I've learned quite a bit about history during my travels over the years, and my recent trip to Delaware was no different.
My husband and I decided to stay at the Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa in Wilmington, not only for historical reasons, (it's among the top 10 oldest hotels in the United States), but also because of its convenient location. Each destination, from the du Pont residence of Winterthur, to the Hagely Museum and Library and historic New Castle, is located within a 10 -20 minute drive from the Inn.
The Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa
Located in Wilmington Delaware's Greenville neighborhood is the historic Montchanin Village & Spa. which is listed on the National Historic Register. and is comprised of 11 restored buildings that house 28 guest rooms.
The settlement, named after Alexandria de Montchanin, grandmother of the founder of the du Pont company, was once part of the Winterthur estate, and was home to laborers who once worked at the du Pont powder mills.
Our cozy cottage, named Tatnall, which we discovered was a college prep school in Wilmington, included a sitting room, a kitchenette and a fireplace.
|Krazy Kats is known for fine dining, with a whimsical decor. |
|An eagle greets guests in the foyer.|
To understand the formality of the estate under H.F. du Pont, I'll quote from an article that ran in American Heritage written by Walter Karp on H.F. "He slept in a Queen Anne bedroom, breakfasted in a Newport Chippendale morning room, played bridge in a 'Chinese' Chippendale parlor, and dined in a Federal dining room. Footmen in knee breeches attended to the family, and the atmosphere at Winterthur was so icily formal that one kinsman of 'Uncle Harry' thought it 'too tony' to bear and resolved never to return again. In a family not noted for humility, Winterthur was regarded as markedly pretentious."
The museum boasts 175 period-room displays containing approximately 85,000 objects acquired by H.F., who continued to add to his collection until his death in 1969. Artifacts span two centuries of American decorative arts dating from 1640 to 1860.
When we visited in October, the museum had just opened on a limitted basis after being closed for months due to Covid.
One of the first things we saw, on our tour of the fifth floor after leaving the foyer, was a beautiful staircase that was brought to Winterthur from a 19th-century North Carolina plantation house.
|Known as the Montmorenci Stair Hall, the beautiful, free-hanging staircase was brought to Winterthur from a 19th-century North Carolina plantation house. |
|A piano, which dates 1824-1833, made by Robert and William Nunn.|
|Dinnerware used by George Washington. |
|The Dining Room.|
|The Marlborough Drawing Room.|
|A terrace looks out over the property.|
"Acorn Tearoom," and a Troll Bridge.
|A fainting couch in beautiful shape dates back to the early 1800s.|
|This rococo parlor stove dates back to the mid-1800s and is both practical and decorative.|
|An antique clock crafted in Elizabethville, Pa|
|Stone structures housed the manufacturing process.|
|Antique vehicles seen in the onsite barn. |
|The house is currently closed due to Covid. Check website for updates.|
|The back of the house.|
|A side building used as the first office.|
The Hagely Museum also hosts special events and demonstrations throughout the year. You can visit their website to learn more by clicking here.
|How do you like THIS beer list?|
|I saw some people eating what looked like a delicious meatloaf while we were there.|
|George Read, signer of the Declaration of Independence is buried in New Castle.|