It was 1877 and Edmund Smith had made his first fortune thanks to the burgeoning Pennsylvania Railroad Company. He spent a fraction of it on 65 acres in Villanova to build a home and a beautiful variety of gardens, designed by Charles H. Miller—the man who would later become the head gardener for Fairmount Park. The country estate underwent many changes in the year to come, and most recently was the home of the philanthropic Haas family. They gifted the property to Natural Lands two years ago, and in May it reopened as Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden.
The public garden is free and open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. It plays host to more than a mile of paved walking paths that wind through beautifully manicured landscapes. Feel free to bring a picnic and a blanket, find a shady spot, and spend the afternoon in Stoneleigh.