Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley: A Tale of Two Different Worlds

Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley is the story of two different worlds colliding and falling into harmony across the centuries.

It’s also a destination marked by sharp contrasts: Hip city neighborhoods and historic mansions. Past and present. Commerce and culture. The wild beauty of parks and the cultivated splendor of gardens. These contrasts make each traveler’s experience more vibrant, each moment more distinct, and each sight more authentic and beautiful. 

Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington is the largest city in Delaware and the urban hub of the region. Thanks to Delaware’s business-friendly climate, two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated here, making us the Corporate Capital of America.

But Wilmington isn’t just a center for banking and innovation. We also boast world-class restaurantsmuseumsperforming arts venues, and of course, tax-free shopping.

The history of European settlement began here in 1638 when the Kalmar Nyckel, a Swedish warship, landed at "The Rocks," a natural wharf in Minquas Kill (soon renamed the Christina River) and the colony of New Sweden was founded — now present-day Wilmington, where you can still visit the site of that first landing at Fort Christina.

Explore Wilmington

The Brandywine Valley

To the north and west of Wilmington, you’ll find the Brandywine Valley. Visiting the Brandywine Valley is like stepping back into a greater, grander time — one that’s only minutes away from I-95.

In this gorgeous area, also known as Chateau Country after its stunning mansions, city streets turn into country lanes. Travel those lanes to find your way to elegant estates and glorious gardens of a bygone era. They stand as a testament to the wealth and influence of the du Pont family and the beauty of their legacy.

In fact, the story of Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley is inextricably intertwined with the story of the du Pont family. It's a story that begins when Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, the son of a Paris watchmaker, left his native country for the United States with his two sons in 1800. Two years later, one of those sons, Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, opened a gunpowder mill on the banks of the Brandywine Creek near Wilmington. Thus, the DuPont Company was born — and along with it, a great relationship between the family and the people of Delaware.

The du Pont Story

In Delaware, we’re proud to claim the First Family as our own. But long before the Bidens ever set foot in the First State, there were the du Ponts.

Hagley Museum & Library

Over time, the Du Pont Company diversified and expanded to become one of the leading chemical companies in the world. The du Ponts built great estates throughout the Brandywine Valley, and their familial commitment to conservation and natural beauty ensured the preservation of much of the region.

The original DuPont Company gunpowder mill became Hagley Museum and Library. Pierre Samuel du Pont, great-great grandson to the original Pierre, planted some of the first gardens on the acreage that is now Longwood Gardens. Alfred Irénée du Pont, another great-great grandson, built Nemours Estate as a gift for his second wife, Alicia. Henry Francis du Pont built the 175-room Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library for his family, before opening the home and his renowned collection of fine and decorative American art objects to the public.

du Pont Estates

Spotlight on Wilmington