downingtown to Victory Brewing Company's headquarters. We were sad to learn that they no longer give tours of the brewery but were excited by the really awesome restaurant they had built around their brewery. Victory produces about 24 beers (or maybe more than that but I think there were about 24 available when we were there) and you can sample all of them. We chose to share a flight of five beers, mostly light ones because I am not a beer drinker in the traditional sense. I don't think you will ever see me drink a Guinness unless I am in Ireland and I will try any fruity beer you put in front of me. I have to say Victory's Festbier was my favorite of the ones we tried and it was delicious with my portabello jerk grinder, though the grinder had too much chipotle mayo for this mild girl.
From there we hopped back in the car, twisted and turned down some winding roads all the way to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. This 1,050 acre property encompasses several different gardens, a conservatory, treehouses and former home of the Pierce and duPont families. It is huge! There was so much to explore and we wandered from garden to garden just exploring the different types of greenery that were tamed into these amazing tableaus. My favorite part by far was the lilies and the Conservatory. I remember these things from my childhood when my grandmother used to take me to Longwood on short trips from where she lived in Wilmington, DE. It's such a beautiful old building and I love having such an abundance of plants inside. The lilies' ginormous pads looked like boats I could sail away on.
Now are you ready for the fashion? I cannot begin to tell you how much I love the dress I wore for this fabulous adventure. I knew I was going to adore it the moment I plucked it off the rack in the store. The pure white cotton mixed with rough lace, the dramatic bell sleeves, the cut of the neckline and the sexy strip of lace just below the bust sold me at "Bonjour ma cherie!" I am so into the rustic look right now, if that's what you call it, the sweetness and sexiness of down home, farm fresh fashion. Think peasant blouses and gingham prints if you're not catching my drift. The dress is secondhand Kors by Michael Kors and a steal for $30. I paired it simply with a pair of Urban Outfitters braided flip flops and even threw on my new Terrain earrings.
Now I am not normally a fan of wearing long sleeves in the summer. I like being free and easy and the east coast humidity always makes sleeves feel like an impossible thing to bear. I'm not going to say that I was cool as a cucumber as we wandered through the gardens but it wasn't terrible and they are just so dramatically wonderful I can't hate them one bit.
I am love exploring a big city and all the crazy things you can do there at any time of the day but it was so relaxing and fun to explore the countryside. The flowers and the sun, the wind through the open car windows and the haziness of the Longwood Gardens meadow in the afternoon sun made me feel like I was almost in a Jane Austen novel. Except for the many sneakered tourists.