. . . Celebrate Mother's Day Without Brunch

For life at the manor, take a tour of Richmond's Virginia House, followed by tea.
For life at the manor, take a tour of Richmond's Virginia House, followed by tea. (Virginia Historical Society)
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mother's Day is May 14 and guess who'll be planning it? Not Mom. So what to do? Breakfast in bed? If only someone else would make it. Restaurant brunches? How any-Sunday. Think beyond the Beltway -- there are many ways to get Mom out of the house for a day and a night she'll remember. Here are five to consider.

-- Margaret Roth

1. GO TO WHERE IT ALL STARTED. It took a mother to make Mother's Day happen. In the county seat of Grafton, W. Va. (pop. 5,500), the International Mother's Day Shrine , formerly the Andrews Episcopal Methodist Church, is where Grafton's own Anna M. Jarvis staged one of the nation's first Mother's Day celebrations, in 1908. Jarvis was inspired by her late mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, a big-time women's organizer -- and mom of 12. The shrine's annual celebration, starting at 2:30 p.m., is a collective pat on the back, speeches and all, with a free piano concert that evening. Lodging is available at numerous motels in Morgantown, about 25 miles north, or at Tygart Lake State Park , which has cabins, a lodge and a restaurant. Cabins start at $93 a night double; lodge rooms, $53.

Grafton is in Taylor County, about 220 miles from Washington. The shrine is at 11 E. Main St., 304-265-1589, Admission free. Tygart Lake State Park is just south of Grafton, 304-265-6144,

2. PUT A BLOOM ON THE DAY. What a coincidence that Longwood Gardens , in Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley, is celebrating the Mother's Day flower to beat all from May 12 to 14 at the International Orchid Show and Sale. Not just any orchids, but the new Cattleya "Alice B. du Pont," a white beauty with a faint splash of yellow named after one of Longwood's most nurturing benefactors. Reserve a table for the Terrace Restaurant's Mother's Day buffet, served from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and feast on the sounds of a 2:30 p.m. carillon concert. Numerous B&Bs are in the area, including the historic Fairville Inn Bed and Breakfast , built in 1857 in Chadds Ford. The inn has 15 rooms, all with private baths and some with balconies, for $150 to $250 a night, double.

Longwood Gardens is on U.S. Route 1 in Kennett Square, Pa., 610-388-1000, Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; open till 8 Mother's Day. Admission: $14. Terrace Restaurant: 610-388-6771. The 15-room Fairville Inn is at 506 Kennett Pike (Route 52), 877-285-7772,

3. OPT FOR WINE AND A WHIRLPOOL. The Wintergreen Resort , just southwest of Charlottesville, is the kind of place you can go to with or without kids -- or that Mom can go to without family, for that matter. To-dos include massages, an hour and a half of yoga and however long in the whirlpool. The "Wintergreen Your Way" package for Mom, including a studio, runs $267 a night or $414 for the weekend, double. Add a bottle of wine: The Wintergreen Winery on the Rockfish River has a free open house May 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. See the winery, enjoy the freebies, put together a picnic and pin a flower on.

Wintergreen Resort is about a three-hour drive from Washington, 800-926-3723, Wintergreen Winery is 15 minutes from there, 434-361-2519,

4. TAKE TEA ON THE TERRACE. For serious house-gazing, head to Virginia House in Richmond for tea and tours of the rescued 16th-century English manor-style Virginia House and neighboring Agecroft Hall, on the James River, where the term "great rooms" is just too obvious. Note the "commodious closets" in Virginia House and take a lesson in good fortune: It was completed a few months before the stock market imploded. Next door, where tea will be served, is Agecroft Hall, a 15th-century Tudor estate also relocated from England. The event is from 3 to 5 p.m.; reservations and advance payment ($25) are required. There are chain hotels within five miles, but you can continue the house-beautiful daydream at the 19th-century Linden Row Inn , offering "Romance in Historic Richmond" -- a double room with a bouquet of fresh flowers, wine, chocolates and continental breakfast -- starting at $149 a night.

Virginia House is at 4301 Sulgrave Rd., Richmond, 804-353-4251, Agecroft Hall is at 4305 Sulgrave Rd., 804-353-4241, The Linden Row Inn is at 100 E. Franklin St., 800-348-7424,

Louise Bourgeois's
Louise Bourgeois's "Femme Maison," at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
5. HAVE A BRUSH WITH GREATNESS. For a change, Mom can spend an entire afternoon at a museum without having to watch the clock, when art and tea are served at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. What better reason to take in the female studies of 94-year-old Paris-born sculptor Louise Bourgeois in an exhibit that ends May 21, with about 40 of her works. Gallery tours will be given at noon and 1 p.m. A lute concert, with Ronn McFarlane playing Renaissance and baroque pieces plus his original compositions, begins at 2:30, followed by tea from 3:30 to 5 in the Renaissance Sculpture Court. Reservations required; $25 per person. For $144 a night and up, book a night at the all-suites Tremont Plaza Hotel five blocks south, where you can treat Mom to a nap and room service or dinner at the Inner Harbor, another five blocks away.

The Walters is at 600 N. Charles St., 410-547-9000, The Tremont Plaza is at 222 St. Paul Pl., 410-727-2222,

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