Earlier this week, Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum officially opened to the public for its 2022 season. As one of the most scenic stops alongside the Delaware River, all 65 acres will hold free range for visitors to explore this spring—but there’s a bit more to look forward too.
Andalusia is located 13 miles from Philadelphia, and the land and the estate once belonged to the Biddle family. Their 19th-century Greek Revival home is currently surrounded by stunning, native woodlands and spectacular formal gardens, but the land and what it holds date back to the 18th Century.
By using a map, guests can follow their own lead on self-guided tours ($20.) Throughout the course of April and May, trees and flowers in bloom will pass through different stages, so the experience may be very different from week to week. The Andalusia Foundation was established in 1980 to preserve and maintain the grounds that are home to more than 800 trees, including nearly 250 unique specimens and cultivars from around the world. The estate’s natural beauty has been carefully curated over the generations to include an expansive collection of floral and plant life.
A spring highlight includes the blooming and fragrant crab apple trees in the Graperies, noticeable thanks to the tall stone wall covered in purple wisteria.The Woodland Walk also offers a peek at daffodils that are said to brighten the wooded floor each spring. The Easter Gardens are another fan favorite, boasting an array of blossoming magnolias, redbuds, and tulips designed to be at their peak this time of year.
It can all be the backdrop to an outdoor lunch if you wish as well. According to a release, Andalusia highly encourages guests to pack a picnic basket and settle among the gardens, or along the riverbank, for a blissful afternoon recess. They are also encouraged to explore the exterior architecture and design of the “Big House.” Guests who wish to see the interior can purchase tickets for guided tours of the Big House beforehand online.
Speaking of tours, Andalusia Historic House Gardens and Arboretum also offers public tours of the gardens and the Big House (you have the option to roam throughout both) Mondays through Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (excluding holidays.) These specific tours will run until Nov. 2, and come out to be $30 a person. In addition, Andalusia will host six Open Saturdays, offering the public opportunities to enjoy the gardens and grounds during the weekends (with tours offered from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.) Upcoming dates include May 21, June 4, Sept. 17, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. Visitors must purchase tickets for public tours and Open Saturdays in advance from the Andalusia website, and all tickets are free for children 12 and under.
There’s another way to experience the beauty of Andalusia as well, and it involves bubbles.
The venue also offers a Champagne Garden Tour. As a release states, on June 4 and Sept. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., guests will be treated to a glass of champagne and light refreshments on the grand porch of the Big House. Kristin Biddle will provide a guided tour of the formal gardens before bringing you back to the Big House for time to relax while overlooking the Delaware River or stroll The River Walk. Champagne Garden Tour tickets are $65 per person; access to the “Big House” is not included.
However there a few ways to customize your visit to the grounds and you and your group can plan your visit around these highlights, including herbaceous perennials and bulbs: daffodils, tulips, Virginia Bluebell, Lily of the Valley, peonies, and more; shrubs: a variety of rhododendron, lilac, roses, wisteria, hydrangea, and more; trees: pink flowering dogwoods, Japanese Cherry, Southern Magnolia, fringe tree, and more.
For more information on Andalusia Historic House, Gardens and Arboretum (1237 State Road, Andalusia) visit andalusiapa.org