Situated in the beautiful garden state of Pennsylvania, Chanticleer is described as “a pleasure garden.” Whilst I had a giggle over this somewhat quirky term, I must admit that I did derive a whole lot of pleasure out of my visit.
Chanticleer is around an hour from Philadelphia in a beautiful green belt. Driving through small towns and country roads to find it was an enjoyable experience in itself. Situated in a obviously wealthy area, it is neighbored by huge stately homes which rise out of immaculately manicured and expansive lawns. Beautiful lawns are everywhere here and I’m sure local garden maintenance businesses do a thriving trade.
We nearly missed the entrance to Chanticleer as it’s somewhat hidden behind a garden wall, and the driveway itself was nothing out of the ordinary. Once I caught sight of the size of the car park however I knew I was in for a bit of a treat.
Chanticleer dates back to the early 20th century when many homes in this region were built as summer retreats. What a great way to escape the hustle and bustle, and summer heat, of Philadelphia. The Rosengarten family who were prominent in the pharmaceutical industry later moved to this idyllic location full time.
The house itself has a decidedly European flavour which extends into the garden. Landscape architect Thomas Sears designed the terraces to be extensions of the house and there are so many gorgeous places to sit and enjoy the fantastic views that it is hard to stay still for long. I must say the gardens rambling alongside the house, and potted displays on the terraces were among my favourite features of this garden. It was a little like being on a movie set of a classic old film. You could just image a woman in a huge sweeping gown about to appear at the French doors.
The gardens have a great mix to offer. With sweeping lawns that replicate expansive parklands through to private nooks in which you can hide away, there is something for just about everyone. One thing I noticed immediately is the good array of seating placed strategically around the garden. Visitors are encouraged to relax as if it’s their own backyard.
The seating in this garden really worked to draw attention to the fact it was a place to linger. It was also placed to secure shade for guests and deliver the best views of the surrounds. There was a quirky range of seats from traditional garden benches, handcrafted timber chairs, garish plastic settings and low slung benches.
A large vegetable patch, native woodlands, a lake and Japanese style section were all memorable. Upon purchasing our tickets, one of the garden volunteers told us to “make sure you visit the toilets in the Japanese section.” And yes – they were pretty good toilets by public standards!
A tip if you visit – bring a picnic or have lunch beforehand. There is nothing available to purchase at the gardens, however the town of Wayne is only 5 minutes down the road. A picnic is your best bet though, as you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer location to while away a day. Oh, and make sure you check out the opening hours as the garden is not open every day of the week (Visit Chanticleer – a pleasure garden)