Adventuring | Lilypons Water Gardens
I’m all about experimenting. So in that spirit, I’m going to try a new column here on Classic Play called Adventuring. Something slightly more organized and in-depth than the Weekending in Pictures thing I typically do. This is evolving. In fact, after I wrote the piece, I realized the format is a bit unusual. I’m not sure where I’ll take it eventually, but that’s kind of what adventuring is all about isn’t it?
So what’s the premise? Right now, I hope to take you to some of the off-the-beaten-path places we go. I’m sure I’ll throw in some well known ones too (I have a ton of photos from the Philadelphia Museum of Art I can’t wait to share). The idea is to discover adventure and wonder in unlikely places.
Ready? I’m kind of anxious. Let’s see where this thing takes us…
It’s a bright, sunny, and surprisingly warm afternoon. We passed the city of Frederick, Maryland about ten minutes ago and now find ourselves on a two lane road lined with fields and cows. There are mountains in the distance.
“Kids, you’re missing all this.”
One of them looks up briefly from the book she’s been glued to for the last 30 minutes. “Oh yeah. Nice.” Eyes straight back to the page.
“It’s really is beautiful out here,” I sigh. For a moment I let my mind wander. I imagine my life on a great big farm—getting up in the morning, feeding the, whatever it is we’re raising. I’d be as comfortable wearing an apron as I was driving a tractor. I’d drink sweet tea and fresh squeezed lemonade.
Oh who am I kidding? I’d never survive on a farm. The work is way too hard. And I freak out just looking at heavy machinery. That stuff is intimidating. Tell me you haven’t looked a John Deere in the eye and said to yourself, “Let me move out of its path a bit more. You know, just in case it turns on spontaneously.” I say a silent prayer thanking the universe for farmers, because Lord knows we’d all die of starvation if I was in charge of food.
The car travels along. The road is straight and the sky goes on forever. I think I’ve seen this view in a movie somewhere. There’s a guy on the side of the road chopping down trees. Wait, is this Twin Peaks? I’ll know in a minute if we all start talking backwards.
There’s a turn up ahead. Lilypons Road.
We exit the car and meet up with my parents, sister, her husband and my nephews for an early Mother’s Day celebration.
First stop, the bright pink house that serves as store, and at one time, post office. Out front, the kids swing in metal rockers. Dave and contemplate a set for our front porch. I sit down in the large glider with my six-year-old.
“Actually, I’m a little sea sick. Is it supposed to rock that this?”
“No, that’s how a six year old rocks it.”
“Ah,” I said, getting up.
We enter the shop. The inside is small and most of it appears to be used for stock. Tucked away in one corner is a cold case with bottles of old fashioned soda and water. I make a mental note to grab a orange cream on the way out.
While most of Lilypons Water Gardens features large ponds filled with, you guessed it, water lilies, there are a few display gardens showcasing the company’s work. Today the display gardens are infested with tiny gnats. They’re swarming like mad around our heads. Our hands are swatting them away. But the gnats know we lost the battle as soon as we entered their territory. I’m wishing I had remembered bug spray.
“Ack! What is with these bugs?”
“Can we go home?”
“Ugh! The bugs.”
“I was hoping to breathe in Monet and all I’m getting is essence of insect.”
The display gardens were stunning, almost worth the gnat assault. Had I packed some citronella spray, things would have been more enjoyable. [note: keep some citronella spray handy.]
We left the displays and the gnats and headed out to the large ponds.
“Watch out for frogs and snakes.”
“Uh oh,” said my son. “That’s not good news for you, is it?”
“I’ll try my best to be brave if I see any snakes,” I said.
“I’ll hold your hand in case you get scared.”
The sun is getting hot so we try to find some shade. We head over to the Koi tanks. There we find snails, pond plants and tadpoles that resemble aliens from outer space. The kids are equally grossed out and mesmerized.
“Hey, what’s that floating pavilion thing over there?”
“Let’s see,” said our girl before she took off in a full on sprint. “The sign says you can feed the fish. Can we? Please? Please? Please?”
“Dave, do you have a dollar? I’ll go back into the shop to get the food.”
“It’s like a Japanese painting.”
“This is so cool!”
“ACK! Don’t climb up there like that!”
In the distance a shape is moving towards us. It’s large. Too large to be a koi.
“Hey, it’s one of those giant snapping turtles. I swear those things get to be huge.”
A beast of a turtle surfaces.
“Whoa. Did you see how big that thing is. Look at the shadow.”
“Okay.” My voice has risen a few octaves.
The beast dives down. Seconds later, we feel the platform shift.
“Whoa. Okay, that was fun. I think it’s time to go.” Why yes, I am a big old scaredy cat. Also? I’m not interested in losing a foot to a snapping turtle today. I checked my to do list and it’s not on there.
We head to the car. I’ve had enough adventure for today.
“So, what was your favorite part of today?”
“Feeding the fish. That was AWESOME!”
“Definitely feeding the fish and turtles.”
“Check that out, all that entertainment for the cost of a scenic drive and a $1 bag of fish food. I’d say that’s a score.”
“Absolutely. So? Where we headed next?”
Lilypons Water Gardens
6800 Lily Pons Road
Adamstown, Maryland 21710
Spring: 9 am to 6 pm
Summer: 10 am to 5 pm
from Washington DC 1 hour 20 minutes
from Baltimore MD 1 hour 10 minutes
Be sure to bring along citronella or non toxic/organic spray! Don’t want to hurt the fishes, frogs, and turtles, both small and those big honkin’ ones.