While in the Baltimore area for the Preakness (which we do not have any
pictures of) we spent one day in the Brandywine valley. The Brandywine
river runs from west of Philadephia into Wilmington, Delaware and was home
to several members of the wealthy duPont family. One of them, Henry duPont,
went from collecting large estates to collecting Americana at one of them
in particular. This home (seen here) is Winterthur which has since been
extended to contain the truly vast amount of decorative arts inside. His goal
was to collect period furnishings and decorations from every stage of American
history. There are a wide variety of tours here some of which specialize in
excrutiating detail in a single type of craft. We partook of the "highlights"
tour which showed an interesting cross-section despite our somewhat overly
opinionated tour guide. One key difference between Winterthur and other famous
homes is that Winterthur is a museum, most of the rooms have never been lived
in. As a result we felt it had sort of a textbook quality to it and wasn't quite
as interesting in that sense. On the other hand if you're interested
in a particular decorative art in American history, this is the definately the
place to go.
Up the road and into Pennsylvania is another duPont attraction. Longwood
Gardens (aka duPont Gardens) was created by Pierre duPont in the first half
of the 20th century. Known for its spectacular fountain displays it has
an impressive variety of formal gardens. Here Melanie stands in front of a
Wisteria "tree". Wisteria is not actually solid enough to grow like this
so these trees have been carefully pruned to grow around an iron framework
The topiary garden is rather fanciful as well. Here we clearly have
geometry run amok. It was misting light rain on and off during our
visit or this would have been a fine place to relax on the lawn.
There are also extensive indoor gardens.
Melanie's favorite flowering plant is lilac, so here is our obligatory
lilac photo. Due to unexpected laziness, or someting, we have no photos
of the rest of our trip. We drove back to Baltimore via the lovely
rural Eastern shore of Maryland. We strongly discourage anyone from attempting
to eat dinner in Annapolis on the weekend the Naval Academy graduates.
We might also mention that the city markets in Baltimore close on Sundays
so don't bother walking over there from the inner harbor. As a final note,
we highly recommend the Brandywine Brewing Company in Wilmington, Delaware
and Capital Brewing Co. in Baltimore (and other locations) as some fine