Unexpected Surprises

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on May 4th, 2011

After months of planning and doubling back to check and re-check each and every detail, the Woodson Art Museum Members’ Philadelphia and Brandywine Valley trip took place in mid-April. Happily, the trip went off without a hitch . . . although I likely should let participants attest to that assessment.

Some remarkable surprises throughout the trip make me smile even two weeks after our return, as I write this blog post:·      

  • Marketta! Our Philadelphia-based guide who possesses extraordinary knowledge of the region as well as an incomparable wit. From the moment we arrived until deposited back at the airport, Marketta chatted, lectured, joked, and laughed as she provided insight into everything we experienced.

  • Edible mushroom soil. Use your imagination (or check the photo here) to conjure a playful and delicious garden salad conceived and grown by the culinary team at Longwood Gardens’ 1906 Fine Dining Room. Unexpected and oh-so appropriate.

  • Magnolia trees in full bloom. While we’re still awaiting the arrival of spring in north central Wisconsin, we fortuitously timed our trip to coincide with an array of magnificently blooming magnolia trees. At Winterthur, in particular, the display was spectacular even as our guide “apologized” because the azaleas were not yet in bloom. Did we notice?
  • A midnight hotel fire alarm. Not something planned nor ignored. Thankfully, it was a false alarm. Our group did look quite fetching standing on the street corner in all manner of clothing and footwear.
  • Rittenhouse Square apartment hosts. Six degrees of separation is far too many when you consider the connections among our travelers and the couple with Minneapolis roots who hosted us for lunch in their elegant apartment.

  • French immersion. Our final full day began with a morning visit to the Barnes Foundation and its famed collection of French paintings. Dinner at Le Bec Fin was not only exceptional but also a display of exquisite and attentive service. A performance at the Kimmel Center by the French National Orchestra included Debussy’s La Mer, the perfect impressionist piece to cap off the day.
While I believe in diligent planning and attention to detail, serendipity so often results in unexpected delights!

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