From Apps to “Art-chitecture”
Things to see and do for all ages at Longue Vue House and Gardens
You may not immediately recognize the names Edith and Edgar Stern, but I’m confident that you’re familiar with one or more of their many contributions to our city. If you’ve heard of Dillard University, Metairie Park Country Day School, Newcomb Nursery School or Longue Vue House and Gardens, then you’ve heard about some of the philanthropic endeavors of the Sterns. Recipients of The Times-Picayune Loving Cup awards in 1930 and ’64, the Sterns began building the beautiful house at 7 Bamboo Road in the late ’30s and named it Longue Vue after the location of their marriage engagement, the Longue Vue teahouse on the Hudson River in New York.
Longue Vue isn’t only a testament to the Sterns’ love of beautiful architecture and exquisite gardens, but it’s also a testimony to their commitment to the education of children. An admission ticket grants you access to 12 rooms on the first floor and nine rooms on the second floor of the main house, and 14 garden destinations. If this sounds a bit overwhelming and you want to be certain that you don’t miss the Wrapping Room, the Blue Room or the Drawing Room, I highly recommend the Longue Vue App; that’s right, as rooted in tradition and history as Longue Vue is, it also offers the modern convenience of a free app for iPhones and androids. With approximately eight acres to explore, you’ll appreciate the benefit of tour tips from the assistant curator and the head groundskeeper right on your phone.
Not to take anything away from touring the house and the gardens, but the real treasure of Longue Vue, in my opinion, lies in the special events on their calendar and the many educational opportunities offered. The website offers a detailed monthly outline of the children’s activities available. You can find the specific days and times for the Kinder Garden, Little Masters and Little Diggers. Kinder Garden offers tots 18 months to 3 years old and their accompanying adult the chance to play, sing and dig in the Discovery Garden. These workshops don’t require pre-registration, so if your baby wakes up cranky, your plan for the day can easily change! For the slightly older set, kids 2 1/2 to 5 years old, Little Masters offers the chance to sketch and draw in the beauty of the outdoor garden with stretching and yoga incorporated into the experience. You will also notice that the calendar denotes special seasonal events. Since Easter is right around the corner, you won’t want to miss the always-popular Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 21. The members-only hour is from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., with public hours beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are available online. Either way, your little ones are sure to head home with an overflowing basket.
Of course, Longue Vue offers engaging and interesting field trips for class groups of grades Pre-K to fifth grade in the Outdoor Classroom, and grades first-12th in the historic house. They also offer workshops specifically designed for the Girl Scout set. The activities range from “Etiquette Teas” for the Daisy troops, to “Insect Investigations” for the Junior troops, to “Tree Naturalist” workshops for the Girl Scout Cadettes. Participants can earn the “bug badge” and the “gardener badge” as well as the “Longue Vue” badge.
Longue Vue is also a unique place to host your child’s birthday party. Parties take place on Saturdays and Sundays in the Discovery Center, with activities for children ranging in age from 2 to 10. You may also want to consider Longue Vue as a fun, unique summer camp option. They offer seven one-week sessions, each with a different theme such as “A Bug’s Life”, “Exploratory Photography” and “Art-chitecture”. Registration for Longue Vue members is underway and begins for non-members on March 2.
Longue Vue is one of the most serene and peaceful places in the city, but don’t be fooled. There is a vast multitude of things to do and see for all ages. Workshop and event descriptions, age groups, prices and registration information are available on the website LongueVue.com.