The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway is designated as an official “America’s Byway“. It is easily accessible from I-95, exit 7 (Delaware Avenue, DE Route 52) in Wilmington, Delaware. From there, the Brandywine Valley Scenic Highway is approximately 12 miles long. You should allow about one hour (without stopping) or 2-3 days to visit attractions along the way.
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. This journey is a true Delaware original. The 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 begins in downtown Wilmington at Rodney Square, home of the Caesar Rodney Statue and the luxurious building that houses the Hotel du Pont and the du Pont Theater. Visitors can explore the park and Farmers’ Market or see Broadway shows in the du Pont Theater. At the start of the 20th Century, the square was a symbol of the international stature that corporations like DuPont had brought to the city; today, it is the gateway to the byway and a modern showcase of historical influences.
Leaving Wilmington, preserved landscapes grace several estates, including Nemours, Winterthur, and Longwood. Created and maintained by heirs to the du Ponts, these estates feature large, elegant mansions, flourishing gardens, and charming pasturelands. Nemours brags a modified Louis XVI French chateau, while Winterthur’s Enchanted Woods fairy-tale garden will charm children of all ages. Longwood Gardens, just over the Delaware/Pennsylvania state border, encompasses over 1,000 acres filled with indoor and outdoor gardens, fountains, and over 11,000 different kinds of plants. At each of these places, visitors can explore rooms full of antique furnishings and discover acres of world-renowned greenery.
The works of Brandywine artists can be found in many of the museums and institutions along the byway. The Brandywine River Museum contains the largest, most comprehensive collection of works by N.C., Jamie, and Andrew Wyeth. The Delaware Art Museum features Pre-Raphaelite work, American illustration, pieces by Howard Pyle and John Sloan, and more. Internationally famous, the artwork exhibited in the Brandywine River Museum and the Delaware Art Museum reflects the scenic splendor of the Brandywine Valley.
History and horticulture, artwork and antiques, rolling hills and open meadows are beautifully intertwined along the alluring Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway to create an unforgettable travel experience.
Top Left: Public domain. Photo by Rick Darke
Right: Public domain. Courtesy of Longwood Gardens
Bottom Left: Public domain.
The National Scenic Byways Program recognizes highways that are outstanding examples of our nation’s beauty, history, culture, and recreational experience by designating them as All-American Roads and National Scenic Byways. The roads being featured were designated by the Secretary of Transportation from nominations submitted by the states and federal land management agencies. These designations provide a compass for people from all over the world to explore America’s treasured open roads.
Content reproduced with permission from the National Scenic Byways Online: www.byways.org