The 8th Annual Harvest Festival will showcase the 2010 vintage grapen goodness of eight distinct wineries along the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail. With barbecues, hayrides, and free license to use words such as oaky, robust, and foozy, the festival is bound to please cork-poppers of all philosophies. Tickle ear hammers with live music on the 26th and 3rd at Black Walnut Winery or at Chaddsford Winery, which is also hosting a festival wine sale. The Kreutz Creek Vineyards are having their second-annual Grape Stomping Competition on the 25th and 2nd, and Stargazers Vineyard is holding a blending workshop (additional $5 fee).
Though Longwood Gardens owes its current incarnation to the tireless efforts of industrialist, philanthropist, and conservationist Pierre du Pont, the property’s history stretches back to precolonial days. The Peirce family purchased the land from William Penn himself in 1700, and by the end of the century the Quakers had already begun developing an arboretum on the premises. In the century that followed, the homestead was purchased by an ambitious 36-year-old du Pont in 1906. Throughout the next 30 years, the man who made General Motors built another legacy, this one rife with extravagant European-style fountains, a picturesque 600-foot garden walk, and 40 indoor and outdoor gardens. Today, visitors experience a bit of du Pont’s passion for the tropical flora of the Americas during jaunts through the property’s 1,077 colorful acres, where they run into everything from flowering trees and delicate hybrids to carnivorous pitcher plants. In addition to cultivating lush flora, the garden’s stewards also encourage growing minds with an ever-changing roster of events, such as internationally acclaimed musical acts and immersive educational experiences.
The menu at Johnnie’s Dog House reads like a map of the United States. The Chicago-style dog comes crowned in yellow mustard relish, onion, tomatoes, peppers and pickles; meanwhile, the Texas Tommy’s hot dog is wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and topped in cheese. Baked beans and chopped onions sit atop the Boston Beanie Weenie, and the eatery’s corn dog evokes state fairs nationwide without coming with a prize-winning pig to take home as a pet. The culinary team crafts hot dogs from fresh ingredients, the same process they use to create their burgers and sandwiches, stuffed with combinations of pulled pork, crisp vegetables, fish, and other delicacies.
From the strains of live blues resonating through its walls to the spicy kick of its habañero Voodoo shrimp, Blue Parrot Bar & Grille recreates the freewheeling, vivacious vibe of a New Orleans nightclub. Guests sip colorful mojitos and hurricanes as they dig into Creole and Cajun specialties, including étouffée, red beans and rice, gumbo, and jambalaya. Live bands primarily capture the gazes of diners, although the restaurant’s decor is interesting on its own. Murals, carnival masks, and posters evoke lively Bourbon Street scenes and Mardi Gras celebrations; outside, a brick patio surrounds guests with fountains, canna plants, and a large mural of a French Quarter–style inn.
Ornate railings flank the steps to one of BlueBallRoom Dance Studio’s two spacious dance floors, whose hardwood-maple surfaces mask springy, joint-cushioning subfloors. The studio's team of talented teachers leads classes in a monthly rotation of social dances ranging from Argentine tango and various ballroom styles to intermediate touchdown dancing. Group classes encompass these styles as well as cardio-centric Zumba, famed for its easy-to-follow steps and driving Latin beats. Private-lesson subscribers, meanwhile, get closer attention and a chance to hone their footwork at regularly held free dance parties.
In 1989, Jim Kirkpatrick received a winemaking kit from his wife, Carole. At the time, neither Jim nor Carole knew it, but that kit churned out more than just wine–it also produced a dream. When Jim's homemade concoctions were a hit, the couple decided to try their hand at growing their own grapes, and soon moved to a home in Wrightsville surrounded by three acres of land.
Just 100 yards from Kreutz Creek, the Kirkpatrick's new location presented the ideal location to expand on Jim's newfound dream. Today, Kreutz Creek Vineyards generates an assortment of red, white, and seasonal varietals. Jim and Carole also use their tranquil grounds to host community events throughout the year, including bon fire and movie nights.