Visit Winterthur: A European-Inspired Estate in Delaware’s Brandywine Valley

American heritage is unveiled in this extraordinary manor infused with stunning landscapes and a vast collection of antiques displaying exquisite craftsmanship. Today, the romantic property is the greatest surviving representation of its kind.

Text by Valerie Kramer Davis
Photography by Kate Sears

A rich tapestry of history adorns Winterthur, the iconic American estate nestled amid the rolling hills of Delaware’s beautiful Brandywine Valley. Forests and streams surround the 982-acre property, where naturalistic gardens of lyrical color combinations pave the way to the centuries-old du Pont mansion. Collected antiques as far as the eye can see fill the stunning rooms, transporting visitors back to another time and place.

During the early 1900s, the late Henry Francis du Pont had a vision to turn his family’s residence into a cultural institution: “My idea of Winterthur is that it is a country estate Museum, to show the Americans of the future what a country place and farm were like,” he said.

Modeled after Britain’s country houses in the eighteenth century, du Pont’s ancestors designed their bucolic home to include its own farm and parks that naturally fit the lay of the land. As the fourth-generation owner, du Pont made his dream a reality in 1951 with the opening of the museum, and his legacy continues today in its vast collection of American furniture and decorative arts, as well as through the multitude of educational opportunities it provides to more than 220,000 visitors each year.

An autumn afternoon stroll throughout Winterthur’s grounds affords guests amazing views of gorgeous fall foliage, original barns, and stone walls on the outer edges of the property, and finely detailed architecture that serves as the estate’s focal point.

As a child, du Pont had a strong appreciation for the outdoors, and in 1906 his father gave him full responsibility for the gardens at Winterthur. Upon accepting the task, he traveled throughout Europe to study the elaborate botanical displays there. He then returned to America to carry out his goal of perfecting the property’s rich landscape, which continues to boast bountiful blooms of color from late January through November.

This adoration of nature’s splendor extends inside the mansion and was the inspiration for its décor, with shades of green as a neutral color palette. Several unique paintings embellish the walls of the home, but du Pont focused on siting the windows as the centerpieces of each room, offering magnificent views of the gardens and adding warm, natural light to the living spaces.

Within the mansion, extravagant interiors and displays of tremendous collections of Americana create the backdrop of a bygone era. From lavish textiles and rare rugs to fine china and ornate furnishings, the attention to detail is remarkable. The exuberant spirit of Henry Francis du Pont lives on as Winterthur continues to showcase his collections of fine art and antiques for the world to enjoy.

Tour of Winterthur in Delaware - Victoria Magazine

The beautiful autumnal landscape of Winterthur envelops visitors in a state of relaxation among open pastures and original architecture. One of the first female landscape architects in America, Marian Cruger Coffin designed the formal garden areas that surround the reflecting pool, which was once a swimming pool that provided the setting for the du Pont family’s elaborate social life. Henry Francis du Pont added 135 rooms to the mansion, including a conservatory that features all-glass windows and green marble flooring. Du Pont and his wife, Ruth Wales du Pont, were the final owners of the historical estate.

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    It is one of the most popular magazine that my women guests enjoy reading


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