A September 2002 trip
to Wilmington by diminor1929
Quote: Just over the border from Pennsylvania, a short 45 mile hop from Philadelphia, is the beautiful Brandwine Valley,chock full of fascinating museums, outlet shopping and world class dining.
Regional specialties such as Chadd's Ford mushrooms were offered both in an appetizer (my partner's crab-stuffed mushroom) and my salad selection of mushrooms roasted in a delicate Marsala wine then tossed with baby lettuces and spring greens. After much speculation, I chose for a main course a savory horseradish-crusted cod that was served with leeks over garlic mashed potatoes. The horseradish and potatoes complimented each other perfectly. I would say this dish is a MUST. My partner's crisp roast duck was just that...crisp without a speck of fat and flavored delicately with some type of mango chutney. The dessert tray did not particularly appeal to us but we were impressed by the wine list. All in all the visit was a memorable one that we agreed we would like to return to with our spouses.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2002
Simon Pearce on the Brandywine at Lenape
1333 Lenape Rd.
West Chester 19382
Since I am a true fungi-fancier, I felt that a Wild Mushroom Soup from the mushroom capital of the world would be in order. It certainly was! I can't identify the mushrooms in the soup but the broth was full of their flavor, yet it was delicate and a great starter. My friend selected the French Tomato Onion, a slightly different twist on an old standby that was original and full of tasty garlic croutons and plenty of melted gruyere cheese.
I also have an affinity for Asian food and so ordered the Vietnamese Shrimp Salad in this highly unlikely spot for a dish like this. It was very, very good with basil and mint stuffed shrimp rolls served traditionally on fresh greens with cucumber, tomato, peanuts, rice noodles and a top knotch spicy Thai dressing. My more adventurous friend chose the Spinach and Roasted Beet Salad that was loaded with fresh goat cheese, spiced pecans, red onion and a wonderful apple cider-shallot vinaigrette.
While the desserts sounded scrumptious, we both bowed out, knowing that if we planned to tour the rest of the afternoon we could not afford to feel over-indulged!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 30, 2002
5812 Kennett Pike Route 52
Centerville, Delaware 19807
Attraction | "Winterthur , An American Country Estate"
After the museum, have lunch in the very upscale (but reasonable) cafeteria-type dining room. (You can eat outside under market umbrellas if the weather warrants it). Then head for the Gardens and the Museum shop.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 16, 2002
Winterthur Museum: Garden Shop
Attraction | "Hagley Museum"
The gunpowder yards and machine shop were not as interesting to me, but the men in the tour groups seemed quite fascinated by this part. There is still an operating waterwheel that operates the machinery of the exhibits and working models of a water turbine,steam engine and powder tester. It takes several hours to see and experience everything that the Hagley has to offer.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 28, 2002
Hagley Museum and Library
200 Hagley Rd
Wilmington, Delaware 19807
Travel down Rt.30 a few more miles and turn left onto King road in Malvern. This is an antique-lovers paradise with King Street Traders and Gallery at 16 E. King St., Dixon-Hall Fine Art on Monument Avenue, a fine old Victorian house chock full of fine art pieces. At Van Tassel/Baumann American Antiques and Early Schoolgirl Needlework on Sugartown Road, you will find lots of examples of furniture and decorative arts as well as a large selection of early schoolgirl needlework.
If you retrace your steps and get back to Rt.30, head west and you will come to town of Frazer and Steven's Antiques. It is full of 19th and early 20th century furniture and accessories. I once bought an antique smoking stand that I still use as an end table.
Another diversion is to take a left off of 30 at rt.100 and head into west Chester,the county seat. On Oakbourne Road you will find Olivier Fleury,Inc. and their collection of 18th and 19th century Provincial French antiques housed in a renovated Chester County Bank Barn. Stop at Monroe Coldron and Son at 723 E. Virginia Ave. for copper, iron and brass works. They are known for hardware, lighting, architectural elements, mantles and fireplace equipment. Good if you are shopping for or renovating a large house.
Heading back out to Rt.30 and on to Exton, is shop of John Bunker and Son at 411 E. Lincoln Highway. Here you will find more knick-knack type antiques, one of a kind items like samplers,vintage ship models as well as tin and brass accessories.
If you aren't completely exhausted by this tour, you can spend the night and start over again for day 2. This time I would recommend you take the route from West Chester along Rt.52 and head into the Brandywine Valley. In Chadd's Ford you will find Jan Whitlock Antiques, right on Rt. 52 and Fairville rd. She is noted for her lovely antique textiles and you can find the most exquisite tablecloths here at most reasonable prices. She carries a lot of folk art and up-scale decorative accessories. At the same intersection is J.&L. West Antiques who carries a great assortment of furniture,accessories and paintings but is only open by chance or appointment.
Finish up the tour on Rt.52 by continuing on into Delaware where you will find Jackson Mitchell,Inc.,a purveyor of English period furniture of 17th, 18th and 19th century. The emphasis here is on wood color and surface. Their pieces are of superior quality and they also feature metalware accessories and botanical engravings. If you collect Victorian Staffordshire animals they always have a large selection. If you aren't completely exhausted or over-saturated, enjoy a wonderful meal and evening in a local bed and breakfast and return home with your new quality antiques.