The du Ponts have never been known for their modest architectural style, and Henry Francis du Pont decided that his estate, Winterthur, should not be unlike the rest. The 175 room house on the property was H.F. du Pont’s home until about 60 years ago, when he decided to open it up to the public as an American museum and garden.Almost 60 years ago, collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont. Winterthur (pronounced winter-tour) is now the premier museum of American decorative arts, with an unprecedented collection of nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860, all displayed in the magnificent 175 room Country House.
Surrounding the mansion is 1,000 acres of preserved hills and meadows. Nestled near the house is a 60 acre garden, which is considered one of the best gardens in the country. H. F. du Pont wished that other Americans would see his estate for the treasure that it was, and enjoy it as much as he enjoyed it himself. After visiting, you will understand exactly why he wanted to share this enchanting place with the world.
Walking the grounds at Winterthur will make you feel like you're on another planet.
One where stunning landscapes are everywhere you look, and the colors of the season take over as far as your eye can see. In the fall, the reds, oranges and yellows of autumn are particularly beautiful.
The estate is so large that you can find something new every time you visit.
Whether it's a new section of the Garden, a fairy trail you weren't aware of, or a new room in the gigantic country house, you can fill a visit with discovery no matter how many times you've been to Winterthur.
Walking the grounds will leave you breathless.
The gardens and grounds cover 60 acres of rolling hills, flat meadows and beautiful collections of flowers and trees. Paths wind their way through the most scenic areas of the Estate, an you'll be amazed by the sights as you stroll the grounds.
Fall is the perfect time to visit Winterthur.
Not only are the crowds a little smaller, but the Musuem runs specials offering discounts for fall visitors. Check out the Winterthur website for more details
on their promotions and tour schedule
You don't have to explore the grounds alone, either.
If you're looking to learn as much as possible about the gardens and grounds, you can take a narrated tram tour through the stunning landscape. Your tour guide will explain the history and current happenings of the entire Winterthur Museum.
The 175 room Country House is just as incredible as the gardens.
Historical architecture was very important to H. F. du Pont. You can see the influence in this doorway, which features architecture from Mordington. Despite the international and historic influence, H. F. du Pont kept the work local, and this particular dooryway was built around 1785 near Frederica, Delaware.
Each room is unique - you never know what's around the corner.
This room, called Tappahannock, has architecture from the Ritchie house in Virginia, around 1740. You'll notice the raised paneling was unique at the time and only found in one other Virginia home. The Tappahannock Room is just one example of the incredibly unique style that H. F. du Pont chose for his masterpiece.
Winterthur is a great place for families - the kids will LOVE it.
The gardens are loved by visitors of all ages, and the house is fascinating, too. With plenty of room to run around and even a kid-friendly playroom called the Touch It Room. There, children get to play in replica rooms from the past: a 1750s parlor, a general store from the 1830s, and a colonial-era kitchen.
Of course, you can't forget about the Enchanted Woods.
Three acres of the grounds are set aside as a land created by the Winterthur Fairies and Elves, specifically for children. Have tea in the Acorn Tearoom, explore the oversized Bird's Nest, and step inside the Tulip Tree House. The Enchanted Woods are my favorite part of Winterthur - you can almost feel the magic of imagination as you tiptoe through.
So, what are you waiting for?
Set aside an afternoon to explore this absolutely magical place. You'll fall in love with the gardens, grounds, house, and Enchanted Woods.
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