Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Wilmington
A little bit of everything for the culture enthusiast. The house is architecually magnificent with gables and arches and collonades and super-high vaulted ceilings and tapestried walls. The furniture is esquisite and covers several 19th-early-20th century fashions. The silverware and china are sparkling and diverse from room to room. There is ornately carved molding and balconies with great views over the estate. You can go on a gathering tour (impromptu mass of people) or for an extra fee, you can have a private tour. The gardens are immense. There are tree gardens with samples from all over the U.S.; there are flowers layed out in formal patterns, in wild bouqets and even some specially arranged for children to touch and smell. They frown on anyone taking samples but encourage massive quantities of picture-taking. There is even a flower/plant shop where you can buy plants you have seen in the gardens. Of course, there is a huge gift shop but be prepared to feel the burn in your wallet because "they ain't cheap". They also have a very nice restaurant/lounge with indoor and outdoor seating.
The whole thing was a hefty $22 dollars per person not including the food and souveniers. But they did provide free bottled water (very hot that day) and tram ride around each of the garden areas and to/from the parking lot.
The Enchanted Woods are a section of the Winterthur gardens that was designed for children. The Enchanted Woods feature a number of whimsical structures that kids enjoy exploring, including the Cottage, the Tulip Tree House, the Troll Bridge, and a giant bird's nest. Anna loved it, and was disappointed when we had to leave.
The Winterthur mansion is surrounded by acres of grdens, which are worth spending some time visiting. Henry DuPont, the estate's owner, loved gardens, and spent much of his life expanding the Winterthur gardens. The gardens feature a wide variety of flowers, shrubs and trees, and were designed so that something was blooming nearly all year. Unlike many geometric estate gardens, the Winterthur gardens are naturalistic, following the hilly contours of the estate. Sections of the garden include an azalea garden, the pinetum (a collection aof various pine and spruce trees), the peony garden and the Enchanted Woods, a garden designed for children.
Winterthur is a large mansion built by the DuPont family. It was occupied by Henry Francis DuPont until the early 1950s, when it was turned into a museum that is now open to the public. There are a number of different tours that you can take through different sections of the mansion, which is so large (about nine floors) that no single tour covers all of it.
In addition to the mansion, you can also tour Winterthur's grounds, which include hundreds of acres of gardens. Also, adjacent to the mansion is a ceramics museum, and the bottom floors of the mansion contain another museum which features art and antique furniture.
H.F. duPont (1880-1960) was an individual who had many interests. Not only was he an avid antiques collector, but also a horticulturist who designed the landscape at Winterthur.
Although children younger than age 4 cannot tour Winterthur, they can experience the wonderful gardens and woods surrounding this beautiful estate.
When we visited, the fountains were dry due to water restrictions that year because Delaware was in the midst of a drought. However, I just know they'll be cascading in all their glory now!
Follow the pathways to ENCHANTED WOODS, where children can play peek-a-boo amongst the bushes. For this admission, they can ride the Garden Tram or explore the Touch-It room, too.
Admission is $15 for adults; $13 for students/seniors and $5 for children 2-11.
(picture courtesy of Winterthur)
The beautiful estate of Winterthur is located in the Brandywine Valley of Delaware on sixty acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows with running streams.
It was once the home of Henry Francis duPont and showcases many fine examples of furniture from the 1600's-1800's. In fact, it was due to his efforts that the importance of American antiques first became recognized.
I remember first reading about Winterthur in a decorating magazine several years ago. The elegant decor and interesting family history convinced me that I would have to see it first hand one day. The estate name is pronounced 'Winter-tur'.
Tours of this luxurious home focus on various elements of the mansion. We chose the Winterthur Experience Tour "Private Space and Gaming Places." (See my next tip for the current tours)
Our tour took us to the intimate areas of the house, the bedrooms, dressing rooms and upstairs sitting rooms where the family retreated during private moments. Their photographs and individual histories were discussed, illuminating their lives and times here.
Winterthur is open 10 am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday and closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I thought Winterthur was very impressive! It's surrounded by acres and acres of woods and pretty landscaping once owned by the duPont family. A tour of this palatial home focussed on certain areas of the house. It might be difficult choosing which you want to see!
'Winterthur Experience' offers a glimpse of affluence through these four tours:
*Elegant Entertaining--where you can see where the duPont family lavishly entertained
*Decorating with Quilts--this explores the quilts collected by H.F.duPont and how they're used to amuse and delight the guests in each of the rooms
*Living with Antiques--See American furniture from the 1600-1800's and appreciate the beauty of these rooms designed by H.F. duPont. This tour also includes a peek at the Pennsylvania-German folk art collection
*Once Upon a Family Tour--especially for children ages 4-11 and offered Tuesday-Sunday at 12:30 pm. Learn about the lifestyle of the duPont's and where they lived, worked and played.
Admission is $20 for adults; $18 for students/seniors and $10 for children age 2-11
(photo courtesy of Winterthur)