• Image about chadds-ford-brandywine-river-hotel-brandywine-river-museum-americanway
Longwood Gardens
L. Albee/Longwood Gardens

On your next visit to the great city of Philadelphia, tack on a few extra days to explore the Brandywine Valley, a breathtakingly scenic region that stretches from Pennsylvania’s southeastern corner into northern Delaware.

Philadelphia, home of the Liberty Bell and National Constitution Center (not to mention the insanely tasty cheesesteak) is a must-see American city — but less than an hour away lies the Brandywine Valley, whose verdant landscapes have inspired three generations of Wyeths. It’s chock-full of attractions including du Pont mansions, formal gardens, and a variety of museums and wineries, all of which happen to be in or near the charming town of Chadds Ford, making for an ideal weekend destination.
  • Image about chadds-ford-brandywine-river-hotel-brandywine-river-museum-americanway
The Brandywine River Museum
Rick Echelmeyer/Brandywine River Museum

SLEEP Sweetwater Farm in Glen Mills is a historic 50-acre estate — part of William Penn’s land grant to the Hemphill family — with seven private cottages and seven additional rooms divided between the main 1734 Quaker farmhouse and the 1815 Georgian addition. Amenities include billiards by the fire, an evening wine tasting, an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, plus a variety of hiking trails. Another option is the Brandywine River Hotel, an affordable European-style hotel in the heart of Chadds Ford with 40 tastefully decorated rooms and a staff who’ll give tips on antiquing and scenic drives.

EAT Before the 1777 Battle of Brandywine, Colonial troops frequented the tavern on the estate of John Chads (who gave Chadds Ford its name). Today, the historic building is an upscale steak house called Brandywine Prime, which serves prime sirloin and filet mignon, and delicious truffle fries. For a more casual meal, stop by Hank’s Place (cash only), a mom-and-pop diner especially popular during breakfast. Sit in a booth or at the counter and dig into a mushroom-and-cheese omelet or buttermilk pancakes with a side of scrapple — a local dish of fried pork scraps and cornmeal.

DRINK After touring the winemaking and barrel-aging cellars, sample locally made wines in the tasting room at Chaddsford Winery (part of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail). In addition to the award-winning chardonnay, there’s Sunset Blush, a light rosé, and Merican, a Bordeaux-style blend. On warm days, buy a glass of wine along with some flatbread, salami and Conebella Farm cheddar, and enjoy an alfresco lunch on the patio or on the grounds.
  • Image about chadds-ford-brandywine-river-hotel-brandywine-river-museum-americanway
Sweetwater Farm
Courtesy Sweetwater Farm

DO One of the area’s highlights is the Brandywine River Museum, housed in a renovated 19th-century gristmill along the Brandywine River. It’s renowned for its outstanding collection of art from the Wyeth family, including patriarch N.C. Wyeth’s illustrations from the novel Treasure Island, his son Andrew’s world-famous works (painted at nearby Kuerner Farm) and animal portraits from grandson Jamie. Just down the road is the 1,077-acre Longwood Gardens, created by industrialist Pierre du Pont in 1906. Here you can walk amid unique topiaries, fragrant rose gardens and European-style fountains. In northern Delaware (20 minutes from Chadds Ford) is Winterthur, a former country estate of the du Pont family. Step into their lavish world through a guided tour of the 175-room mansion, which is filled with priceless American antiques such as a selection of George Washington’s Chinese porcelain china and a collection of six Paul Revere silver tankards.

If You Go...

Brandywine Prime
Dinner for two from $100
1617 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, Pa.
(610) 388-8808

Brandywine River Hotel
From $99
1609 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, Pa.
(610) 388-1200

Brandywine River Museum
$12 for adults, $6 for seniors and students; children 6 and under admitted free
1 Hoffman’s Mill Road
Chadds Ford, Pa.
(610) 388-2700

Chaddsford Winery
Tastings, $8
632 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, Pa.
(610) 388-6221
Hank’s Place
Lunch for two from $25 (cash only)
Route 1 at Creek Road
(610) 388-7061
Chadds Ford, Pa.

Longwood Gardens
Admission: $18 for adults, $15 for seniors 62 and up, $8 for children ages 5 through 18, children 4 and under are admitted free
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, Pa.
(610) 338-1000

Sweetwater Farm
From $150
50 Sweetwater Road
Glen Mills, Pa.
(610) 459-4711

Admission: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students, $5 for children ages 2 through 11, children under 2 are admitted free
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, Del.
(302) 888-4600