What To Do: Brandywine Railroad extended, Kennett Winterfest goes virtual

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Brandywine River Museum

With COVID-19 still impacting everyone and everything, there aren’t nearly as many things on the weekend activity schedules as there usually are.

Fortunately, there are still some worthwhile events and attractions – many of which are here in the heart of the Brandywine Valley.

The “Brandywine Railroad” display at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org), an annual event that is fun for the entire family, has been extended through February 28

“Brandywine Railroad” features an extensive O-gauge model. Five moving trains operate at all times and include a 60-car freight train winding past a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains, Herr Foods plant, running waterfall and animated skating scene. 

In addition to the Brandywine Railroad, the exhibition, “Betsy James Wyeth: A Tribute,” will also be on display through February 28.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art pays tribute to Betsy James Wyeth (1921-2020) with a display of drawings and paintings of and about her in the Andrew Wyeth Gallery, and with a biography of her remarkable life presented in the first-floor lobby of the Museum.

Betsy Wyeth was her husband Andrew Wyeth’s business manager and curator, with great precision recording the details of every work completed by the artist and encouraging and propelling him to achieve throughout his career. The artist painted his wife many times over the course of their almost seven-decade marriage. The selection of 20 works shown here are both intimate and enigmatic, capturing her elegance while also communicating a sense of elusiveness that the artist was so adept at conveying.

Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older) and $6 for children.

This is the time of year when the popular annual event known as the Kennett Winterfest is staged in a tented area in the 600 block of South Broad Street in Kennett Square.

Because of the pandemic restrictions, this year’s Winterfest will have an entirely different look. It will not be another edition of a cold weather block party.

Kennett Brewfest is presenting new look Ninth Annual Kennett “Backyard” Winterfest on February 27 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Participants are invited to bundle up and enjoy winter brews from 48 top-flight craft breweries — from the comfort and safety of their own homes with their household, socially distanced friend group, or pandemic pod. Each ticket purchased corresponds to one of two specially curated cases featuring 24 different beers, from 24 unique breweries. 

“Case Pick Up Saturday” will take place on February 27 in the 600 block of South Broad Street. The pickup process will adhere to COVID protocols. 

The “Kennett Case” features: ALLAGASH BREWING COMPANY – Kurkuma Tumeric Saison; AMBLER BEER COMPANY – Sin-oh-Man Mexican Chocolate Stout; BELLEFONTE BREWING COMPANY – Bean Laughing Black Coffee; IPA BRAELOCH BREWING – S’morgasm S’more Stout; CINDERLANDS BEER COMPANY – Brick Top Belgian-Style Quad with Coffee; DANCING GNOME – Warm Hand Splash; DIPA EAST BRANCH BREWING COMPANY – Schwarz’ German-Style Dark Lager; FEGLEY’S BREW WORKS – Central Scruntinizer Hazy Pale Ale; HIDDEN RIVER BREWING COMPANY – Machination Pale Ale; LA CABRA BREWING – Sixteen Chapel New England IPA; LEVANTE BREWING – Purple Pine Drops Pale Ale; NAKED BREWING COMPANY – Cat-a-pillar Double Dry Hopped Hazy IPA; NESHAMINY CREEK BREWING COMPANY – Want You Bad Stout; OEC BREWING – Dark Czech Lager; PLATFORM BEER COMPANY – Timbersome Liquid Barrel-Age Imperial Stout; ROTUNDA BREWING COMPANY – Raspberry Watermelons Wheat Tart; SHIP BOTTOM BREWERY – The Shack IPA; ST. BONIFACE CRAFT BREWING COMPANY – Black Currant Stout; STOLEN SUN BREWING – Quack of Dawn French Toast Donut Pastry Stout; TEN 7 BREWING COMPANY – S-Tier New England; IPA UPPER REACH MEADERY – Honey Spritzer with Guava and Hibiscus; URBAN VILLAGE BREWING COMPANY – Killer Cam Hazy Imperial IPA; WELL CRAFTED BEER COMPANY – No Disintegrations – Black IPA – 7%; and WORKHORSE BREWING COMPANY – White IPA.

The “Winterfest Case” includes: 2SP BREWING COMPANY – Zoltan Imperial Red Ale; ABOMINATION BREWING – Dreamsphere 2 Sour Ale; ARTILLERY BREWING COMPANY – The Patriot Mid-Atlantic IPA; BIG OYSTER BREWERY – Inconceivable Triple Dry Hopped IPA; BREW GENTLEMEN – The Trees Spruce IPA; BROTHERS KERSHNER BREWING COMPANY – Hilltop Farmhouse Saison; CONSHOHOCKEN BREWING COMPANY – S’more Imperial Pastry Stout; DOUBLE NICKEL BREWING – Drive By Fruiting Cherry Pie-Inspired Gose; FOREST AND MAIN BREWING COMPANY – Lunar Oceans British Bitter; FREE WILL BREWING COMPANY – Sputnik 35 Double IPA; GRIST HOUSE CRAFT BREWERY – Canoe Rocker West Coast IPA; HITCHHIKER BREWING COMPANY – We All Scream Imperial Stout; LOCUST LANE CRAFT BREWING COMPANY – Locust Lane Irish Stout; MUDHEN BREWING COMPANY – Yellow Flashing Lights Imperial Stout; NEW TRAIL BREWING COMPANY – White Out Hazy; DIPA REBEL SEED CIDERY – Colonial Jack; ROUND GUYS BREWING COMPANY – Dank Janky; SINGLECUT BEERSMITHS – Schindleria Praematurus DDH IPA with Honey; SLY FOX BREWING COMPANY – One of Those Days Hazy IPA; STICKMAN BREWING – Double Deuce; DIPA STONE BREWING – Neverending Haze IPA; WARWICK FARMS BREWING – Tropic Nights Hazy IPA; WILMINGTON BREW WORKS – Rail Car One IPA; and WINDING PATH BREWING – Rakau Kohatu DIPA.

A “Standard Ticket” is $110 for either the “Kennett Case” or the “Winterfest Case.” The maximum number of cases that can be purchased per transaction is two of each type, four cases total.

Longwood Gardens

A visit to Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) always offers welcome respite to the grey brutality of the winter season. This year’s special event is called “Winter Wonder.”

“Winter Wonder,” which is running now through March 21, celebrates the beauty of winter. It’s all about outdoor spacious, indoor oasis, and the power of story.

Outside, visitors can find a sense of peace and tranquility as they walk past textural grasses, seed heads and the dramatic silhouettes of trees that stretch up into the sky.

Inside, they can bask in a world of warmth that features an overhead garden of hanging baskets adorned with such vibrant beauties as jasmine, cape-primrose, and lipstick-plant.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a paradise of flowers and foliage, bursting with color — all in a beautiful indoor winter wonderland with a tropical twist.

“Winter Wonder” exists on two levels.

Both outdoors and in, they can embark on a poignant journey with “Voices in the Landscape,” a series of 10 stops throughout the Gardens which can also be accessed virtually from home. In this sensory experience, participants will follow along as storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston honors and celebrates the strength, resilience, and contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture and the power of story.

Those taking the tour can hear an ancient Zulu creation myth paired with the oldest plant on Earth in the Conservatory; make their way to the Lookout Loft Treehouse and learn the story of the significance and symbolism of woods and meadows; and call out the name of an ancestor in remembrance at the Large Lake while a traditional spiritual soothes your soul.

Voices in the Landscape is an Accessible Experience.

The exhibition features a total of 10 audio experiences associated with specific locations throughout the Gardens, including seven outdoor stops and three stops in the Conservatory. The entire route is accessible without stairs and the length of the route, including the stops in the Conservatory, is about 1.5 miles.

“Voices in the Landscape” signage is at each stop. Each audio recording ranges between three and eight minutes in length. The estimated time to experience the entire Voices in the Landscape exhibit is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

As always, admission by “Timed Ticket” — tickets issued for specific dates and times. Timed ticketing limits the number of people in the Gardens at any given time and allows guests to enjoy minimal lines and a better viewing experience.

You may enter the Gardens up to 30 minutes prior and 30 minutes after your designated time. Make every effort to arrive at your designated reservation time. Earlier or later arrivals may not be accommodated.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $25 for adults, $22 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and college students, $18 for active military and veterans and $13 for youth (ages 5-18).

Lovers of the lovers’ holiday (Valentine’s Day) can stretch out the romantic aspect of the holiday – at least the “wine and chocolate” part – through one more weekend with visits to area wineries.

Every Saturday and Sunday through February 28, the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, http://www.chaddsford.com) will present “Wine & Chocolate Pairings.”

Participants can visit the winery for an intimate and educational 90-minute experience in the newly renovated Barrel Room and treat themselves to a guided tasting of five Pennsylvania-made artisan pairings. 

The winery will be partnering with three local businesses including Éclat Chocolate, Birchrun Hills and Herman’s Coffee to provide an unparalleled experience highlighting some of the area’s best sweet and savory selections.

To provide a safe and comfortable event, only three sessions with a limited number of guests will be offered throughout the day at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. The winery’s masked staff will implement an enhanced cleaning schedule between sessions to ensure a sanitized facility and to provide seating that is spaced at least six feet apart from other customers.

The “Pairing Line Up” features 2018 Sparkling White, Éclat Lavender Truffle with 2019 Dry Rosé: Redux, Éclat Pear Caramel with 2019 Traminette, Birchrun Hills Blue Cheese and Éclat Dutch Pretzel Bar with 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Hermans Coffee YAAIMH Blend and Chocolate Beignet.

Tastings are $35 per person and offered only on Saturdays and Sundays. Advanced reservations are required and are non-refundable. Children and guests under 21 years old are not permitted to attend this program. Pairings are subject to change.

The final sessions of “Wine and Chocolate Pairings” at Penns Wood Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, 610-459-0808, http://www.pennswoodsevents.com) will be held this weekend.

The event features a perfectly paired wine flight and locally made chocolates. This pairing can be enjoyed in the winery’s tastings room (reservations only – limited seating available) or virtually (advance purchase).

Virtual pairings include self-guided tasting portfolio, four two-ounce wine tasters and custom-made local chocolates from Good Good Chocolates. They are available for curbside pick-up or local delivery.

“In Person” pairings in the on-site tasting room) include self-guided tasting menu, a flight of five 1.5-ounce wine samples and custom-made local chocolates from Good Good Chocolates. 

Reservations are required. 

Hanna Paige

Additionally, there will be live music performed by Hanna Paige on February 26 during “Happy Hour” from 3-5 p.m.

Black Walnut Winery (3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, 610-857-5566, www.blackwalnutwinery.com) has no more “Wine and Chocolate Pairings” on its calendar but it does have a special event slated for this weekend.

On February 28, the winery will present “Painting Under the Influence.”

During the event, which runs from 1-3 p.m., local artist Nancy McMonagle will have participants painting their own wine glasses to take home and enjoy. It will be a monthly event with a different theme each month.

The cost of the class, which is for participants 21 and over only, is $30 per person to paint two glasses. The price includes all class materials. Wine and food purchases are additional.

Interested patrons can reserve space by calling McMonagle at 215-872-5043.

A great way for chocoholics to satisfy their chocolate cravings is to take a trip to Hershey during the month of February. This month, it’s time for “Chocolate-Covered February in Hershey” (various locations around Hershey, 800-HERSHEY, www.chocolatecoveredfebruary.com).

It is only natural that Hershey, the town that bills itself as “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” hosts a month-long celebration in honor of all things chocolate. Hershey has decadent chocolate events planned throughout the month of February.


Devon Seafood and Steak and Houlihan’s Restaurant Bar in downtown Hershey, Cocoa Beanery on Research Boulevard, and restaurants at Hershey Lodge and The Hotel Hershey will feature chocolate martinis, decadent desserts, sweet treats and cocoa-infused savory dishes.

ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park will offer 50 per cent off admission every Friday in February as part of its Fantastic Fridays promotion. As an added attraction, many of the zoo’s animals are more active during the winter months.

Families will love visiting Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction on weekends in February for Hershey Character appearances, double sample days and Hershey’s Workshop events.

The Chocolate Lab at The Hershey Story Museum will host its popular hands-on classes, both in the Lab and virtually.

The Butterfly Atrium at Hershey Gardens will feature the Chocolate Malachite butterfly, and kids can have fun searching for cocoa clues to identify chocolate-named garden elements in the Children’s Garden and Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory.

Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116,www.linvilla.com) has partnered with Ship Bottom Brewery to bring beers in the barn for patrons to enjoy on chilly winter evenings. Some of the ales will even be crafted with Linvilla’s own farm grown products.

Linvilla Orchards

Daytime fun includes Corn Hole and Giant Jenga along with other favorite annual Linvilla activities. In the evening, patrons can enjoy a pint under the stars and, weather permitting, sit around a toasty bonfire.

The Beer Garden is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5 p.m. each day. There will be fire pits and patio heaters. As an added attraction, a food truck will be onsite each day.

Linvilla Orchard’s “Fore! The Planet,” which opened for the year on January 16, is a highly interactive and playful museum exhibit created by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. This exhibition pairs important environmental issues with the fun of miniature golf.

It features 18 unique educational holes on a variety of topics — butterfly metamorphosis, a tropical rainforest, evolution, dinosaur extinction, food chains and more. Kids of all ages can enjoy playing miniature golf while learning about our environment on every hole.

The mini-course is open daily from 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Tickets are $9 (ages 11 and over) and $10 (ages 10 and under).

A trip to Linvilla would not be complete without a visit to Linvilla Orchards Farm Market. It features fresh produce (with 50 per cent off all vegetables), baked goods and gourmet specialties — including seasonally homegrown and locally sourced fruits and vegetables.

The bakery opened in the 1960s with the farm market’s famous freshly baked pies. Over the years, the menu has been expanded to include breads, cakes, hors d’oeuvres, apple cider doughnuts and more.

This is always the time of year for the annual Pancake Breakfast and Maple Sugaring Celebration at the Tyler Arboretum (515 Painter Road, Media, 610-566-9134, www.tylerarboretum.org) but COVID-19 restrictions have wiped it off the schedule.

However, Tyler does have some fun activities scheduled for March 3.

“Weekday Bird Walks: Limited Edition,” which is scheduled for every Wednesday in March from 8-10 a.m. Participants can join Sue Lucas and Sara Boucas-Neto on morning bird walks at Tyler.

With acres of unbroken forest interior and extensive meadows, Tyler is recognized by the Pennsylvania Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area. Participants are asked to bring their own binoculars and be prepared to walk on all types of surfaces. Walks are rain or shine. Tickets are $15 and include admission to Tyler for the day.
“Weekday Wildflower Walks, Limited Edition” are also scheduled for every Wednesday in March fom 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. each day.

Participants will join wildflower experts Dick Cloud and Richard Brenner and discover the multitude of wildflowers that are in flower, fruit and perhaps a stage in-between. These walks are for those who have a love of plants, their role in ecology, or for those who want to learn more.

Instructions are to wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring a camera and/or a wildflower guide and enjoy a botanical-filled walk.

Tickets are $15 and include admission to Tyler for the day. 

There still is an option for checking out a live event dealing with maple syrup and maple sugaring.

On February 27 and 28, the Lancaster County Park Environmental Center (1 Nature’s Way, Lancaster, https://apm.activecommunities.com/LancasterCountyParks, 717-295-2055) will present a special program titled “Maple Sugaring.”

Visitors can join County Park Naturalists for ongoing maple sugaring demonstrations in the sugar bush of Lancaster County Central Park. They will be able to see trees tapped, sap boiled to syrup, and candy made from the syrup. Maple products will be on sale. Guests can drop in anytime during the program hours for an educational tour of the maple syrup making process.

On Saturday, there will be 45-minute slots starting at 10, 10:45 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 and 1 p.m. On Sunday, there will be 45-minute slots starting at 1, 1:45, 2:30 and 3:15 p.m.

A trip to Lancaster with kids could also include a visit to the Hands-on House Children’s Museum (721 Landis Valley Road, Lancaster, 717-569-5437, http://www.handsonhouse.org) – an interactive site that offers a wide array of activities for youngster.

Curiosity, creativity, and discovery will take children (accompanied by an adult) on an educational adventure in The Clubhouse, where learning and fun go hand-in-hand.

Some of the museum’s more popular attractions are “Amazing Airways,” a maze of clear plastic tubing more than 13 feet high filling the back wall of the museum and lets children experience the properties of moving air, and  “Robotic Arm & STEM Lab.” This robotic arm demonstrates remote handling, an important way that robots help us in medicine, in the military, finding objects underwater and even exploring in space.

Other featured attractions are “Little Valley Farm,” “Mason’s Active Adventure Garden,” “Little Valley Farm Market” and “Construction Zone.”

Admission to the museum is $11 for children and $10.50 for adults. To make sure that every attendee has a great experience, please have one adult attending for every two children.

Historic Odessa (Main Street, Odessa, Delaware, 302-378-4119, www.historicodessa.org) is both a scenic and an historic site in Delaware.

This year, March 2 will be an historic date for the historic site.

On March 2, Historic Odessa reopens for spring tours and celebrates the beginning of its 2021 season.

Known in the 18th-century as Cantwell’s Bridge, Odessa played a vital role in commercial life along the Delaware River as a busy grain shipping port.

Today, visitors can stroll along tree-lined streets and admire examples of 18th- and 19th-century architecture in one of the best-preserved towns in Delaware. They can also tour a remarkable collection of antiques and Americana preserved in period room settings and quaint exhibits.

Historic Odessa is open to the public from March through December, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.  The site is also open Monday by reservation.

Historic Odessa is closed January and February, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The site’s webpage posted this message:

Visiting Historic Odessa: Guidelines 

For the safety of our visitors and properties: 

Our Gardens are smoke free. 

While dogs are permitted on the grounds, they must be curbed and leashed at all times. Dogs are not permitted within the buildings. 

Please respect our plants, trees and shrubs and remain on paths. 

Visitors are welcomed to take photographs but should not interfere with the enjoyment of other guests. 

All professional photographers must be HOF members at the $125 Contributor level and must check in at the Visitor Center. 

Tours of our historic buildings take a minimum of 90 minutes and include steps to entries and multiple staircases within buildings; we recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes. 

Small handheld music devices with earphones are permitted on the grounds only, large radios with speakers are not permitted. 

Picnicking on the grounds is permitted, picnickers are required to remove all trash; shade tents, charcoal or gas grills and bonfires are not permitted. 

Children are required to be accompanied by an adult. 

Children may not climb in trees, hang from branches, or jump from carriage blocks, steps, brick walls or fences. 

Please treat all living things with respect. Please do not feed the wildlife. 

Firearms are prohibited. 

March 2 is also a special day in Odessa for another reason.

The Historic Odessa Foundation’s first art exhibit of the year, “Our Delaware: Local Art Collected by HOF Staff,” will open on March and run through March 28.

The assorted artworks from the personal collections of several Historic Odessa Foundation staff members were either created by a Delaware artist or illustrate subject matter in Delaware or both.

The diverse collection includes watercolors, oil paintings, and a few limited-edition prints. The title of the art exhibit comes from the official Delaware state song, “Our Delaware,” which was written as a poem by George B. Hynson and adapted to music by Will M.S. Brown. It was adopted as the state’s official song on April 7, 1925.

This is the final weekend of African American History Month and a good place to wrap up celebrations is the National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia, 215-409-6700,www.constitutioncenter.org).

Visitors to the Center can commemorate African American History Month by viewing “Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality,” the first exhibit in America devoted to exploring how constitutional clashes over slavery set the stage for the Civil War, and how the nation transformed the Constitution after the war to more fully embrace the Declaration of Independence’s promise of liberty and equality.

Through remarkable artifacts and rare documents from one of the largest private Civil War collections in America—the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia—and other partners, the 3,000 square foot exhibit brings to life the stories of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, and other figures central to the conflict over slavery.

The exhibit also features the inspiring stories of lesser-known individuals to help shed light on the American experience under slavery, the battle for freedom during the Civil War, and the fight for equality during Reconstruction, which many call the nation’s “Second Founding.” In doing so, visitors will learn the history of three constitutional amendments added between 1865 and 1870, which ended slavery, required states to respect individual rights, promised equal protection to all people, and expanded the right to vote to African American men.

The National Constitution Center has resumed operations on a modified schedule and is open Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Visitors are also invited to showcase their knowledge of past U.S. presidents, as our interactive trivia game challenges them to find all of the presidents from Ohio, the only president from Pennsylvania, the last president born before the revolution, the first president born in a hospital, and more. This is a non-contact experience is located in the Center’s Grand Hall Lobby, which allows ample space for social distancing.

Plus, visitors can view the Center’s exhibits, including Signers’ Hall, which features life-sized statues of presidents Washington and Madison and “The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote,” which explores how the right to participate in elections has expanded and become more inclusive throughout history.

General admission is $14.50 for adults, $13 for Seniors (age 65 and older) and College Students (with ID), $11 for Youth (ages 6-18) and free for children (five and under) and active military.

Fort Mifflin (Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167, www.fortmifflin.us) is hosting an event called “GHOST HUNTING 101 BOO!” on February 27 at 11 a.m.

This is an opportunity to get inside information about what an actual paranormal investigation is like. It’s a chance to learn the techniques and experience the technology at one of the most haunted locations in the country.

The activity starts with a classroom-style workshop to learn the basics followed by guided investigations with special access to three “hot spot” locations.

Participants can wrap up the day with time to explore and investigate on their own. The Workshop is suitable for ages 12 and up and masks required.

Workshop fee is $25 and includes admission to the Fort for the day (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

The Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square (Sixth and Race streets, Philadelphia, http://www.historicphiladelphia.org/) was extended from its original December closing and that meant that the show’s 100,000 lights will remain lit through the end of February during the extended “Winter in Franklin Square.” 

The end of February is here and that means you have until February 28 to check out the impressive display.

Franklin Square’s 180-year-old, historic centerpiece has been renovated and updated into a dynamic state-of-the-art Fountain Show featuring spectacular dancing water effects and colored lights choreographed to music. Visitors can enjoy free Fountain Show performances every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour from noon-9 p.m.

Additionally, playing outdoor mini-golf on the Chilly Philly Mini Golf course and taking rides on the Parx Liberty Carousel will also be available through February 28.

Admission to the light show is free. The cost to play Mini-golf is $10 for adults and $8 for children (ages 3-12) while carousel rides are $3 for children 3 and older and free for children 2 and under.

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