I remember back in the 1980's that we would drive up to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania to drive through and see the Christmas lights. It was free of charge and cars would line up on Baltimore Pike and slowly crawl through a loop and see the decorated trees.
How times have changed. Now November 27 through January 8, you won't see much from the highway, and you might even have to park on the other side of the highway and take a bus to the visitors' center at Longwood. Not only that, but you may see an electronic sign informing you that no tickets are available for that night. If you are not a member, you have to get timed tickets which attempt to spread out the thousands of people arriving daily.
(Wreath in center is kalanchoe and spleenwort ferns)
I am fortunate enough to have friends who work at Longwood and their guest passes have no such restrictions, so they strolled through the decked out conservatory the other afternoon with me. After dark, we did a loop around the grounds and between it all, I ended up walking almost 3 miles. It wasn't extra cold, so we didn't need the fire pits they had set up, but some people were enjoyng them, and many parents with tiny tots all bundled up in strollers wheeled around the grounds along with elderly and disabled in electric carts.
The loveliest sight to me is always the enchanting "floating" trees on the pond and in the Italian water gardens. Their reflections magnified the lights on the tree-shaped forms which resembled dancers with their skirts flared out and touching the water. Magnificent!
Presented by Carolyn Roland, Your Older and Historic Homes Resource in Delaware and Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania.