By Tara Smith, Historic Kennett Square
Kennett Square has long been celebrated for its quintessential small-town charm. The combination of tree-lined streets shading beautifully maintained historic buildings, a diverse array of award-winning restaurants and small retail shops, and its proximity to celebrated attractions like Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum have always made Kennett Square a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
“As Chester County reopens safely in the green phase, now is the perfect time for daytrippers and staycationers alike to explore Kennett Square,” says Historic Kennett Square’s Main Street Manager Claire Murray. “Combining a visit to Longwood Gardens or the Brandywine River Museum with a stop in Kennett Square for lunch or dinner and some shopping makes for a great day out. We’re finding that people are appreciating in a new way the small pleasures they’ve missed during the shutdown, and our vibrant small town offers many of these, in addition to a warm and safe welcome.”
Without the crowds and long lines that greet those coming out of quarantine elsewhere, Kennett Square offers safely spaced outdoor dining (including tables on a closed block of State Street through the weekends) in addition to many options for takeout, great coffee, an art gallery, and shopping. “Our small business owners have demonstrated exemplary care in adhering to safety guidelines, and many have also pivoted their business models to make sure that everyone stays safe,” says Murray. Examples include a “drive through” shopping model at WorKS and private shopping appointment options at many boutiques in addition to a safely distanced Farmers Market on Friday afternoons. Historic Kennett Square is maintaining an updated list with opening hours and options for shopping at local businesses.
Another welcome piece of news for Kennett Square and foodies everywhere is that Talula’s Table is once again serving their renowned farm table dinners. The year-in-advance “toughest reservation in America,” according to Vogue, is for the moment not quite so tough. Reservations are filling up quickly but are still available for this coveted experience, now safely distanced but still delicious. “The fact that Talula’s, one of the businesses that put Kennett Square on the map, is fully open again, in addition to Longwood Gardens, trails, and of course all of our diverse small businesses, is a really hopeful sign at this point in our reopening process,” says Bo Wright, Executive Director of Historic Kennett Square.
“It has been wonderful to welcome people back to the beauty of Longwood,” says Patricia Evans, Director, Communications at Longwood Gardens. “Our guests are loving being able to stroll our 400 acres, breathe the fresh air, and see the wonders of nature first hand, like our amazing titan arum (corpse flower)! Longwood has always been a safe and beautiful place of respite and inspiration for our community, and our guests are appreciating that now more than ever.” Tickets must be purchased in advance online as there are no onsite sales, and all Member levels, excluding Premium Members, must make an online reservation prior to visiting, says Evans.
“The Kennett community—including individuals, corporate sponsors, and the Longwood Foundation—has rallied to support our local small businesses through the Historic Kennett Square Small Business Response Fund,” says Wright. With matching funds from Square Roots Collective, this fund has given over 40 grants to Kennett businesses in its first round in June and is now accepting donations and applications for its second round. “Kennett Square is happy to welcome people back to enjoy this place we love and have been fighting hard to preserve throughout the challenging months of the shutdown.”
Kennett Square offers many diverse dining options in addition to Talula’s, many with outdoor seating. Kennett Brewing Company, Braeloch Brewing, and The Creamery are all offering outdoor seating, and the well-loved rooftop at Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen is also open again. The town voted Best Suburban Shopping Destination in 2019 is open, says Murray, and ready to help whether you’re treating yourself to a new outfit or accessory from one of Kennett Square’s many boutiques, a new piece of art or pottery or even a painting class from Square Pear Gallery, a great new summer read from the Kennett Bookhouse, home décor from Marché or WorKS, an outdoor yoga class, or tea from the popular Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop, home of Mrs. Robinson’s now-famous “Spilling the Tea” videos. For those who prefer combining work with pleasure, there’s even a brand-new (and kid-free) coworking space perfect for a day out for the house-bound teleworker. “The best view in Kennett Square is from our porch,” says Work2gether owner Nick Winkler.
“Everywhere, and especially in Kennett Square,” says Murray, “simple pleasures are a big deal these days.”