Visit Hagley Museum & Library, home to the original headquarters for the DuPont Company’s gunpowder-manufacturing site and location of the family’s ancestral home, which was built in 1802. Hagley’s property stretches across 234 stunning acres where visitors can watch gunpowder and machinery demonstrations, visit the workers’ village, a multi-level visitors center and original home and gardens.
Nemours Estate is the 77-room mansion that Alfred I. du Pont built for his second wife, Alicia, in 1903. Now open to the public, the home has been called America’s “Versailles in the Brandywine Valley” because it boasts the largest French formal gardens in North America – as well as 200 acres of woodlands, meadows and sweeping lawns. Don’t miss the chauffeur’s garage, which contains a collection of vintage vehicles once used on the estate.
West of Wilmington, Route 52 becomes the Brandywine Scenic Byway. The rolling countryside here is called Chateau Country for the many magnificent homes tucked amongst the trees. One of the finest is Winterthur, the former home to Henry Francis du Pont and built to house the foremost collection of American decorative arts. Winterthur also boasts a 60-acre naturalistic garden, rolling hills, vistas and the Enchanted Woods children’s area.
Horticulture is the main attraction of Mt. Cuba Center, a 630-acre estate once owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland. Here the Georgian-style home is situated so that it takes in a panoramic view of the Delaware Piedmont. The lovely garden paths, however, take visitors through formal gardens that give way to woods, meadows and ponds. (Mt. Cuba is closed during certain months.)