Historic Buildings + Unmatched Culture + Phenomenal Food = A Beautiful Destination.
It’s no wonder Wilmington, Delaware has become the “It city next door” according to Philadelphia Magazine. From world-renowned collections of history to James Beard nominated restaurants and chefs, Wilmington and its surrounding neighborhoods, have come out from behind the big city shadows to make a name for itself. So much so that world-traveler, Darley Newman, took notice and decided to pay Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley a visit.
Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley will be featured in the 10th season of Travels with Darley, a PBS and Amazon Prime travel television series, hosted by Darley Newman herself. This series documents Newman’s experiences with locals around the world.
Throughout her time in the area, Darley and her team, were able to discover:
Wilmington’s Swedish Roots
Darley Newman, coming from Swedish roots herself, was only too excited to visit Fort Christina, the landing spot of the first Swedish settlers to Delaware, just a three-minute walk from where the replica, Tall Ship, Kalmar Nyckel is housed. Although in dry dock when Darley visited, the Copeland Maritime Center’s ¾ replica Kalmar Nyckel’s was enough to warrant a try at hauling lines i.
After checking out the Center, Darley headed to Old Swedes Historic Site. A National Landmark and now part of First State National Historical Park, here in Delaware. Visitors from around the world seek out Old Swedes Church to experience and explore the only surviving structure from the first Swedish settlement along the banks of the Christina River.
The DuPont Estates
The name du Pont should ring a bell when it comes to gunpowder mills, technological advancements, patent models, and Delaware. The family settled in the First State from France and began to stake claim in over 2,000 acres of Wilmington farmland to which we now call Chateau Country. Hagley Museum and Library is where the du Pont story begins, Eleutherian Mills, the home on the museum’s property, was the ancestral home of the du Pont family in Delaware. Darley was able to catch up with Lucas Clawson, Hagley’s Historian, to get a feel for what it was like to live and work like a du Pont. Exploring the home, the powder mill, and 235-acres of grounds along the Brandwine, that also includes the workers community and garden, of the original DuPont Company.
Lucas and Darley then visited Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, nestled in the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley. The Winterthur Museum and estate property are on par with some of the most famous estates in the country, such as the Biltmore Estate, the Breakers and Monticello. It’s a unique national treasure and former home to Henry Francis du Pont. Knowing the story of the du Pont family means understanding their love of art, architecture and beautiful landscape designs. Winterhur houses an unrivaled collection of American decorative arts collected by and gifted to the du Pont family throughout the years. The beauty only begins there. The property also features a stunning reflecting pool, a 60-acre naturalistic garden and is set on 1,000 acres of gorgeous Brandywine Valley scenery.
Hagley is the estate that captures the heart of the du Ponts, their roots and beginning. Winterthur houses their love of art and culture. But Nemours Estate, captures the du Pont’s love for gardens and grandeur – this 77-room mansion is truly the most lavish of the du Pont properties, while also boasting North America’s largest formal French Garden. Set on over 200 acres, you’ll also find a chauffeur’s garage, woodlands, and reflecting pool.
While Darley explored history through du Pont estates and Swedish connections, she also learned that both Hagley and President Biden have connections to a local brewery just outside the city limits. Wilmington Brew Works, or Brew Works as the locals call it, is the only production brewery in Delaware’s largest city. Housed in a 100-year-old former DuPont laboratory in the old 9th Ward, they continue to keep the spirit of the building’s origins alive with new and innovative Ales, Lagers, Sours and Ciders. Some of those ciders derive their flavors directly from the Hagley fruit gardens.
Poptart at Bardea Food and Drink
Innovative, creative and stunning. Those are a few words used to describe James Beard nominated restaurant, Bardea Food and Drink. As Darley sat down with co-owner Scott Stein, she learned a bit more about why there are Pop tarts on the menu!
Fort Delaware, Historic New Castle, Jessop’s Tavern, and Biking Along the Jack A. Markell Trail are a few other stops Darley made while filming the Wilmington, Delaware episode of Travels with Darley. But you’ll just have to wait until February 2023 to see it for yourself. Check your local PBS station for dates and times in your area. Then, come on back to book your Wilmington & Brandywine Valley getaway.