What To Do: Winter blues? Wine and chocolate might help

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times 

Chaddsford Winery

February can be a cruel month. It’s the dead of winter with bare trees, grey weather and cold winds.

But there are ways to fight off the depression that mid-winter can cause – especially chocolate and wine.

A recent review by Belgium researchers assessed the current research on the complex relationship between chocolate and mood. As a well-known mood booster, chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, which create the feeling of pleasure in your brain.

A compound in red wine, called resveratrol, is responsible for a lot of wine’s anti-inflammatory benefits. In 2019, the journal Neuropharmacology found that resveratrol might have anti-stress effects by blocking enzymes in the brain that lead to depression- and anxiety-like behaviors.

Valentine’s Day arrives in the middle of February and that’s a holiday that is a natural for gifting and consuming chocolate delights and fine wine.

Many wineries around the area have found a way to elevate moods – and get a Valentine’s Day vibe going — by presenting events that feature wine and chocolate tastings.

Every Saturday and Sunday in February, the Chaddsford Winery (632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, 610-388-6221, http://www.chaddsford.com) is presenting “Reserve Tastings – Wine & Chocolate.”

Guests will join the CFW Crew for an intimate and educational 60-minute experience in the Barrel Room. The trained staff will guide them through a pre-selected tasting of five widely diverse and award-winning wines from across our portfolio. The selections will be paired alongside seasonal local cheeses and other accoutrements to enhance your tasting experience.

The staff will also discuss topics such as grape growing conditions at our partner vineyards and the onsite winemaking process from production to aging and bottling.

The 2023 Pairing Line Up is – Greeting Wine: 2021 Sparkling White; ’21 Chardonnay with Passion Fruit Truffle, ’21 Dry Rosé: Redux with Desert Rose Spice Chocolate Bar, ’20 Cabernet Sauvignon with Coffee Vanilla Cube and Sunset Blush with Strawberry Pate de Fruite.

Reserve seatings are $35 per person.

Penns Wood Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, 610-459-0808, http://www.pennswoodsevents.com) will also pair chocolate and wine this month.

Each weekend in February, the winery will be offering its Wine & Chocolate pairing which includes a tasting of five wines perfectly paired with five hand-crafted chocolates from Good Good Chocolates. The pairing is $38 per person and reservations are required.

The Berks County Wine Trail (www.berkscountywinetrail.com) will present “Chocolate & Wine Pairing Event Weekends” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The event is scheduled for February 11, 12, 18 and 19 from noon-5 p.m. each day.

Visitors can toast Valentines’ Day during two sweet weekends on the wine trail sampling sumptuous chocolates and confections paired with featured wines of the region. They can visit each of the 10 participating wineries along the Berks County Wine Trail to determine their favorite pairing combo.

The list of wineries and featured tastings includes: Deerfoot Winery (Shoemakersville); Manatawny Creek Winery (Douglassville); Kog Hill Winery (Morgantown); Long Trout Winery (Auburn); Stoudt’s Winery (Shartlesville); Setter Ridge Vineyards (Kutztown); Stonekeep Meadery (Fleetwood); Lily’s Winery & Vineyard (Reading); Blue Mountain Winery (New Tripoli) and Ridgewood Winery (Birdsboro).

Tickets are $15 and are good for all four event days.

First Friday in West Chester (www.downtownwestchester.com) will take place on the evening of February 3.

Shops and boutiques are open late on the First Friday of each month to show off their newest seasonal fashions and giftware items.

Visitors to the borough for the free “rain or shine” event will be able to browse the in-store specials and enjoy complimentary refreshments while they explore the variety of unique items each shop has to offer.

Kildare’s Irish Pub (18 West Gay Street) will feature “Dueling Pianos” from 7-10 p.m. The Philly Keys are all about bringing the Dueling Piano mentality of All Requests, Sing Along, Crowd Participation, and Great Musicianship – with Brian Aglira leading the show.

Ginkgo Arts (21 South High Street) invites guests for an evening of community and the arts.

Visitors will be able to see what new pieces their artists have been working on and chat with any of them about their artwork. There will be snacks and wine.

OutLash (21 South High Street) is asking guests to join in for its Grand Re-Opening in combination with First Friday.

Featured attractions will be food, drinks, music, permanent jewelry, and tarot card reading.

Parking on the street will be free after 5 p.m.

There will also be First Friday happenings in Lancaster tonight.

Lancaster’s popular First Friday (http://www.visitlancastercity.com/first-friday/) is an arts extravaganza that runs from 5-9 p.m. on February 4. Visitors to downtown Lancaster will have the opportunity to discover innovative exhibitions, performances and perhaps a few surprises as they walk the streets lined with trees and distinctive architecture.

Unique boutiques and excellent restaurants complement the art galleries, artisan studios, museums, performing groups, professional theater, symphony orchestra and art college that form Lancaster’s arts community.

Brandywine Museum of Art

The newest exhibition at the Brandywine Museum of Art (1 Hoffman Mill Road, Chadds Ford, brandywine.org), “Andrew Wyeth: Home Places,” will open on February 4 and run through July 13.

This exhibition is a presentation of nearly 50 paintings and drawings of local buildings that inspired Wyeth time and again over seven decades of his career.

The artworks in this exhibition are drawn exclusively from the nearly 7,000-object Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection of the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, now managed by the Brandywine. Many of these pieces have never before been exhibited, offering a first glimpse at a significant treasure trove that will shed new light on the collaborative creative process of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth.

“Andrew Wyeth: Home Places” shares the story of a remarkable immersive and intensive artistic practice that ranged across the full array of media Andrew Wyeth practiced. Over the course of a long and diverse career of many chapters, Wyeth repeatedly depicted a small group of historic houses in the vicinity of his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

In these weathered buildings others might have overlooked or even scorned in the face of gentrification and commercial development of the region, Wyeth found layers of emotion and association. These structures—both venerable and vulnerable in a changing Brandywine Valley—served as a means of pursuing his abiding attention to that which lies beneath the surface of things.

Through living in this landscape his whole life, he engaged in an artistic practice of uncommon focus over an extended timescale, coming to know deeply the evocative buildings in a radius of just a few square miles and rendering them in an astonishing variety of compositions, handlings and approaches. As Wyeth said, “You can be in a place for years and years and not see something, and then when it dawns, all sorts of nuggets of richness start popping all over the place. You’ve gotten below the obvious.”

Among the previously unexhibited works on view are the charming early oil “The Miller’s Son,” painted when Wyeth was just 17 years old, and the stunning watercolor “Noah’s Ark Study” made at age 87—both depicting the same property, Brinton’s Mill.

That the Wyeths came to own and restore this property for use as their primary residence is among the many contributions of Betsy James Wyeth, whose distinct role in stewarding historic properties in Pennsylvania and Maine, which informed her husband’s painting practice, is a key context of this exhibition.

Museum admission is $18 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $6 children (ages 6-18) and students with ID and free for children (ages five and under).

Hagley Museum and Library (Buck Road East entrance via Route 100, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org), a 230-acre historical village on the site of the original du Pont Company gunpowder mills in northern Delaware, has just opened a new attraction – “Nation of Inventors.”

“Nation of Inventors” celebrates the American spirit of ingenuity by taking visitors on a journey from the early years of the patent system, in the 1790s, through the “golden age” of American invention, in the late 1800s. The exhibit features more than 120 patent models from Hagley’s unique collection highlighting the diverse stories of inventors from all walks of life.

Patent models are scaled representations of inventions and were part of the patent application process for nearly 100 years. “Nation of Inventors” showcases patent models representing innovations in a variety of industries from transportation and manufacturing to food preservation and medical devices.

In the exhibition, visitors will enjoy engaging experiences around every corner, testing their knowledge of innovation and hearing personal accounts from inventors.

The patent models in “Nation of Inventors” were created between 1833 and 1886. “Nation of Inventors” not only features patent models submitted by inventors from the United States, but also models from inventors in England, France, Ireland, Russia, and Spain, demonstrating an international interest in America’s intellectual property system.

“Nation of Inventors” includes patent models from well-known inventors and companies like Ball (Mason Jars), Jim Beam, Bissell, Corliss, Steinway, and Westinghouse. The exhibit presents important topics and timely themes including women inventors, Black inventors, immigrant inventors, improvements in urban living, and the ways Americans learn about and understand progress and change.

“Nation of Inventors” is located on the first two floors of Hagley’s Visitor Center. Visitors can plan to spend about 30 minutes on their self-guided tour of the exhibition.

In February, all guest areas are open Fridays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Last admission is at 3 p.m.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, only Hagley’s new exhibition, Nation of Inventors, is open.  All other guest areas (the historic powder yard, the historic home and garden, etc.) are closed.  Reduced admission is offered on days when only Nation of Inventors is open.

Beginning March 1, all guest areas (Nation of Inventors, the historic powder yard, the historic home and garden, etc.) are open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Last admission is at 3 p.m.

Community Arts Center (414 Plush Mill Rd, Wallingford, communityartscenter.org) has a special day lined up for February 4.

It will be the opening day of a very special exhibition – “Philadelphia International Tea Bowl Exhibition.”

The event is billed as “An International Exhibition of Tea Bowls and other Ceramic Teawares by over 60 Ceramic Artists from Japan, France, New Zealand, Ireland, Taiwan, and the United States, including Hawaii.”

More than 250 pieces will be on view. A temporary Tea Room will be constructed in the center of the gallery.

The exhibition will be open from February 4 through March 5.

The opening event will run from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday. There will be a tea ceremony demonstration by Urasenke Philadelphia from 2-3:30 p.m.

Other activities include a lecture by Dr. Felice Fischer, Curator Emerita of Japanese and East Asian Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art from 4:30-5 p.m., a reception with wine and refreshments from 5-8 p.m. and a performance by KyoDaiko drummers at 6 p.m.

Some of the featured artists will be Je-ozenn Bigot, Kazuya Furutani, Pascal Geo-roy, Koji Kimura, Kiwa Kozan, Heidi Kreitchet, Chris Alexiades, Xiaosheng Bi, Higeshida Shigemasa, Sawada Shuichi, Willi Singleton, Shane Sellers, Jack Troy, Mark Tyson, Keijiroh Yamaguchi and Ming Yuen-Schat.

One of the most popular art shows each year is Malvern Retreat House’s Art Show (McShain-Horstmann Family Life Center, 315 South Warren Avenue, Malvern, 610-644-0400, www.MalvernRetreat.com).

While many shows are just weekend events, Malvern Retreat House’s 2022 Art Show is a five-day event from February 1-5. The ambitious show will have more than 2,000 original works of art by more than 100 juried artists.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. There will be free admission every day. All proceeds support only Malvern Retreat House programs.

The Brandywine State Creek Park (41 Adams Dam Rd, Wilmington, Delaware, destateparks.com/brandywinecreek) is presenting a “Full Moon Hike” on February 5.

Guests can join the park’s naturalists for a hike under the wide-open skies and look for the beautiful full moon.

They will also be able to learn a bit about the moon, some of the folklore that it stars in, and discover where the moon’s nicknames come from.

The event starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $6 per person.

The full moon on February 3 is the Snow Moon and the full moon on March 3 will be the Worm Moon.

Thornbury Historical Society (8 Township Drive, Cheyney, ThornburyHistory.org) has something new to offer this year.

On February 5, it will host the “Thornbury Historical Society Open House” on the campus of Cheyney University. This will be the society’s first open house highlighting its new location.

Some of the exciting items on display will be the tricentennial quilt with hand sewn squares depicting 16 significant township sites, the preserved crosscut of Thornbury’s White Ash tree from Palmer Park and once the pride of Thornbury Elementary School on Creek Road.

Also featured will be three enlarged resource maps of Thornbury Historic Property Survey, family historical documents and a scrapbook of past events.

The event will run from 2-4:30 p.m. at Douglass Cottage at Cheyney University.

The event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be provided.

February 4 is the day that The Ridley House & The Heritage Ballrooms (2107 MacDade Blvd., Holmes, 610-522-5400, www.ridleyhousepa.com) will be hosting its “Ninth Annual Freezefest.”

The event, which runs from noon Saturday until 2 a.m., will feature live cover bands and DJs along with several themed rooms. It will also host a giant outdoor ice bar, food court, photo booth, axe throwing trailer, custom heated tents, ballrooms, beer pong and cornhole tournaments, giveaways and interesting drink specials.

Tickets are $9.99.

“Founders Philly Freeze Out in Manayunk” (Main Street, Manayunk, manayunk.com/events/founders-philly-freeze-out.html) is scheduled for February 4 from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

This pay-as-you-go, all-ages event features live music, ice carving demonstrations every hour, a winter market, hands-on activities, and food and drink specials at bars and restaurants throughout Manayunk.

Special activities include the Chowder Crawl, “Founders Freeze-Out Run” with Philadelphia Runner, Ice Bar & Founders Sampling at Canal View Park, free trolley rides, Winter Market and Axe Throwing at Richards Apex, a Lion Dance and live music.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is now featuring one of its popular annual special events – “Winter Wonder.”

“Winter Wonder,” which runs from January 21-March 26, 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: Deeply Rooted with Storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston” Beginning on March 11. This is a series of 10 stops throughout the Gardens which honor the contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture and the power of story.

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” 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.

Inside Longwood’s Conservatory, visitors can check out the towering Clerodendrum schmidtii (chains of glory) as well as nearly 300 blooming orchids on display in the site’s newly renovated Orchid House. There will also be rare blue poppies blooming in March but for only about 10 to 15 days.

A new attraction this year is Longwood Gardens’ “Science Saturdays series.

Beyond the boundaries of the formal gardens, Longwood stewards a rich variety of natural habitats. The rolling terrain of the Pennsylvania piedmont and changing ways people have used land over time provide us with diverse conditions for plant and animal life. Dr. Lea Johnson, Associate Director, Land Stewardship and Ecology, will reveal how patterns in the landscape reveal both history and potential futures for biodiversity.

The topics for Science Saturday events are “Plant Exploration Around the World” on February 18 and “Plant Collections: Clivia” on March 18.

There also will be another series called “Sweet Floral Treats”—a make-and-take floral design class where the designer draws inspiration from a sweet treat. Classes will be presented on February 23 and March 22.

The gardens are open from Wednesdays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Friday, March 31. Hours change in the spring.

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).

Delaware Museum of Art (2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware, delart.org) has two impressive exhibitions that are entering their final weeks – “Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites” and “A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan.”

“Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites, which is running through February 5, looks at the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which revolutionized British painting traditions.

Overshadowed by famous peers, artists such as Barbara Bodichon, Marie Spartali Stillman, Alice Boyd, and Frederic Shields experimented with Pre-Raphaelite themes, subjects, and techniques. This exhibition brings together over forty works by such overlooked artists affiliated with the Pre-Raphaelite circle, including art by the American Pre-Raphaelites.

Women were crucial to the Pre-Raphaelite movement and their work accounts for more than half of the objects on view. By featuring these lesser-known artists, the museum seeks to recover them from the margins of art history and position them at the center of the Pre-Raphaelite narrative.

“A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan” focuses on the work of Arts and Crafts pottery maker William De Morgan (1839-1917) and Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919) who lived in harmony as married artists in Victorian England.

A power couple, they encouraged one another’s creative pursuits and engaged in the social issues of their day. William De Morgan created brilliantly colored tiles, pots, and plates with distinctive, shimmering lustre-ware surfaces. Evelyn De Morgan took inspiration from Botticelli to create richly symbolic paintings of modern subjects. This visually stunning exhibition is making its American debut at the Delaware Art Museum.

Admission to the Museum is $14 for adults, $7 for students and $6 for youth (ages 7-18). Children (6 and under) are admitted free.

The American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-389-1776, www.americanswedish.org) is presenting an exhibit “Art for All: The Swedish Experience in Mid-America,” which will run through February 19.

“Art for All: The Swedish Experience in Mid-America” is an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Swedish American artists in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

This colorful and emotive impressionist art reflects its own time, interprets nature and landscape, and is independent of artificial conventions while keeping Swedish folk traditions alive.

The American Swedish Historical Museum is proud to present Art for All: The Swedish Experience in Mid-America, an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Swedish American artists in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. This colorful and emotive impressionist art reflects its own time, interprets nature and landscape, and is independent of artificial conventions while keeping Swedish folk traditions alive.

This exhibition features many Swedish artists who studied and absorbed the democratic philosophies of “art for all,” espoused by Anders Zorn and the Artist’s League. These young artists immigrated to America to forge new career paths. “Art for all” became a catchphrase in Kansas by the 1930s, stemming from efforts of local artists to offer affordable paintings and prints so that every citizen could have original art in their own homes for a richly cultured way of life.

“Art for All: The Swedish Experience in Mid-America” was conceived and developed by the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery and the Hillstrom Museum of Art.

Now through February 5, the Auto Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia is presenting the 2023 Philadelphia Auto Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, www.phillyautoshow.com).

The automotive industry’s latest creations are on display at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the annual Philadelphia Auto Show, running for nine days. Showgoers get an up-close look at hundreds of classic, luxury and exotic cars — and even have the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of some.

Spanning more than a half-million square feet, the 2023 Philadelphia Auto Show display floor will include several new features as well as time-honored fan favorites. This year marks the 121st edition of the event.

New for 2023 are a full, electric vehicle test track and the Ram Truck Territory, a 30,000-square-foot track featuring an off-road experience that simulates real life.

Guests will again be invited to check out the latest and greatest developments from some of today’s leading vehicle manufacturers in “The Showroom,” which will be in Halls A, B and C of the PA Convention Center.

Custom Alley will showcase a wide array of tricked-out rides, bikes and the latest in after-market excitement.

Ticket prices range from $11-$17.

“Banksy Was Here” was scheduled to run until January 31 at a location in Fashion District Philadelphia (901 Market Street, Philadelphia, banksyexpo.com/philadelphia/).

Fortunately, the exhibition’s stay in Philadelphia has now been extended until April 17.

“Banksy Was Here” features the work of elusive, anonymous street artist Banksy. It is an immersive, multisensory exhibit featuring original works, projections, virtual reality and more to plunge you into Banksy’s world.

“Banksy Was Here,” the “unauthorized exhibition” features a plethora of original works and installations, as well as interactivity, in galleries that pay homage to the artist’s themes, works, and sense of chaos, satire and controversy.

Banksy, the British artist whose identity is still unknown, is considered one of the main contemporary street art icons. In Philadelphia, an “unauthorized” Banksy’s exhibition lets visitors dive into the controversial artistic universe of the most influential creator of present time.

The exhibition will include over 80 original works, sculptures, installations, videos and photos including the now classics of the artist (presumed to be British). These pieces come from private collections and – with the collaboration of Lilley Fine Art / Contemporary Art Gallery – will be exhibited in Philadelphia for the first time.

Banksy is a pseudonymous England based street artist, political activist and film director whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and the subject of speculation. Active since the 1990s, his satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humor with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. His works of political and social commentary have appeared on streets, walls and bridges throughout the world.

Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Much of his work can be classified as temporary art.

“Banksy Was Here” is running now through April 17 in Fashion District Philadelphia. Timed tickets are $37.90 for adults (ages 13 and up), $28.90 for seniors, students and military and $22.90 for kids (ages 4-12).

There is also another popular destination in the Fashion District.

Wonderspaces at the Fashion District (27 North 11th Street, Philadelphia, philadelphia.wonderspaces.com) is an experiential, interactive arts venue.

Building on the success of annual pop-up shows in San Diego, and its first permanent location in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wonderspaces opened a 24,000 square foot gallery space in Philly a year ago.

Wonderspaces features 14 art installations that all play with the idea of perspective.  The artwork ranges from award-winning virtual reality short film about a dinner party-turned-alien abduction, to a room where visitors digitally paint the walls with the movement of their bodies.

New artworks rotate in every few months, creating an ever-evolving, year-round show.

Tickets are for entry at a specific date and time. Visitors are welcome to stay as long as they please during operating hours. The average time spent experiencing the show is 90 minutes.

A few installations contain flashing lights, images, and patterns that may trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. All visitors must sign a waiver prior to being admitted into the space. Adult supervision is required for visitors under 16.

Center City Parks District’s Rothman Orthopaedics Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park (1 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, http://ccdparks.org/dilworth-park) is open for the season.

In addition, a full lineup of free attractions are offered, including the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Cabin.

The Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park is an unparalleled entertainment experience on Philadelphia’s center stage in a wonderfully urban and unique setting. Open seven days a week, the rink offers wintery fun for all ages, with a full slate of programs.

Dilworth Park’s winter season will run until February 26.

Winter has arrived and the Blue Cross RiverRink (Delaware Avenue at Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-925-RINK, www.riverrink.com) has come back to life.

Unlike most of the suburban ice rinks, RiverRink features public skating. Ice skating is the only use of the ice. This winter, RiverRink takes the ice-skating experience on the Delaware River waterfront to another level by once again transforming the annual rink into a bona fide winter wonderland.

For 29 seasons, Winterfest has been Philadelphia’s favorite Winter tradition on the Delaware River Waterfront, inviting visitors for a chance to indulge in flights of fancy under thousands of sparkling lights in a winter wonderland with spectacular views of the Delaware River. Cozy up in comforting warming cabins, firepit stations, boardwalk rides and games for the young and young-at-heart, delicious food and hot beverages, the signature holiday tree, and, of course, ice skating on our NHL-sized rink. Winterfest is a top destination for anyone looking to rekindle family traditions.

The Winterfest site is free to enter and open to the public. Amenities such as ice skating and cabin and firepit experiences can be reserved in advance. Winterfest is open seven days a week including holidays through March 5.

If you’re looking for a fun family activity – an indoor activity unaffected by the weather — Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.com) has something just for you — the miniature golf course “Fore! the Planet.”

Linvilla Orchard’s “Fore! The Planet” 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 nine unique educational holes explore butterfly metamorphosis, a tropical rain forest, evolution, dinosaur extinction, food chains, and more. It’s perfect for kids of all ages. The entire family will enjoy playing miniature golf while learning about our environment – every step of the way.

The mini-course is open daily from 9 a.m. -5 p.m. through March 26. Tickets are $5.

Sesame Place (100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, www.sesameplace.com) may be closed for park rides and activities but there’s still furry fun to be had.

This weekend’s special event will be “Elmo’s Rockin’ Birthday Dine” on February 4 and 5. It is the fourth of five themed dining experiences throughout January and February.

It’s Elmo’s birthday and he’s throwing a rockin’ party.

Guests are invited to bring a monster appetite and enjoy a delectable buffet and funky desserts as they rock out to the music with birthday boy Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Zoe, and Cookie Monster.

There will also be a special meet and greet on the way into “Elmo’s Rockin’ Birthday Dine.”

Upcoming special dining events are “Elmo’s Rockin’ Birthday Dine” this weekend and “My Fuzzy Valentine Dine” on February 11 and 12.

Theme park admission and parking fees are not required for entry.

Tickets for the dining events are $44.99 (ages 10 and older) and $24.99 for children (ages 2-9). Advanced dining reservation is required.

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia (215-413-1997, www.ghosttour.com), Ghost Tour of Lancaster (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) and Ghost Tour of Strasburg (717-687-6687, www.ghosttour.com) operate throughout the winter and offer an eerily entertaining evening of true ghost stories and real haunted houses.

The Ghost Tour of Philadelphia, which is based on the book, “Ghost Stories of Philadelphia, PA.,” is a candlelight walking tour along the back streets and secret gardens of Independence Park, Society Hill, and Old City, where ghostly spirits, haunted houses, and eerie graveyards abound.

Participants can discover the ghost lore of America’s most historic and most haunted city with stories from the founding of William Penn’s colony to present-day hauntings.

The activity is open year-round – weekends, December-February; every night, March-November. Tickets are $24.

The Ghost Tour of Lancaster and the Ghost Tour of Strasburg are based on the book, “Ghost Stories of Lancaster, PA.”

Participants in the Ghost Tour of Lancaster explore the long-forgotten mysteries of one of America’s oldest cities, with haunting tales of otherworldly vigils, fatal curses, and star-crossed lovers. The tour provides the opportunity to experience 300 years of haunted history from the Red Rose City’s thorny past. Tickets are $20.

The Ghost Tour of Strasburg is a candlelight walking tour of the quaint and historic town of Strasburg in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Visitors will experience an entertaining evening with a costumed tour guide spinning tales of haunted mansions, eerie graveyards, and spirits that roam the night … in a town lost in time. Tickets are $20.

Grim Philly’s “Dark Philly History Tour” (www.grimphilly.com) will be held every evening throughout the winter.

Participants can walk with tour guides from the grounds of America’s first White House, Congress, and Liberty Bell to homes and sites of Hamilton, Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and more than 10 other Founding-Fathers. The surprising dirt of espionage, murder, sexual license and blackmail highlight the secrets of 1776 with a ghost story or two along the way. This tour is highly researched. And your guide is a historian.

Tickets are $35.

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