New Year's Eve at Longwood Gardens a musical high note

Bil Bowden

So, the endless Christmas carols blaring since mid-October finally got to you? One more version of Jingle Bells would send you over the edge of a mental cliff?

You aren't alone, and articles are popping up all over about the saccharine-laced classics, and how they lead us to sanity's end.

With this in mind, Longwood Gardens and its new year's eve celebration is a way to ease our souls of Christmas music-- for a while, anyway. It's an annual event and improves every year. We wander up and down the paths, along the lake, explore the tree houses and watch and listen to the fountains and the music that accompanies the water show. There was no schedule, nothing to rush into.


It was an exquisite afternoon/evening, with everything done right. At Longwood Gardens, no corners are cut, nothing done in a hurried style or second-rate. Its sterling global reputation is well-deserved. While New Year's Eve has passed, events continue throughout the winter in its 4.5-acre conservatory, including its Orchid Extravaganza beginning January 21.

Longwood Gardens is about 65 miles from York in Kennett Square, Pa.  Take U.S. route 30 east to Gap, Pa., state route 41 south to U.S. route 1 north to the gardens.

On New Year's Eve, thousands of people strolled down the paths, gazing at lights that decorate the property until January 8.

At spots throughout the gardens, small groups played music, mostly non-Christmas songs. The organist played show tunes and standards, a brass quartet belted out some recent favorites. The steel drum band entertained visitors at the conservatory entrance and hurried to Philadelphia when their night was done to be part of the Mummers Parade. At The Terrace restaurant, a string trio played a few Christmas songs, just to ease the holiday withdrawal.