Chateaus of the du Ponts

In 1800, a Parisian watchmaker named Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours immigrated to the United States with his two sons, Victor Marie and Éleuthère Irénée “E.I.” du Pont. Over the next 200 years, the company founded by E.I. du Pont, commonly known as “DuPont,” became a publicly traded giant of the chemical industry.

However, beyond their success in industry, the du Ponts have left a lasting legacy of natural and architectural beauty for visitors to enjoy. The estates and gardens once cultivated by the members of the family are today world-renowned sights that trace the major milestones of Delaware’s du Pont story.

If you only have a single day to experience the chateaus of the du Ponts, we recommend you start with Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Just west of Wilmington on Route 52, Winterthur is right at the heart of what we call Chateau Country — for the magnificent homes tucked amongst the trees. Winterthur is probably the finest of those. The former home of Henry Francis du Pont today houses one of the finest collections of American decorative arts, as well as a gorgeous 60-acre naturalistic garden and an Enchanted Woods area that will delight children.

The du Pont Estates

Stop for lunch in the small towns of Greenville or Centreville — for example at the Centreville Place: Café + Market. Or pack a gourmet picnic from Janssen’s Fine Foods and enjoy it among the beautiful native plant displays at Mt. Cuba Center, another former du Pont property. Once owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland, Mt. Cuba’s lovely paths invite you to stroll through woods, ponds and meadows.

If you still have time, travel east for six miles to Hagley Museum and Library, the original headquarters of the DuPont Company and the family’s ancestral home. Visit the workers’ village and marvel at a permanent exhibition of patent models.

For dinner, stop in at another du Pont property — the Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa. The inn’s Krazy Kat’s restaurant serves delicious farm-to-table cuisine amid eclectic, cat-themed decorations. Montchanin Village was once a workers’ community associated with the DuPont Company.

More to Explore

Centreville Place: Cafe + Market

  • 5800 Kennett Pike

We look forward to serving you with the classic recipes you have come to love as well as new ones that will delight you! Centreville Place is a community space to relax, unwind…

Janssen's Fine Foods

  • 3801 Kennett Pike

"Everyday gourmet!" We provide a pleasant shopping experience with superb customer service. Our family has been serving the community with the finest quality produce, meats…

Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa

  • 528 Montchanin Rd.

Stay where it’s more like home. You might say The Inn at Montchanin Village was the original extended stay, starting back in the late 1700’s. This secluded retreat, composed of…

The Whip Tavern

  • 1383 N. Chatham Rd.

Only minutes from Longwood Gardens and Winterthur Museum, we offer an authentic English pub menu and cozy atmosphere. We are nestled in the rolling hills of pastoral Chester…

If you have a second day to continue your exploration, don’t miss Nemours Estate. Alfred I. du Pont build this 77-room mansion for his second wife, Alicia. It boasts the largest French formal gardens in North America, plus novel touches such as an in-house bowling alley and a chauffeur’s garage with a collection of vintage vehicles.

After a cozy, English pub-style lunch at The Whip Tavern, proceed to nearby Longwood Gardens. When a lumber mill operator took possession of the Longwood property with intent to cut down its trees, Pierre Samuel du Pont stepped in. In 1906, he purchased the land and transformed it into Longwood Gardens: the most visited public garden in America, where stunning indoor and outdoor gardens stretch over more than 1,000 acres.

Spotlight on Wilmington