by adeline talbot

I'm back after a little needed if unexpected September R & R.  And not only am I back but I am positively raring to go with a slew of exciting trips on offer for next year. 

This morning we announce 'The Gardens of Philadelphia’ itinerary offered in partnership with Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden—and below I will give my thoughts on why Philadelphia is the best garden city ever—but first a brief shout out on another 2017 destination--Prague. 

You may have seen the great article in a recent Sunday New York Times Travel section on Prague's latest hotspots--but if you missed here’s a link:


 Prague is a hip and happy place—and one that always rewards an extended visit.  I’ll be there to help make sure things go smoothly but it will be my co-leaders, Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry, who will serve as our resident experts.  Marsha is a film historian and Louis is a modernist architect and  together they know Prague better than most Czechs.  All of which adds up to a not to be missed experience! 

And as for knowing cities well, I can justly claim to know Philadelphia very well. It's my husband's hometown and where we both lived for the first 10 years after college. The tradition continues now with our daughter's recent move to Philly after her college graduation in May. That all adds up to a lot of touch points—and yet I was struck when developing the itinerary for our spring trip that perhaps the very best lens of all through which to view Philadelphia is through her landscapes and gardens. 

Not only are they magnificent—and they truly, truly are magnificent—but they strike me as uniquely suited to capture the proud and continuing heritage of this great American city and her surrounding region. 

Bartram's Garden, the oldest surviving botanical garden in the nation; Longwood Gardens, one of the world's premier botanical gardens; Fairmount Park, the largest landscaped urban park anywhere--so many must-see sites here seem to be accompanied by these superlatives. 

Even technically ‘small scale’ gardens, such as Chanticleer, are incomparably fine.  

And the splendor is not limited to past glories.  Take, for example, the very contemporary one-acre living roof high atop Center City’s PECO Building. Stunning views, stunning design and all in the service of better, more efficient energy use.

And as an added bonus, the region’s verdure seems to have inspired one of the country’s best restaurant scenes, as we will happily experience as part of our exploration of the region.

Can you tell I am excited?  Well, I am--and truly think you will be too once you give our itinerary a look.

And I hope you decide to come along!!