Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Not but 20 minutes away from West Chester University is an enchanting place where thousands of tiny lights illuminate the nighttime sky.

The name of this magical location is none other than Longwood Gardens. I had the opportunity over winter break to go to “A Longwood Christmas” with my boyfriend, Matt.

The experience was, needless to say, breathtaking.

The easiest way to make the Longwood Gardens experience effortless is by purchasing your tickets ahead of time. Matt and I printed out our tickets at home and this made things a lot less hectic once we arrived at our designated time.

Walking into the entrance of Longwood was a little overwhelming to say the least. There were multiple lines of people waiting to purchase tickets and enter the exhibit, so the claustrophobic part of me was relieved when all we had to do was hand our tickets in and be on our way.

The website even offers a student discount, which is something all frugal college kids love to see.

Once we entered the exhibit, though, I honestly forgot about everything else that was on my mind.

The crowds, the absence of white and pillowy snow, and even the slightly absurd concession stand prices ($4 for a cupcake, seriously?) all disappeared once I saw for the first time what everyone had been raving about.
The outdoor exhibit was huge, so even though there were a lot of other people walking around, it never felt too crowded.

We walked the lit pathways and took in all of the beauty of each display. Entire trees were covered meticulously in Christmas lights in colors ranging from bright red and green to multicolor. We then arrived at a couple of these cabin-like houses that you could walk through and get a better look at the overall exhibit. Every once in a while we passed a Christmas tree that had been decorated with a theme in mind, like “White Christmas” or something to the liking.

Other notable checkpoints in the exhibit included a model train setup and a huge indoor greenhouse.
But I would have to say that my favorite part of the experience was seeing the fields of lit-up tree trunks.
It turned something mundane that we as Pennsylvanians take for granted (rows upon rows of trees) and made it something worth remembering.

So next time the winter months roll around, make sure to place “A Longwood Christmas” on your to-do list.
At such a short distance from West Chester, it is not only a convenient and affordable trip, but one that will leave you feeling warm on the inside.

Rachel Alfiero is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in Latin American studies. She can be reached at Her Twitter is @alfieroperson.

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