It's been a great year of giveaways here in Greater Wilmington! For the past 20 days we've been giving away tickets to the best holiday attractions in the area and arguably the region! Christmas at Longwood, Yuletide at Winterthur, A Brandywine Christmas, Christmas at Hagley, Christmas in Odessa and Holiday Tours in Historic New Castle. In the fall we commemorated the release of our new and improved annual visitor's guide with prize packs including tickets to 10 of the area's premier attractions and this past summer we gave away Brandywine Treasure Trail Passports. To kick 2010 off, we did our second "Go Closer Get Closer" contest with an unprecedented $1000 shopping spree at Christiana Mall and stay at the Hotel duPont as a grand prize (thanks to our friends at the Gannett for all of their help!). 'Tis the season of giving, but we've been giving all year! Why? Because we know that getting people to experience the rich history and culture of the area is all it will take to make them lifelong visitors and there is nothing better than seeing and reading this first hand. Here are a few of the people who have shared their experiences with us this year!

Here was a great blog/testimonial from Anne Gustke,  the winner of our Go Closer, Get Closer giveaway detailing her experience in Greater Wilmington DE with pictures!

   Anyone that reads my blog probably can tell I like contests. I usually enter blog contests, because the odds are so good, but sometimes I enter larger sweepstakes. A few months ago I was lucky enough to win a sweepstakes sponsored by the Brandywine Valley Visitors Bureau. I won the grand prize - a 2 night hotel stay at the Hotel DuPont. So before Thanksgiving my husband and I dropped our kids off at my parent's house and took off for 2 days in Delaware.

I have never stayed at an upscale hotel like the Hotel DuPontHotelDupontBlog1, and I was blown away by the luxury of this hotel. We were given a corner king suite, and it was both enormous and elegant. My pictures don't do it justice, but it had a large sitting room with a table, chairs and a sofa. It was much more luxurious than anything we had stayed in before, even on our honeymoon. The entire hotel was gorgeous, and the staff probably thought we were strange, because we walked around the whole building, exploring and checking out all the common areas. The hotel was built in 1913, and the craftsmanship is impressive, especially in the wood carvings. It was also amazingly well maintained and clean. It is hard to believe it is almost 100 years old.

When we first found out we won a trip to Delaware we weren't sure what there was to there. It turns out there are many historic sites and houses with gardens. Our favorite was the Hagley Museum. This is the original home of the DuPont family in the US, and it is where they manufactured gun powder for years. The property is very large and has a lovely house and garden up on hill. They had just decorated the house for Christmas, and there were Christmas trees, wreaths and Victorian toys set up through out the house.

HagleyBlog1                  HagleyBlog2 

We enjoyed touring the house and garden, but our favorite part was the gun powder works. Since both my husband and I have engineering backgrounds we enjoyed seeing the machinery and learning how gun powder was made. My husband especially enjoyed seeing the machine shop which was powered by water. The volunteers were extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and showed us everything. Getting to see black powder gun powder exploded was the highlight of the day.
We had a great time in Delaware, and it was nice to get away by ourselves for a few days.

During our Passport giveaway we received photos from Ken Grant and Melissa Camoirano here are a few of their photoblogs as they used their passports to travel to various Greater Wilmington and Brandywine attractions:

By Melissa Camoirano (clockwise from left) Winterthur, DE Museum of Natural History 1,  DE Museum of Natural History 2 (our staff favorite), Longwood Gardens

 Melissa1  Melissa2   Melissa3  Melissa4                   

 We also received some great images from Ken Grant from his day at Longwood Garden, we especially liked the treehouse photo (follow his blog and twitter, you won't regret it):


KenGrant   KenGrant2   KenGrant3


 Last, but certainly not least we thought we'd share a blogger  who has been to our region on a number of occasions! Mom-blogger Mara who maintains the blog "Mother of all Trips" attempts to find the best destinations for family outings. Her writings are a wonderful testimonial on the uniqueness of our area and travelers' preconceptions of the area. The photos are great too! Read her blogs on these Greater Wilmington attractions below:
2010 has been a great year in Greater Wilmington.  We hope to continue these giveaways in 2011 and allow more travelers who otherwise may have passed us by on I-95 to stop and stay awhile! We at the GWCVB wish all of our supporters a happy and healthy holiday and a happy new year!