If you're looking for old-fashioned summer fun, Rockwood's Ice Cream Festival is sure to fill the bill. Now in its 13th year, the festival will be held July 8-9 at Rockwood Museum in Wilmington, Del., a turn-of-the-century manor house of rural Gothic design set on 72 wooded acres.
Upon entering the grounds, you step back in time to the Victorian age. A hot-air balloon, high-wheel bicycles, period games, calliope music, band concerts and Victorian fashions are part of the scene at this Victorian fair, where amusements are planned for all ages.
A new feature this year is Cooley's Extraordinary Music Machines, a collection of antique crank organs, calliopes, music boxes, symphoniums and hurdy-gurdies. Their sounds will be heard throughout the fair.
"Unlacing the Victorian Woman," a one-woman show about the complications of dressing in the Victorian age, will be presented twice daily. Other new features include: a Victorian fashion show, a ladies side-saddle exhibition, a four-in-hand coaching exhibit and a Rain Room where you can relax and cool off when the weather becomes uncomfortable.
Antique dealers will set up shop on the lawn along with juried Victorian crafts people. From the main bandstand you will hear the Dukes of Jazz and a barbershop quartet on Sunday. The Wheelmen will be riding their high-wheeled bicycles, and glass blowers from Wheaton Village be there, too.
Children will enjoy the puppet shows, games, face painting, a wandering clown, the Brandywine Traveling Zoo and Bonnie the Cow. Fried chicken, crab cakes and other picnic fare will be sold and, of course, ice cream with no less than 29 flavors to choose from.
Admission, which includes a tour of the mansion's first floor, is $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; $2 for ages 5 to 16; free for under 5. Visitors should park at Merchants Square on Governor Printz Boulevard and Edgemoor Road (Exit 9 off Interstate 95). There's free parking and shuttle service to the festival. For information, // call (302) 761-4340.
Fountains at Longwood
Nearby, the Festival of Fountains, the summer display at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., is in full swing through Sept. 30.
Summer at Longwood features more than 1,700 fountains. Many are in the three fountain gardens, where water flows from 9:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. with five-minute shows at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., (except on fireworks evenings, scheduled July 14, Aug. 11, Aug. 25 and Sept. 8). Tickets to fireworks shows must be bought in advance. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights the fountains are synchronized to music and illuminated with colored lights.
During the festival, close to 50 performances are scheduled -- music ranging from classical to jazz, Celtic, country and bluegrass, and theater, dance and programs for children. Family entertainment at Ice Cream Concerts includes a sing-along with Kevin Roth July 11; a production of "Snow White" by Montana's Missoula Children's Theatre Aug. 10 and "Rock Roots with David Fry," a musical program tracing the evolution of rock and roll Aug. 17.
Other highlights include "My Fair Lady" by the Brandywiners Ltd. July 27-29 and Aug. 3-5, Doris Humphrey's Repertory Dance Company Aug. 15; and "Victory! Salute to the Allies," featuring the Kennett Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Field Band and cannons Aug. 12.
Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, when the garden and conservatories remain open until at least one half hour after the evening fountain show ends.
Admission is $8 for adults; ($6 on Tuesdays), $4 for ages 16 to 20; $1 for ages 6 to 15; free for under 6. Admission prices for 1995 are reduced because of renovations in two of Longwood's 20 indoor garden displays. The gardens are on U.S. Route 1, three miles northeast of Kennett Square. Call (610) 388-1000.
Fair for Fourth
The Piedmont Environmental Council will hold its fourth annual Family Fair July 4, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Airlie Conference Center just north of Warrenton, Va.
Guest speakers will give presentations on current conservation issues, such as designing a garden to attract butterflies, the current state of the ozone layer and keeping a farm profitable. But fun is the order of the day, and there are activities for every member of the family: nature walks, crafts, thatching and sheep-dog demonstrations, a silent auction, international award-winning nature films, beagle demonstration, a vintage tractor, a car and airplane show.
For children, there are the Dino-Rock puppet show, a mime, live rain-forest animals, a petting zoo, face painting, miniature horses, hay and tractor rides, a student art contest and other attractions. Food and beverages will be sold on the grounds. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per carload.
The center is situated on a 3,000-acre tract filled with gardens, lakes and fields that are home to endangered swans and other wildlife. Take U.S. 15 south or Interstate 66 west to U.S. 29 south (Gainesville/Warrenton exit). Then turn right on Route 605 (marked Airlie) and drive about two miles to the main entrance. Call (703) 347-2334.
Honoring two Lees
The public will be welcomed free of charge on July 4 at Stratford Hall Plantation in Stratford, Va. The open-house celebration honors Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, the only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Considered one of the finest house museums in the country, Stratford is the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and home of earlier Lee family members, many of whom were instrumental in the nation's founding.
The day's events include blacksmithing and open-hearth cooking demonstrations, presentations on Stratford's slave quarters, children's games, period dances and archaeology tours. Light refreshments will be served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the dining room will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Stratford is located on the Potomac River, off Virginia Route 3 on state Route 214. Call (804) 493-8038 or (804) 493-8371 weekends and holidays.
Ash Lawn-Highland, the estate of President James Monroe outside Charlottesville, Va., is the setting for the 18th annual Summer Festival of the Arts. All events take place in the famous Boxwood Gardens, or under a tent, if it rains.
To celebrate America's artistic heritage, the festival offers a wide range of performances ranging from opera to jazz, along with puppets and storytellers for children.
The big productions are "The Barber of Seville" July 2, July 26, July 30, Aug. 2, Aug. 6 and Aug. 11; "The King and I" July 8-9, July 15-16, July 25, July 27, July 29, Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Aug. 5, Aug. 8, Aug. 10 and Aug. 12; and "La Tragedie de Carmen," adapted from the Bizet opera by Peter Brook, July 22-23, July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 9 and Aug. 13. The operas are fully staged and sung in English. All shows begin at 7 p.m. with a 45-minute intermission for a picnic supper. To order a picnic, call (804) 972-2220 by 1 p.m. on the day of performance. Tickets cost $17 for adults; $16 for seniors; $12 for students on Saturdays; $16 for adults; $15 for seniors and $10 for students on other days.
A Music at Twilight series takes place on Wednesdays through July 19 at 8 p.m. The remaining dates feature master jazz drummer Robert Jospe on July 5; the music of Broadway on July 12; and a Mostly Mozart program July 19. Tickets cost $10 for adults; $9 for seniors: $6 for students.
Summer Saturdays offer entertainment for families in the form of music, drama and puppetry on five Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. July 8 through Aug. 5. Admission is $4. Guests are invited to bring a picnic lunch.
Ash Lawn is located near Interstate 64 and U.S. 250, 2 1/2 miles past Jefferson's Monticello on county Route 795. Call (804) 293-9539 or the box office at (804) 979-0122.