The Brandywine Valley, spanning southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, is only around 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Central towns include Chadds Ford, Kennett Square, West Chester, and Wilmington, any of which makes a fine base for exploring.
Many of the Brandywine Valley’s major attractions include the lavish, historic estates and gardens of generations of du Ponts (Longwood Gardens, Hagley Museum and Library, Nemours Mansion, and Winterthur), one of the wealthiest and most prominent American families in history.
The local landscape has been immortalized by world-renowned painter Andrew Wyeth, and a visit to the Brandywine River Museum is a chance to see many of these works in the place that inspired them. Home to charming towns, Revolutionary War sites, museums, and wineries, the Brandywine Valley is a romantic destination.
Getting to the Brandywine Valley
The Brandywine Valley is about 30 miles, or a 45-minute drive, southwest of Philadelphia. It is easily accessible via major routes I-95, I-476, U.S. Routes 30 and 322, and the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes. The major roads running through the area are Routes 202, 1, 100, and 52. A car is the best way to get around, since attractions are spread out, driving on the country roads is pleasant, and parking is abundant.
If that isn’t an option, SEPTA (215/580-7800, www.septa.org) provides limited bus and regional rail service from Philadelphia to West Chester and some other nearby areas. SCOOT (Southern Chester County Organization on Transportation, 877/612-1358, www.tmacc.org) offers service between West Chester, Chadds Ford, Kennett Square, and other locales. DART (800/652-DART, www.dartfirststate.com) offers local service in and around Wilmington.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition