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What's Up Magazine

Beauty and History Abound 
in Brandywine Valley

Mar 24, 2014 02:11PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Nestled among the scenic, rolling countryside of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, and northern New Castle County, Delaware—just 45 minutes from Center City Philadelphia—Brandywine Valley is a charming destination with a touch of European flair. Offering a variety of inspiring experiences, this magical getaway is home to breathtaking gardens, stately mansions (a legacy of the famous du Pont family who made its fortune in this region), world-renowned museums, and fascinating historical attractions.

Take a stroll through Longwood Gardens—one of the world’s finest horticultural treasures—located on 1,050 acres and featuring 20 outdoor gardens, 20 indoor gardens, a conservatory, and illuminated fountains. Spring is an exciting time at Longwood Gardens, as vibrant colors from tulips, dogwoods, wisteria, and more emerge to welcome the season’s arrival both indoors and out. In early April, the Idea Garden and Flower Garden Walk burst into bloom with spring bulbs and tulips, followed by annuals like marigolds and snapdragons in May. Also in May, Peirce’s Woods comes alive with native azaleas, columbines, Virginia bluebells, and foam-flowers. With something new popping up daily, every day is a good day to visit Longwood Gardens this spring.

Brandywine Valley also boasts the elegant du Pont mansions, including Winterthur and Nemours Mansion & Garden in Wilmington. Situated on a 1,000-acre preserve of meadows, streams, woodlands, and gardens, Winterthur features more than 90,000 objects made or used in America between approximately 1640 and 1860. Explore this collection of items, which is displayed in the magnificent 175-room home, preserved as it was when the du Pont family lived there. Also marvel at the antiques, works of art, and tapestries housed at Nemours, a 47,000-square-foot mansion surrounded by formal gardens.

In scenic Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, get lost in the beautiful works of art at the Brandywine River Museum. Converted from a 19th-century gristmill, the museum showcases the artwork of three generations of the famous Wyeth family, as well as a collection of American illustrations, still lifes, and landscapes. While in the area, visit the nearby Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site, the location of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brandywine.

Further north, switch gears with a guided walking tour of the state-of-the-art broadcasting facility at QVC headquarters in West Chester, where you might catch a glimpse of a live broadcast or even sit in as part of the audience.

Brandywine Valley also offers great shopping, dining, activities, and events. Explore the shops, indulge in a delicious meal, enjoy a hot air balloon ride, and take in the sights. Or spend the day at the 64th Chadds Ford Art Sale and Show (March 21st and 22nd), the annual Chester County Antiques Show (April 4th, 5th, and 6th), the 35th Winterthur Point-to-Point Races (May 4th) or the Wilmington Flower Mart (May 8th to 10th).

To learn more about Brandywine Valley and plan your trip, visit