A Nifty Garden?

29 Jun

Hello, world. Do you remember me?

I’ve been a bit quiet this week on the blog, but, boy, do I have a lot to tell you! About two weekends ago (June 15- June 17), we went on an adventure. Steven’s younger sister was visiting us at Swarthmore, and I was antsy to get off campus and explore a new place. So, on Saturday morning, after getting up late and cleaning the apartment (having your own place means that you can’t complain about the messy kitchen, because it’s your own fault), I began to research different activities in the nearby area. Naturally, I turned to Google, and, with no concrete ideas in mind, I searched “things to do in Philadelphia.”

A few hours later, I discovered The Longwood Gardens. Bam. This was it. I sent a quick text message to Steven to check that he wanted to join, and then posted about it on the Facebook group that was created for students staying at Swat over the summer (this group is great- super helpful when it comes to figuring out what’s going on!). A few minutes later, two students, Sera and Awjin (really fun roommates who often join us on outings) asked if they could join.

That night, Steven, his younger sister, Sera, Awjin, and I all headed out to the gardens. It was about a 20 minute drive, but my car is really old and, at one point, I was slightly concerned over whether or not we’d make it. Thankfully, we arrived safe and sound, and had a great time.

There was a beautiful light show by Bruce Munro, and it was interesting, if not a bit odd, being at a gardens late at night.

We walked around and admired all of the installations. And, Awjin and I split up from the group to find a path behind the show that allowed us a closer look at the lights. (We might or might not have then brought everyone back there and stepped over the rope to sit under a tree and watch the lights change. There is a saying that I love: it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. In this case, that phrase was true. Stepping over the rope to sit among the light-flowers was worth breaking the rules!) The lights are engineered so that they look like flowers from far away, but the closer you get, the more you realize that they are not real. And, because we were so close to the exhibit we could see that they were LED lights , and that they changed color.

Here are some photos (I apologize for the poor quality. I used my phone for these pictures):

These “flowers” were behind a pond. The lights reflected on the surface of the water, and there was a large crowd sitting on the lawn watching the exhibit.

The flowers, up close and personal. (Ah, the perks of exploring the backside of an exhibit…)

Another view of the flowers. In this shot, you can see the range of colors.

This was a different exhibit, with different styled LED lights.

And, after we had our fill of the gardens, we decided to head over to a place called Nifty Fifties. It’s a diner-like eating option with colorful decorations and a huge soda fountain (I tried a Strawberry Cheesecake soda… it was a bit too sweet for me, but interesting, to say the least.) Several milkshakes and plates of food later, we were all stuffed and ready to go back to Swat and sleep.

For such short notice, our adventure worked out really, really well. The gardens were a great choice, because it is something that is close to school, but not right in Philadelphia. It’s easy to think that going off campus means going to Swarthmore, but there are so many other options nearby! Media is a cute town with great restaurants and events, and it’s only a 10 minute drive (or you can just hop on the SEPTA). These gardens were close, and a refreshing nighttime event (rather than simply going out to dinner, we made a night of our outing).  And, Nifty Fifties was a perfect way to end the night. (Who doesn’t love odd soda flavors and a late-night snack?)

As for discovering local activities and filling up our summer with a range of adventures, I think we’re doing pretty well…

Happy weekend!

Aileen

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