Welcome to Excursion, a new feature highlighting day trips for Style Maniacs--'cause sometimes a girl just needs a little getaway. 
The first time I walked into Terrain at Styer's I felt like I'd entered another world. A world that seemed designed to appeal not just to all my senses but to all my interests. As a decorator I marveled at the execution of the design concept from the broad strokes to the small detail. As a party planner I envisioned a wedding in the pergola on a breezy summer night, fireflies flitting about; or a cozy autumn birthday dinner in one of the cabins, leaves rustling outside. As a reader I wanted to immerse myself in the stacks of books. And as a girl who likes a hot nibble and cold cocktail, the seasonal cafe specials and evening jazz event beckoned. I could have spent an entire day at the place. Which, I found out, is exactly the idea. "We wanted to create a real destination, like the garden centers in Europe, where the entire family comes to spend the day together," Terrain's Managing Director John Kinsella told me about the newest retail brand in the Urban Outfitters / Anthropologie family. "With a staff so welcoming that instead of being intimidated people will hang out for six or seven hours. They'll get inspired, learn, and then be able to take what they like with them to re-create at home."

So how does Terrain do it? How do you get customers to linger for hours--and enjoy it? For one, they make the place look cinema-perfect, with delights like this enchanting pergola (above) ... and vignettes that seem to have sprung straight from the pages of the design books on display (hello, Axel Vervoordt).

Their buyers travel the globe for one-of-a-kind finds like Egyptian lanterns, antique Indian doors and Swedish garden planters; creating what Senior Merchandise Manager Allison O"Connor calls "a great sense of discovery." (Hmm, can you say "dream job"?)

They encourage that feeling of discovery even more by draping doorways in vines, wood beads or netting; framing glimpses of the next treasure around the corner (like a luxuriant table of orchids) and enticing you to come find them.

They staff the place with people who genuinely seem to like their jobs--and don't mind you peppering them with dozens of questions. And unlike many garden centers that close up come fall, Terrain makes sure your visits continue year-round. As Allison noted, Terrain's "earth to table offerings are all about celebrating the seasons," whether it's the monthly chef dinners or the carefully edited book selection or the smorgasbord of events. (In June, with lavender in bloom, events included lavender skincare treatments, sachet-making classes for kids and a Girls' Night Out that served up lavender growing tips with a side of wine and hors d'oeuvres.)

And then of course there's the flowers. Ah yes, the flowers. Terrain's team of master gardeners and landscape architects makes sure they're picture-perfect, too.

Terrain at Styer's
914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills PA 19342
phone: 610-459-2400
Check Terrain's website www.terrainathome.com for upcoming events, such as the August Heirloom Tomato Festival. 
Photos by Doreen Creede

"Use the good china for breakfast."