Trees are an intrinsic part of the Brandywine Valley landscape. Even the name Pennsylvania, translated as “Penn’s Woods,” speaks to this heritage. In fact. So many gardens, arboretums and botanical treasures populate the greater Philadelphia region, that is has earned the moniker, “America’s Garden Capital.” Woodworking, as an art form, has been cultivated in this milieu from the renowned “Dean of American Craftsman” to local modern-day artisans. Take a weekend and go into the woods of Chester County.
Discover the woodland adventure at horticultural wonder, Longwood Gardens. Longwood’s legacy is closely linked to forestry. The Peirce family purchased the land, that today encompasses Longwood, in 1700 from William Penn. By 1850, the site was known for having one of the finest collections of trees in the nation. In 1906, Pierre du Pont purchased the property in order to save the trees. A quote from Mr. du Pont reflects his fierce dedication to the landscape, “The preservation and care of trees is considered of first importance, as their injury is irreparable, while time or money (or both) will rectify most other mistakes.” This philosophy exists today throughout the gardens in preservation, celebration and sustainability. Discover the three remarkable treehouse structures within the garden. All were created by talented woodworkers using salvaged materials; they offer a unique bird’s eye view of Longwood’s historic woodlands.
Wharton Esherick Museum
Spend the morning at Wharton Esherick Museum. Esherick, known as the “dean of American Craftsman,” was a sculptor, who worked primarily in wood, molding furniture, interiors & buildings. His work can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among other places. Esherick’s hilltop studio/residence, in Paoli, Pennsylvania, remains one of his most creative endeavors. He was originally attracted to the site in 1913 by an unusually large wild cherry tree, shading an old farmhouse that would eventually become his family’s home. When the tree died, he sawed its branches to make paneling in the studio’s dining room. In 1972, the Studio became the Wharton Esherick Museum and is now a National Historic Landmark for Architecture. More than 200 pieces of Esherick’s work are on display; it is open to the public for guided tours by appointment.Learn More
Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens
Enjoy lunch and shopping at Terrain at Devon.
After lunch explore Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens - one of Pennsylvania’s major horticultural and environmental assets. It preserves and nurtures 46 acres of natural environment; showcasing native trees, shrubs, rhododendrons, azaleas, laurels, ferns, and wildflowers. Stroll paved walkways through native woodland, comprehensive plant and tree labels with self-guided map tours.
Canoe & Dine
Paddle down the tree-lined river: book a canoe ride along the Brandywine. For a special treat plan a Twilight Dinner Trip at Northbrook Canoe Co. Float down the beautiful Brandywine River to a magical campsite for a delicious dinner, live music, and s'mores by the fire.
Take a drive through the many covered bridges throughout the Brandywine Valley. The network of over a dozen of these historic wooden structures reaches throughout the gorgeous landscape - enjoy the journey!
Acclaimed woodworkers today call Chester County home - check out some below:
Sycamore and Stone Barn in Chester Springs is craftsman Jeff Devlin’s showcase and shop. Jeff is also host of Stone House Revival on the DIY Network, featuring renovations of homes – many within Chester County. Sycamore and Stone Farm is a retail location, home of SchoolHouse Woodworking, and a lovely Air BNB. Shop, Build and Stay!
Artifaqt on Main Street in Phoenixville has been a life-long labor of love for artist John Luttman and more recently for his two sons. Explore and shop at the Artifaqt studio and throughout the historic town of Phoenixville. Stop in Diving Cat Studio for more artistic treasures.
We hope you enjoy your trek into the woods and that special magic that only Chester County’s nature can provide.
For more upcoming events and things to do visit our Event Calendar HERE