Take an unforgettable journey through the rolling hills of the genteel Brandywine Valley landscape and discover the lasting influence of the Du Pont family dynasty from city-side to country-side. This journey is a true Delaware original, often referred to as Chateau Country. The Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway
leads to an unparalleled concentration of historic sites, magnificent estates, glorious gardens and mesmerizing museums where visions from a vanished century abound.
The byway's national significance is attributed to its role in three centuries of American industrial history. The lower Brandywine Creek's water-powered mills and proximity to the Port of Wilmington created thriving industrial and commercial markets, and spawned the development of Wilmington. In the late-eighteenth century, the Wilmington - Kennett Turnpike (now Route 52) was the legacy of buildings, parks, and cultural institutions created by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century industrialists.
At the start of the byway in downtown Wilmington, Rodney Square was developed as a center of civic activity in the early 20th century. The square included the monumental Hotel du Pont, the Wilmington Institute Free Library, the Federal Courthouse, and the U.S. Post Office (now Wilmington Trust). At the time, the square was symbolic of the international stature that major corporations such as DuPont had brought to the city.
Leaving Wilmington, the visitor will experience the picturesque, preserved landscapes of numerous American country estates. Visitors can explore rooms full of antique furnishings, discover what life was like decades ago and participate in exciting, educational activities. Prominent cultural institutions, among others, include the Delaware Museum of Natural History, Hagley Museum and Library, Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Winterthur Museum and Gardens, and Longwood Gardens. Landscaped gardens are a vital component of the historic landscape associated with country estates of the early 20th century.
Here the history of America, social, economic, horticulture and art will be laid out before you as you travel the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway.