The fall foliage season, when the air is crisp and the trees shimmer in shades of gold and red, is drawing near. While brilliant foliage displays can be witnessed throughout much of the world, many of the most spectacular are found right here in Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley. From state parks to a historic railroad, here are 10 of the most picturesque places to capture the natural beauty of fall throughout the Wilmington region.
1. Brandywine Park
Looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the corporate landscape? Located right within the city of Wilmington, Delaware, Brandywine Park offers 100 acres of tree-filled terrain, perfect for a relaxed leaf-viewing experience. Visitors can walk, jog, or bike alongside the Brandywine River or take a stroll through the park's formal gardens. When the fall foliage is at its peak, the scenic park provides a vibrant backdrop for an outdoor lunch or a visit to the Brandywine Zoo.
2. Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway
Immerse yourself in the fall harvest spirit with the ultimate road trip along the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway! Drivers can view the magnificent rolling hills, orange and red-hued trees, historic farms, covered bridges, and the Brandywine River. Make several stops along the scenic route to further explore the postcard-pretty landscape on foot.
3. Ashland Nature Center
With 130 acres of woods, meadows, marsh, the Red Clay Creek, and many trails to explore, Ashland Nature Center is the perfect spot to admire the fall foliage during Delaware’s autumn months. The site also features a picnic area, educational programs, a collection of reptiles and amphibians, the Butterfly House, and two Lenni Lenape longhouses.
4. Hagley Museum and Library
Set on 235 acres along the Brandywine River, Hagley Museum and Library is a treat for nature lovers and history buffs alike. Hagley is home of the original DuPont Company gunpowder mill, workers village, and the du Pont family's ancestral home in Delaware. While taking in the fall foliage along the banks of the Brandywine, visitors can also tour the home, witness gunpowder demonstrations, and explore exhibits within the museum.
5. Historic New Castle
When visiting Delaware, there's no need to venture far into the wilderness to admire the warm, earthy colors of fall. Treat your eyes to a panorama of colorful leaves and varied textures by going on a scenic walk through the town of Historic New Castle. Steeped with history, this charming town boasts Colonial-style homes, a preserved courthouse, a Federal period mansion, and picturesque gardens -- all carefully placed along tree-lined cobblestone streets.
6. Delaware State Parks
You will find color galore across the dense forestry of Greater Wilmington's Delaware State Parks. When the forests are shrouded in golden trees, park activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking are drastically enhanced by the surrounding beauty. Delaware State Parks are fantastic places to engage in your favorite outdoor activities while admiring the stunning autumn leaves.
7. Wilmington and Western Railroad
There's no better way to enjoy Delaware’s autumn spectacle, bursting with brilliant color, than on the historic Wilmington and Western Railroad, known for its vintage steam locomotives. Every fall, the railroad hosts its own Autumn Leaf Special, offering group rides lasting 1.5 to 2.5 hours through the pristine forests of red, orange and yellow in luxury coaches.
8. Longwood Gardens
This majestic 1,077-acre public garden makes visitors feel like they've ventured into a Mother Goose fairy tale. Towering trees, radiant flowers, meadow gardens, fountains, and art sculptures entertain nature enthusiasts with 11,000 different plant species on site. Come fall, Longwood Gardens hosts its annual Autumn's Colors display with a series of special features including the Thousand Bloom Mum, the largest in North America.
9. Mt. Cuba Center
This botanical garden is famous for its rural pastures that are home to a wealth of woodland creatures like squirrels, chipmunks, and butterflies, giving it a true enchanted forest feeling. Spend an afternoon hiking the untamed wilderness and possibly snap a shot of a doe peeking out from behind the splendid golden trees at Mt. Cuba Center.
10. Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Belonging to the prestigious antique collector Henry Francis du Pont, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library is a mansion-turned-museum that houses many of his prized possessions for the public to see. Outside, the extravagant naturalistic gardens, reflecting pool, and the Enchanted Woods children's play area are all Instagram-worthy.
As you embark on your autumn adventures through Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley, be sure to snap some photos and share them with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #VisitWilm. Happy leaf peeping!