In the Brandywine Valley lush countryside, beautiful gardens, tasty wines and brews, and small-town charm can all be found a short drive outside of the big city.
“Chester County’s Brandywine Valley lies in the heart of the Countryside of Philadelphia and is a welcoming oasis to groups of all sizes,” said Courtney Babcock, director of sales for Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau.
The area celebrates a handful of festivals, is known for producing over 60 percent of the nation’s mushrooms and offers a variety of group-friendly attractions.
“Often referred to as ‘America’s Garden Capital,’ the region is home to world-renowned Longwood Gardens as well as other du Pont museums and gardens,” Babcock said. “Vineyards, breweries, art, history and charming towns with delightful shopping and cuisine are just some of the treasures found in the Brandywine Valley. Charming accommodations and gracious hospitality round out the perfect getaway experience.”
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library; Nemours Mansion & Gardens; and Chanticleer are just a few of the natural wonders groups will find in Chester County.
Nemours Mansion & Gardens is home to the largest formal French gardens in North America. The estate, once owned and developed by founder Alfred I. du Pont, also comprises a 77-room mansion; a Chauffeur’s Garage housing a collection of vintage automobiles; and nearly 200 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows and lawns.
Covering 1,000 acres, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library offers a natural setting with streams, rolling hills and gardens that display the choicest plants from around the world. The gardens are a work of art and arranged in lyrical color combinations that were created by Henry Francis du Pont.
At Chanticleer, the 35 acres of gardens are imaginative and relaxing. Guided tours lead groups through the former estate of Adolph Rosengarten Sr., and his wife Christine. The pleasure garden focuses on plant combinations, containers, textures and colors, often relying on foliage more than flowers.
Since it is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World, Kennett Square celebrates with an annual Mushroom Festival. Held the weekend after Labor Day, the festival provides the opportunity for visitors to learn about and celebrate the fungus.
Go high in the sky at the Chester County Balloon Festival. Held in June at the New Garden Flying Field in Toughkenamon, the festival celebrates hot air ballooning, the oldest form of air travel. Festivalgoers will be able to go up in a hot air balloon.
Music lovers won’t be disappointed. The Citadel Country Spirit USA is a three-day country music festival in August that has a lineup of today’s big-name country artists.
Other great stops
Americana abounds at the fun and quirky American Treasure Tour Museum. Guided tram tours take groups through the 100,000-square-foot museum, which displays classic automobiles, hundreds of automatic music machines, hobbyist-built model airplanes and other pop-culture memorabilia.
The Brandywine River Museum of Art showcases generations of American art and art collections from the Wyeth family of artists. Pieces on display include 19th- and 20th-century landscape paintings, portraits and still-life paintings.
Save time for tasty sips at several of the 19 area breweries that create handcrafted and delicious beverages. And don’t forget tours and tastings at area wineries.
For more information, contact Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau (Brandywine Valley) at 484-770-8550 or brandywinevalley.com.
Article by Steph Lulofs