winterthur museum, garden & library: a delaware country estate

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.

Welcome to Winterthur
Welcome to Winterthur

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.

on the Winterthur grounds
on the Winterthur grounds
Winterthur grounds
Winterthur grounds
Winterthur grounds
Winterthur grounds

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.

heading to the reflecting pool
heading to the reflecting pool
stone building
stone building
the reflecting pool
the reflecting pool
the reflecting pool
the reflecting pool
statue in the reflecting pool
statue in 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!

walking toward the Quarry Garden
walking toward the Quarry Garden
heading toward the Quarry Garden
heading toward the Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
Beyond the Quarry Garden
Beyond the Quarry Garden
pond peeking
pond peeking
pond beyond the Quarry Garden
pond beyond the Quarry Garden
pond beyond the Quarry Garden
pond beyond the Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
The Quarry Garden
flowers in the Quarry Garden
flowers in the Quarry Garden
Quarry Garden (iPhone)
Quarry Garden (iPhone)
The Quarry Garden (iPhone)
The Quarry Garden (iPhone)

On the way back to the museum, I walk through the Enchanted Woods, created especially for the du Pont children.

The Enchanted Woods
The Enchanted Woods
The Enchanted Woods
The Enchanted Woods
Playhouse in the Enchanted Woods
Playhouse in the Enchanted Woods
misty mushrooms
misty mushrooms

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!

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “winterthur museum, garden & library: a delaware country estate

  1. Wow what a neat place to go to! I loved it all! You always write in a way that we can escape to wherever you are and share the experience just like we are there with th you! You are right, the outside is so beautiful! I love the misty mushroom area and the enchanted forest! Thanks for sharing your day with us! As usual, I enjoyed the tour! 😊

    1. Thanks, Carol. It was fun to visit Winterthur and the other three Philly gardens. And yes, it is soooo humid here. The heat and humidity this summer seems worse than usual. Luckily, on the two days I visited these gardens, it was in the 70s and not humid at all. Highly unusual for June on the East Coast. 🙂

  2. Definitely a place I want to visit at some point. It’s not terribly far from NYC, but for someone who no longer owns a car, it’s a bit more of a challenge to make the trip unless I rent one! Loved your photos.

    1. I bet you could take a train to Philly and then rent a car there to get around to the gardens. There is a lot to see there! I can’t believe I’ve lived in northern Virginia for most of my life and hadn’t been to Philadelphia until this past February. It’s really a fun town to visit. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog, Susan. It’s nice to meet you! 🙂

    2. Wilmington train station is even closer to Wintherthur than Philadelphia 30th St…maybe 20 minutes’ drive. Amtrak is the easiest way to get there from NYC, though it’s technically possible to use NJ Transit and SEPTA instead. There are a couple of on-site car rental companies.

      Sticking to public transit is theoretically possible Monday-Friday: DART’s #10 bus (weekdays) from Wilmington train station up Kennett Pike and can basically let you off at the main gate (though it’d probably be about a 10 min walk to the visitor center from there). Not all #10 buses go all the way to Winterthur but nine do in each direction daily, so study the DART schedule carefully if you plan not to drive: http://www.dartfirststate.com/information/routes/pdfs/summer/rt10.pdf?date=1471288535085

    1. Thank you so much, Otto. It’s fun to see how the other half lived back in the day! I wasn’t happy with the quality of the Canon pictures, but hopefully the refurbished camera they sent me will be better. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s