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MAY-JUN 2017

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Page 26 of 51 27 M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 of knights and pirates to his grandson Jamie's critically ac- claimed realist portraits. From June to September, the muse- um will feature a special Andrew Wyeth exhibit to honor the 100th anniversary of his birth with over 100 of his paintings in chronological order. After browsing the exhibits, groups can enjoy a sweeping view of the Brandywine River from the Millstone Café, which offers lo- cally sourced soups, salads and sandwiches from resident chef MacGregor Mann. Longwood Gardens provides a serene natural escape from the bustle of nearby cities. In 1906, prominent businessman Pierre S. du Pont purchased a historic arboretum in Kennett Square to prevent its destruction by a lumber mill. Over the next 40 years, he transformed the property into one of the most exquisite horticultural display gardens in the country, encom- passing over 1,000 acres of flow- erbeds, topiaries, fountains and meadow footpaths. Each year between January and March, Longwood Gardens hosts an Orchid Extravaganza within its Conservatory, exhib- iting nearly 4,500 colorful or- chids. "It's a beautiful winter expe- rience to come inside and see it," said Nina Kelly, director of mar- keting and communications at Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau. is spring, Longwood Gardens will reopen the Main Fountain Garden after a two- year, $90 million revitalization project, celebrating with a series of firework and fountain shows called Summer of Spectacle. Across from the historic Strasburg Railroad, the Rail- road Museum of Pennsylvania takes groups back to a time when trains fueled the life- blood of society, with some of the oldest freight cars and locomotives in the country on display. "A lot of our pieces are the only ones still in existence to- day," said Troy Grubb, one of the staff educators at the mu- seum. As visitors wander around the towering machines, they can view intricate engine me- chanics up close, step inside a storage car and walk below a 62-ton locomotive supported on rails. One of the most beloved at- tractions in the region is the palatial Sight and Sound e- atre, which has captivated au- diences for more than 40 years with its immersive, biblical- themed productions. "People may be familiar with the story, but we want to bring it to life," said Katie Mill- er, corporate communications manager at the theater. is year's production of "Jo- nah" includes features such as bubbles in the air, jellyfish float- ing down from the ceiling, a life- size whale flying over the audi- ence and a 20,000-pound ship. Another popular stop for groups is the Tanger Outlet shopping center, which will open 25 new stores on Labor Day weekend following an ex- tensive expansion. "Out of Tanger Outlet's 44 locations, Lancaster is the No. 1 motorcoach destination," said Monica Trego, general manager at the outlet. Bus drivers and escorts re- ceive $10 gift certificates when they preregister for a visit, and group members can take ad- vantage of customized coupon booklets with coupons to neigh- boring restaurants and hotels. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Longwood Gardens BRANDYWINE VALLEY: SCENIC AND SERENE Winding through the wood- ed hills of Chester County, Brandywine Valley is replete with scenery, culture and his- tory, most notably the site of the American Revolution's Bat- tle of Brandywine. Visitors will find no shortage of delicious menu items in Kennett Square, also known as the Mushroom Capital of the World, with op- tions like cool, creamy desserts from La Michoacana Ice Cream or mouthwatering roasted arti- chokes from La Verona. e region is also known for its thriving art scene. In a renovated 19th-century mill, the Brandywine River Mu- seum commemorates the tal- ented Wyeth family, from N.C. Wyeth's colorful illustrations A statue at Longwood Gardens A Longwood Gardens greenhouse

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