The historic Brandywine Valley boasts notable museums, incomparable gardens, world-class dining and sophisticated accommodations amid the picturesque Pennsylvania countryside.
Whether you choose to trace the region’s historic roots in towns that retain their 17th and 18th century charm; immerse yourself in three generations of Wyeth art, follow the ever-burgeoning trail of fine wineries, or explore the fabulous estates that rival Newport, time in the Brandywine Valley is well spent.
Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s great garden treasures and the former estate of Pierre S. du Pont, invites guests to explore more than 325 acres of dazzling outdoor beauty and one of the largest conservatories in America.
The spotlight is on native plants at Mt. Cuba Center, where elegant formal gardens, woodland landscapes, and serene pastures encompass the former estate of Lammot du Pont Copeland.
Winterthur features an outstanding American collection of antiques and a glorious garden. Winterthur was once the home of Henry Francis du Pont.
Nemours Mansion and Gardens, once the home of Alfred I. du Pont is a French-style chateau furnished with antique furniture, rare rugs, tapestries and outstanding works of art, all set among spectacular French formal gardens.
Known as a “pleasure garden,” Chanticleer Garden is designed to illustrate the beauty of the art of horticulture. You will see everything from vegetable gardens complemented by cut-flower gardens to woodlands surrounded by grasses and sweet-smelling herbs.
At Jenkins Arboretum, a natural retreat is a husband’s living memorial to his wife. As you walk among the rainbow of azaleas and rhododendrons, you’ll experience life in a dense forest.
The Chateaus of the du Ponts
Discover an American’s family – the du Ponts. The story celebrates two hundred years of history, spans three centuries, includes four estates and gardens and recalls five generations.
A visit to Hagley Museum and Library is fitting to begin the story of the du Ponts. A tour of this stunning park-like museum on the Brandywine River details both the families and the DuPont Company founder E.I. du Pont (1777-1834). Its adjoining garden and dramatic demonstrations illustrating the manufacture of gunpowder, DuPont’s first product.
Next is a visit to Winterthur, one of a few surviving great American country estates. Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969), an avid antiques collector and horticulturist, was Winterthur’s fifth owner. It was his love of American craftsmanship that led him to assemble one of the world’s most complete collections of antiques and Americana. Winterthur’s fields and farmland detail the workings of a great American country estate. The 60-acre naturalistic garden boasts breathtaking beauty.
Next stop is Nemours Mansion and Gardens, America’s Versailles in the Brandywine Valley. Alfred I. du Pont (1864-1935) employed the architectural firm of Carrere and Hastings to design the 1909-1910 mansion. The 47,000 square foot house is decorated with rare rugs, antique tapestries, oil paintings, and decorative arts. Guests enjoy a walk around the sculpture –filled, formal French gardens and a visit to the chauffeur’s garage, where antique cars are displayed.
The grand finale is Longwood Gardens. Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) bought the property in 1906 to preserve the trees, and he built the major garden features that today are considered the world’s premier horticultural display. Eleven thousand different types of plants flourish on 1,077 acres or formal gardens, idea gardens, meadows and woodlands. The four-acre Conservatory shelters twenty indoor gardens, including the Orchid Display, Indoor Children’s Garden, Cascade Garden and Mediterranean Garden.
Complete the du Pont experience with Afternoon Tea at the Hotel du Pont. The 1913-hotel will take you back to a time of craftsmanship and courtesy, a time of ease and elegance and sophistication and style. Modeled after the great hotels of Europe, the Green Room at the Hotel du Pont is the perfect place to enjoy the elegance and style of Afternoon Tea. Amid warm furnishings and signature artwork, Afternoon Tea is offered starting at 3 pm seven days a week.
A Brandywine Christmas
The Brandywine Valley turns magical during the holidays. The attractions are alluring year-round, but are particularly enchanting during the winter holidays.
The Brandywine River Museum features an unparalleled collection of works by three generations of Wyeth family. The museum celebrates the season with fabulous holiday displays, including an extensive O-gauge model railroad, an elaborate Victorian dollhouse and thousands of whimsical “critter” ornaments on holiday trees.
Yuletide at Winterthur will inspire and delight visitors with a glimpse of treasured traditions and holiday celebrations. It showcases rooms dressed in seasonal finery for holiday celebrations both old and new, offering visitor’s inspiration for decorations and celebrations in their own homes. Special touches like whimsical topiary animals along with traditional favorites including Winterthur’s famed dried flower tree and lavish holiday décor are favorites.
Herr’s makes the holidays brighter! This free driving tour incorporates more than 180,000 gleaming lights. Classic favorites include oversized falling snowflakes, delightfully hung Christmas balls, a nativity scene and the famous 12-foot wreath and giant bow adorning the snack factory warehouse. Delicious evening tours complete the experience.
Holiday happenings continue at Longwood Gardens. Celebrate the season with Longwood’s spectacular holiday display. Indoors, elegantly decorated trees and thousands of poinsettias with amaryllis, narcissus, cyclamen and tulips adorn the heated Conservatory. Evening choral concerts, organ sing-along and strolling carolers share the sounds of the season. Outdoors, more than 500,000 lights transform the grounds into a festive night-blooming garden, while colorful, dancing fountains perform to holiday music.
The area is sure to delight any holiday shopper! The King of Prussia Mall has more than 400 stores and many different restaurants. The Philadelphia Premium Outlets fills your bags with holiday gifts at 120 name brand stores and the region’s newest discount shopping outlet. Discover the Brandywine Valley’s historic Main Streets of West Chester, Kennett Square, Phoenixville and Oxford home to dozens or outstanding restaurants, art galleries and retail shops.
Dining, Wineries and Relaxing Accommodations
From the refined elegance of restaurants such as Brandywine Prime, Dilworthtown Inn, The Farmhouse and Talulah’s Table, to eclectic local favorites such as Hank’s Place, Half Moon Saloon and The Whip Tavern, the Brandywine Valley can satisfy even the most discerning palate. For wine enthusiasts, a day on the Brandywine Wine Trail includes stops at eight regional wineries, offering premium, award-winning wines.
Old-world elegance and sophisticated style thrive at the historic Hotel du Pont, located in the heart of downtown Wilmington, DE. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best hotels by Travel and Leisure, experience one of the 28 beautifully restored rooms and spa at the Inn at Montchanin Village, offering the best of the Brandywine Valley.