Friday, June 10: After having my lunch at Kennett Square, I head across the Delaware state line, only a 13 minute drive from Longwood Gardens, to the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Founded by Henry Francis du Pont, Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is a famed museum of American decorative arts, reflecting both early America and the du Pont family’s life. It also boasts 60 acres of naturalistic gardens set amidst a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands.
From the Visitor’s Center, we have to take a tram to the Museum, which is in the heart of the estate. We are given a guided garden tour while in the tram; our guide points out some features of the garden and its history. Unless otherwise noted, most of these photos were taken with my Canon EOS Rebel and seem very blurry to me.
In the Museum, we get an hour-long guided tour of a small portion of the 175 rooms of the Henry Francis du Pont home. Many of the rooms have historical architecture and are furnished with his outstanding collection of antiques, as well as objects added since his death.
According to the Winterthur website, Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969), the only son of Henry Algernon and Pauline du Pont, was born at Winterthur and, in his words, “always loved everything connected with it.” A member of Delaware’s industrialist du Pont family, he studied at New England’s Groton School and later attended Harvard from 1899 to 1903. In 1901 he began taking courses at Bussey Institution, Harvard’s college of practical agriculture and horticulture, and took his first trip abroad (Henry Francis du Pont and Winterthur).
I’m always more interested in being outdoors than in fancy houses, so as soon as the tour is over, I escape to the Reflecting Pool.
Earlier, the tram tour guide had pointed out the Quarry Garden, which looked beautiful from the tram. I make my way there on foot, quite a long walk!
On the way back to the museum, I walk through the Enchanted Woods, created especially for the du Pont children.
Finally, I make it back to the museum, where I catch the tram back to the Visitor’s Center and make the very long drive back to northern Virginia. What a fun trip exploring the Philadelphia/Delaware gardens in such perfect weather!