But there are other traditions and mysteries connected with our lifetime of visits to the gardens.
Another tradition we always have when visiting Longwood is the decision not to tour the Pierce House, the actual residence on the property. There was always an extra fee to do this. We could see it was very unique, yet it was much too rarified for the likes of us. Certainly only the wealthy like Pierre Du Pont himself could afford the “extra fee.”
”That’s how they get you,” my mother would humph, storming past the house. I wasn’t quite sure who it was that wanted to “get” us and why it was so important to them that they suck an extra $8 from a middle class family from
While running to keep up, we could see over our shoulders the little conservatory between the two sections of the house. We wouldn’t dare let anyone catch us looking lest they question the degree to which we knew they were out to “get us.” But it sure did look interesting.
I don’t know when the policy changed. In the past several years I never bothered to even check. Now that my mother was no longer here to make her protestations known, wasn’t it my job to carry on the cause of not allowing them to “get us?” Compared to her, I was totally inadequate for the task, preferring to sneak by, peeking into the conservatory, assuring whoever I was with that it can’t possibly be worth the “extra fee.”
This is what I began to do this time when
So we sat in the conservatory.
Still, there are inaccessible areas of Longwood that we are determined to infiltrate.
“There’s nothing to see, really,” she assured us. “It’s mostly storage now.”
She looked at us incredulously. “But it’s not restored. It’s a mess.”
“Better,” DG said intensely. Too intensely. DG can be scary to the uninitiated. I wasn’t only surprised she didn’t let us see the bowling alley, I’m surprised she didn’t call security.
Then there is this.
This is in the topiary garden, which was inexplicably closed off. We want to know what it is and what it was. We want to go in there and just stand. We want to open that door and hear it close and look out the little window like we live there.
I secretly suspect that my gnomes are in there.
This weekend the Pierce House; this May, the little door.
We Will Conquer Longwood!