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Rhododendron Heritage Hybrid

Heritage Museums and Gardens

Under regular circumstances Cape Cod for me is merely a jumping off point, a link for getting from the end of the ferry ride to my final destination. But last week with time to kill and a gentle recommendation from a friend, (WHAT? You’ve never been there? You HAVE to go!) my husband and I took a short detour off of Rt. 6 and made our way to Heritage Museums and Gardens (formerly known as Heritage Plantation) in Sandwich.  It was one of the first sunny days in weeks and we took full advantage by being outdoors.

Heritage Museums and Gardens is comprised of about 100 acres of trees and shrubs, featuring designed gardens, historically replicated buildings, stunning daylilies, remarkable rhododendrons, and fall and winter color. We were a little early for the huge Rhododendron display which starts in May, but we saw a few very early bloomers.  The February Rhododendron, R praevernum, was just coming out of bloom, while one simply named R Heritage Hybrid, was just beginning.  Hundreds of other rhododendrons’ buds were beginning to swell and I decided right then and there that Heritage Plantation would become a regular stopping point on our trips. And then we stumbled upon the three story tree house overlooking ‘Hidden Hollow.’ Families with young children will appreciate this. 

From their website…
Hidden Hollow is a place for families to play in and explore the natural world. Hidden Hollow features a wide range of activity areas in which families can enjoy the outdoors together. Nestled in a two-acre dry kettle hole, its unique topography offers a stimulating and beautiful outdoor setting for discovery and learning.

Hidden Hollow is one of New England’s first certified Nature Explore Classrooms, a joint program of National Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. This national initiative was developed to advance the understanding and appreciation of the natural world and to provide children with meaningful and positive experiences with nature.

Children can climb stepping stumps, navigate log balance beams, construct forts, create nature-inspired art, build with blocks, dig in sand, experiment with water, make music, engage in sensory investigation with plants, and more.

On our way back to the car, we ran into one of my favorite garden writers and speakers, C.L. Fornari ( who is working on her three part presentation “The New American Garden” that she’s presenting at Heritage this month.

Next time you have some time to kill on the Cape, head to Heritage Museums and Gardens. It’s a very nice break from your travels. Personally, I’m planning a few day trips to see this place during several different seasons.