Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway – DE

Details

  • DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2005)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
  • LocationDE/PA
  • Length12 of 37.3 total miles
Byway Visitor Information
Delaware Greenways
Statewide Byway Partners
Delaware Department of Transportation
Visit Delaware
The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway gently cuts through the rolling hills of the piedmont landscape along Route 52 looking toward Route 100 at Winterthur between Greenville and Centreville
Rick Darke Photo

Overview

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 from city-side to countryside. This journey is a true Delaware original, often referred to as Chateau County. The Brandywine Valley National Scenic byway leads to an unparalleled concentration of historic sites, magnificent estates, glorious gardens and mesmerizing museums where visions from a vanished century abound. A portion of the byway is also a section of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, traveling from Maryland to Pennsylvania. Here the history of America – social, economic, horticulture and art – will be laid out before you as you travel the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway.

Local Byway Partners

Story of the Byway

This area is often referred to as Chateau Country due to the unparalleled concentration of historic sites, magnificent estates, glorious gardens, and mesmerizing museums. The area’s significance is attributed to its role in three centuries of American Industrial history.

The water-powered mills and proximity to the Port of Wilmington created thriving industrial and commercial markets and spawned the development of Wilmington. Later the Wilmington-Kennett Turnpike (now Route 52) left a legacy of buildings, parks, and cultural institutions created by eighteenth-and-nineteenth-century industrialists. Hotel du Pont, the Wilmington Institute Free Library, the Federal Courthouse, and the U.S. Post Office (now Wilmington Trust) are all found at Rodney Square.

Leaving the city, the picturesque, preserved landscapes contain numerous American country estates. Landscaped gardens are a vital component of these historic landscapes within the estates. It takes about an hour to drive the byway but allow 2-3 days to experience it all.

Driving Directions

This is a “Y”-shaped Byway and begins just off I95, at Rodney Square in Wilmington, DE. Heading northwest, the route splits and the Highway 100 (Montchanin Road) section travels almost due north through Montchanin, Winterhur, and past the Brandywine State Park before ending at the Pennsylvania border. The other route heads northwesterly on Highway 52 (Kennett Pike) and travels through Greenville and Centreville before it also ends at the Pennsylvania border. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and their Byway program picks up the management of the byway at the border.

Points of Interest

  • Delaware History Museum

    Renovated in 2016 a two-story glass connector links to the 18th Century Old Town Hall building.

  • Rodney Square

    In downtown Wilmington, the center of commerce and culture

  • Nemours Mansion and Gardens

    The “Sunken Garden” was designed by Alfred Victor du Pont on the 300-acre country estate.

  • Goodstay House and Gardens

    Historic property and gardens in Wilmington

  • Winterthur

    An American Country Estate with a seven-story former home of Henry Frances du Pont. Visit the Enchanted Woods Fairy Ring for storytelling, the Tulip Tree for children to play in, and the Fairy Flower Labyrinth.

  • Brandywine Creek State Park

    933-acre preserve divided by 19th-century stone walls, with tulip poplar forest and nature center

  • Delaware Museum of Natural History

    Dinosaurs and other kid-friendly exhibits

  • Hotel DuPont

    Elegant rooms and dining.

  • Gibraltar Mansion and Gardens

    Also known as the Hugh Rodney Sharp Mansion.

  • Delaware Art Museum Galleries

    Featuring pre-Raphaelite art, Brandywine school illustrators, and 9-acre sculpture garden.

  • Inn at Montchanin Village

    A historic hotel of America.

  • Hagley Museum and Library

    River front site featuring regional industrial history, including gunpowder mills and the du Pont home

  • Centreville Village

    Unincorporated community known for being the location of the du Pont family estates as well as other wealthy business families.

Itinerary

  • Experience the Brandywine Valley

    Starting in the City of Wilmington and heading northeast along SR-52, your journey along the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway has officially begun! There are plenty of attractions located along the Byway in Wilmington, including Rodney Square and the du Pont Theatre. As you start your journey on the road, you can stop by one of the many parks that are located along the Delaware River and take in the beautiful scenery. After a short while in the road, the Byway splits into two different routes: one continuing along SR-52, and the other along SR-100. Each path has plenty to offer, and you can easily travel both within the same day.

    If you continue along SR-52, you will pass by some beautiful locations that are easily accessible. This includes the Delaware Museum of Natural History and the Edgar M Hoopes Reservoir. If you are looking to drive even further, you can change paths onto the Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway, which is accessible from multiple points along the road!

    If you travel on the other path along SR-100 there are just as many ways to enjoy the journey. You can first stop at the Historic Inn at Monchanin Village to take in the history and culture of the area. The main attraction of both this section of the road and the entire Byway is the wonderful Winterthur Estate. This area is a true gem in the State of Delaware and serves as a museum, a garden, and even a library. You can spend the entire day exploring this beautiful location and it is the perfect way to end your journey along the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway.

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