Need a little pick me up? Then jump in the car, load up the family, and take a leisurely drive through the beautiful Brandywine Valley. Get lost on a back road and discover something new. Or, choose from one of several scenic byways in and around Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley that have already been mapped out for you:
The Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway
Start in downtown Wilmington at Rodney Square, across from the historic HOTEL DU PONT, on Route 52. Soon you will find yourself in the rolling hills of Chateau Country. The route crosses over into Pennsylvania (connecting with PA’s Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway) and then circles back to the starting point on Route 100. There are many, many lovely sights to take in along the way including Brandywine Creek State Park, the Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site, and the historic villages of Centreville and Montchanin. While passing through Centerville, pick up a picnic lunch at Centreville Café (call ahead) or takeout at Buckley’s Tavern.
The Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway
27 miles on 28 different back roads will take you through the incredibly scenic Red Clay Valley Creek and its watershed. This network of roads begins on Route 82 in the town of Yorklyn, Delaware at the Pennsylvania state line. A suggested end point is the intersection of Barley Mill Road and Route 100 near Greenville, Delaware. Along the route is Coverdale Farm Preserve; the Auburn Valley State Park and estate; two covered bridges; and the Ashland Nature Center. Along the way, take a detour to Woodside Farm Creamery for some drive-through hand-crafted ice cream.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
This 95-mile route will take you just over 3 hours to complete. Delaware was the last slave state on the way to freedom for those using the Underground Railroad, and there is a ton of history to take in along this route. The byway maps out the path that Harriet Tubman took through Delaware to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people through the Underground Railroad. You’ll pass by a number of historic meetinghouses and if it is a nice day, you should stop to have a picnic lunch in Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park (most of the restaurants in the Riverfront area are offering take out and curbside delivery).
Delaware’s Bayshore Scenic Byway
50 miles of Delaware's Route 9 make up the Bayshore Byway. Charting a course that largely parallels the Delaware River, you'll drive through and past the largest preserved coastal marshland on the east coast while also seeing some impressive bird migration in the spring and fall. It traverses through the largest preserved coastal marshland on the East Coast as well as the charming colonial town of historic New Castle, where William Penn first set foot in the New World. While in New Castle, grab some to-go at Jessop’s Tavern and have a picnic lunch in Battery Park as you watch the ships go by.
During these unprecedented times of challenge, it is important to stay connected to the natural world, get some fresh air, and spend quality time with those in your household. A scenic drive through the backroads and byways of Greater Wilmington at the Brandywine Valley is a great way to clear your mind, take in the beautiful spring scenery, and unplug for a bit from technology.