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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

This program has been canceled. Ticket holders will be notified about credit and/or refund options.

Spring in the Brandywine River Valley

Overnight Tour

Depart: Sunday, June 14, 2020 - 7:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, June 15, 2020 - 7:00 p.m.
Code: 1NNBVO
$480 - Double Room Member
$540 - Single Room Member
$640 - Double Room Non-Member
$700 - Single Room Non-Member

Longwood’s conservatory (Courtesy Longwood Gardens)

The Brandywine River Valley includes some of the loveliest and most historic areas of Delaware and Pennsylvania, and spring is an ideal time to sample its attractions. Join Hayden Mathews, an environmental and cultural history interpreter, on a two-day visit to sites that provide unique doorways into the region’s heritage.

Begin with a tour of Wilmington’s Hagley Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate that brings to life the history of the area’s famous gunpowder mills, the rise of water-powered industry, and the influential role that the du Pont family played in shaping the region. Step into  the Federal-era home of E.I. du Pont, founder of the DuPont Company, which served as the center of family and business life for nearly a century. Trace the legacy of Hagley and the family into the early 20th century with a visit to Nemours Mansion and Gardens, the setting for the elegant and grandly scaled lives of businessman and philanthropist Alfred I. DuPont and his wife, Jessie, for whom he built the house in 1907.

Explore the area’s artistic traditions at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, housed in a renovated 19th-century mill with a dramatic steel-and glass addition that overlooks the bucolic river. Noted for its works by N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth, the museum’s galleries offer a cross-section of American art of the 19th and 20th centuries, with an emphasis on regional artists. Longwood Gardens offers another du Pont connection: The property Pierre du Pont purchased as a country retreat in 1906 evolved over the decades to reflect his vision of a stunning collection of outdoor and indoor garden spaces designed to delight visitors throughout the year. Participants enjoy a guided tour that shows off the gardens’ seasonal beauty at its best.

Accommodations are at the Mendenhall Inn in Chadds Ford.


  • Cost includes bus transportation, lodging, all activities, and the following meals: one breakfast, two lunches, and Sunday dinner.
  • Overnight accommodations are at the Mendenhall Inn in Chadds Ford.
  • Tour departs by bus from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut Ave. and DeSales St., N.W., with a pickup stop at the I-495 Exit 27 carpool parking lot at about 7:55 a.m.
  • Single-room supplement $60 (factored into the Single Room Member and Single Room Non-Member pricing).
  • Singles registering at the double-room rate are paired (on a nonsmoking basis) if possible, but must pay the single-room supplement otherwise.
  • Detailed information is mailed to registrants about four weeks prior to departure.
  • Registrants may want to consider purchasing trip insurance.