I recently visited Longwood Gardens to explore on my own some of the newly-renovated areas I was too busy to see while volunteering.
As part of my rounds, I stopped in to visit the staff member who is in charge of the volunteers (more accurately, she works for us). She was on vacation, but her assistant, Jennifer, who I had never met, was there, and I talked with her.
I thought how much this was a typical visit to Longwood. You go with a specific goal in mind, something you plan to see, but when you get there, you find your timing is off. What you are looking for has not yet bloomed, or it bloomed last week, or you got your dates mixed up, or it started to rain, or she’s on vacation. But you saw something else instead, and came home having seen something new, having learned something new, and now you feel it all turned out for the best.
Just like meeting Jennifer. (I have never returned from Longwood Gardens feeling I wasted my time.) Visiting Longwood is about discovery, and, if you stick with it, it always works. Your only expectation should be that you will see something new, something you will remember in the days ahead.
(Another discovery: The Chimes Tower area is now more obviously accessible from the Main Conservatory by simply cutting through the new fountain area, as you can now clearly see from the conservatory balcony. Along the way, you can stop off at the Pump Museum and Grotto. Time it right and get up close and personal with the fountain display. A surprise for many visitors is that the waterfall by the Chimes Tower is not natural and is turned off for the winter—along with the fountains. The water has to be pumped to the top.
But don’t fret if they are turned off—you’ll see something else just as good. In our area, October 15 is considered the last safe frost-free day.)