Washington to Philadelphia, New York, Rhode Island, & finish in Boston. Visit private gardens, historic homes & gardens & grand public spaces, built by the rich & famous in spectacular style. Longwood, Winterthur, Chanticleer, Dumbarton Oaks & the ‘Summer’ cottages on Newport Rhode Island; it’s an extravagant ride.
Meet your Tour Leader Sandra Ross at Sydney International Airport. Late evening arrival into Washington. Check in to your boutique hotel for the next 4 nights.
Orientation tour of Washington this morning. This afternoon two fine public gardens – United States Botanic Garden & Arlington Cemetery to see the changing of the guard ritual at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Welcome dinner included tonight.
Mt Vernon is your destination this morning, on the banks of the Potomac River; the home, garden and plantation of George Washington with upper and lower gardens, flower and kitchen gardens, Orangery, family burial vaults and slave graves. You will get a real sense of a pioneering, energetic, eighteenth century man and his gardens. River Farm is next, on the Potomac River, once part of the of George Washington’s original five farms, now headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. Return to your hotel with dinner included this evening and then a tour of the famous Washington Monuments, all illuminated, including US Capitol Building, World War 2 Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, White House and Martin Luther King Junior Memorial.
Morning visit to Dumbarton Oaks, once the home of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss who found their ideal country house and garden within Washington, DC in 1920. They purchased a fifty-three-acre property and hired landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand to design the gardens. Working in happy and close collaboration for almost thirty years, Mildred Bliss and Beatrix Farrand planned every garden detail, each terrace, bench, urn and border. The result is a triumph in garden design; terraces are sculpted with grass, brick, mosaic pebbles and planting. In 1941 Dumbarton Oaks was donated to Harvard University and is faithfully maintained. Travel on to Philadelphia.
Travel into the nearby Brandywine Valley to Longwood Gardens, a horticultural tour-de-force, recalling the great pleasure gardens of Europe. Gardens here were created by Pierre du Pont who laid out the first flower garden at Longwood in 1907 and went on to create water gardens and fountain displays to rival anything he had seen in Europe; 434 ha of complex gardens, 20 indoor gardens in elegant glass conservatories and spectacular illuminated fountains. After a guided orientation tour of the gardens, there will be time for lunch and free time for you to explore. Fountains have been restored – so we won’t miss them.
Back to Brandywine this morning and this time to visit Winterthur, home and garden of Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969). He selected plants from around the world to enhance the natural setting. He created a flowering understory of rhododendrons and azaleas beneath a woodland canopy and was meticulous with colour planning. Close to the house is Sundial garden, Reflecting Pool and Peony Garden that serve to link the house with the wider landscape. Lunch included.
We are heading to New York with a morning visit Chanticleer, a “pleasure garden” designed to illustrate the beauty of the art of horticulture. The summer home and country retreat of Adolph Rosengarten. See the Ruin Garden,‘Old Tennis Court’ garden, Pond Garden, Gravel Garden, Teacup Garden and Cutting Garden. Continue to New York, check-in to your hotel, for the next four nights, centrally located in the heart of the city a short walk from Central Park, Carnegie Hall, Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Dinner is included this evening.
Morning visit to the widely acclaimed ‘High Line’, an urban green space built on an old railway line, elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side with views of the city to the Hudson River. Focus is practical and aesthetic. Piet Oudolf designed planting schemes, with trees and verdant gardens. Free afternoon; option to visit Chelsea Market Manhattan, a great place to eat as well as shop, a true New York experience.
A guided tour this morning of Central Park designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, with attractions spread throughout its 843 acres of landscape. There are sprawling waters, green meadows, bridges, performance space, educational facilities, Central Park Zoo and Wildlife Centre, gardens and classical architecture. But above all else, this is a recreation space for the people of New York, one of the busiest cities in the world. The Conservatory Gardens are magical when the crab apples and the wisteria pergola are in bloom. There are three gardens, one on either side of the central wisteria-pergola garden. Bryant Park is delightful with sophisticated gardens flanking a large lawn and throngs of joyful New Yorkers on countless ‘French’ bistro chairs. Free afternoon.
We are heading to Providence, capital of the State of Rhode Island, a quintessential New England town. Morning visit to Hollister House and garden in the
English Arts and Crafts style. Travel on to Providence. Dinner included this evening.
Morning visit to the Newport Flower Show, presented in the Marble House (1888-1892), built for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt in the ‘Beaux Arts style’, an eclectic style of architecture inspired by classic architecture and promoted by American graduates of the École des Beaux Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Paris. The style was popular in the late 19th century among America’s wealthy industrialists. On show will be floral designs, garden displays, horticulture exhibits, shopping opportunities, lectures and demonstrations. Free time in Newport for lunch. Afternoon visit The Breakers, the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in the Gilded Age. Take the scenic Ocean Drive, 10 miles of commanding coastline before we return to Providence.
A coastal Rhode Island garden this morning, The Sakonnet Garden, private and highly individual, with unique design ideas, superb plant selection and exquisite planting schemes. Travel in to Boston this afternoon with a walking tour of the Old Town. Check in to our hotel.
Morning visit to Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History and the Glass Flower collection. Guided walk of Boston’s Historic Emerald Necklace, an 1,100-acre chain of green spaces. Visit Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Interior courtyard is an astonishing work of art. Farewell Dinner this evening.
Free morning. Fly from Boston to Los Angeles then on to your home port.
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