We’re just back from a five day road trip to the Brandywine Valley region and its surroundings. First off, our home away was a picture-perfect rebuilt stone barn/cottage set along a cornfield and reached by driving across a small stone bridge and past an old spring house. It was a peaceful and relaxing setting.
Day 1 – Havre de Grace, MD
Our day consisted of Sunday Mass at Church of St. Patrick, lunch at McGregor’s with a view to the Chesapeake Bay, antique shopping, and a visit to Concord Point Lighthouse.
Day 2 – Valley Forge, PA
We went on a driving tour of the National Historic Park where George Washington and his army spent the bitter winter of 1777-78. The park stretches for miles and highlights include a Visitor’s Center, the National Memorial Monument, replicas of the simple wood cabins used by the soldiers, the home used by Washington as his headquarters and a quaint covered bridge.
Day 3 – Hagley Museum and Gardens, DE
Located on over 200 acres, this museum begins at the Visitor’s Center which showcases the DuPont Company’s history. The sprawling property is set along the picturesque Brandywine River. It was the source of power for the DuPont Family’s first business, their gunpowder works.
The Powder Yard is where they manufactured black gunpowder for over a hundred years beginning in 1802, before succeeding generations of the family ventured into other industries. The stone powder mills, waterwheel and turbine demos, a steam engine and working machine shop were my hubby and son’s favorite things to see.
Also on the property is the first home built by the DuPont family in America (they fled from Revolutionary France). It’s called Eleutherian Mills and though much smaller in scale than the later DuPont mansions in the area, it was a beautiful home nonetheless. Worker’s Hill is an area where housing, gardening space, and a schoolhouse were built for DuPont workers and their families.
Day 4 – Nottingham, Kennett Square, Chadd’s Ford and West Chester, PA
This day began with a factory tour of the Herr’s Snack Company in Nottingham. It was interesting to learn about Jim Herr and his wife Mim, the company’s early years and how it’s still run today by their children. The highlight was tasting some chips fresh and warm off the production line. Never knew a chip could taste so good!!
Afterward we had lunch at Yo’r So Sweet Creperie at the Market in Kennett Square, followed by antique shopping at Brandywine River Antiques Market in Chadd’s Ford and a visit to Baldwins’s Book Barn in West Chester. Baldwin’s is located in an old dairy barn and is a wonderful place to visit for book lovers as well as lovers of old, historic buildings.
Day 5 – Longwood Gardens, PA
This was the reason for coming to the Brandywine Valley area and we waited until the last day in order to take advantage of their brand new nighttime Summer of Spectacle Illuminated Fountain Show which only runs Thursday-Saturday. The gardens and show were spectacular and probably deserve their own post at a later date. But here are just a few of my favorite shots. The last one is taken from the web (except for small inset) as I decided to put my camera away and enjoy the show!
We arrived early at the gardens and headed out in the early afternoon as it was hot and we were tired. Hand stamps allow you to return later in the day, which we did for the night time show.