It’s not every day that I get invited to tiptoe through fairy circles, or duck my head into a tiny wooden wonderland made just for pint-sized explorers. My friend Mara over at The Mother of All Trips grabbed me the last time I was on the east coast and said I had to bring the boys down to Delaware to discover one of her favorite spots, Winterthur Garden. Who was I to say no? Good company, and a place to keep my energetic boys entertained plus a gorgeous garden in spring bloom? Let’s just say she didn’t have to twist my arm.
A trip down to Winterthur is worth the trek across the state line if you are ever in Pennsylvania, Maryland, or even in the first state of Delaware (yes, it really is a state. Mara promised.) The estate, one of the old DuPont family properties, seems endless. As we drove in Dek and I spotted sheep. Then we took in a massive parking lot quickly followed by the gift shop. Instead of heading into the mansion to see the decorative arts collection, Mara steered us to the more baby and toddler friendly area, better known as the Enchanted Woods. What a wise woman she is.
Dek wasn’t so sure at first. He’d been stuck in the car for a while, now we were going to make him walk. Good grief ma, what are you doing to me? And then we found the snake trail. Mara had Dek engaged in no time. We followed this brick trail to the Enchanted Woods. Dek dove for the hand water pump; I prayed he wouldn’t fall into the trough feeding a small pool under a bridge. We crept into the cottage fit for tiny hobbits, walked through a giant birds nest, and Mara even tried to tempt Dek into the coolest fairy circle you will ever find; as soon as she walked in mist rose up from the ground. Dek was having none of that. No way was he getting whisked away by any of these fairies we kept talking about. He’d seen the Tinker Bell movies. He knew what was waiting inside.
The gardens were endless, but that was part of their charm. There was no way we would see everything in a few hours. Instead we opted to head back to the restaurant and enjoy a quick bite before I headed back to Philadelphia for nap time, and Mara headed off to grab her boys from school. It’s not hard to tempt me to a new spot, but Mara knew a garden would get me into her neck of the woods. Now I’m just waiting for her to twist my arm again so we can explore even more of the estate together.
Know Before You Go
- Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
- Winterthur, DE 19735
- Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00pm. Closed Mondays (except during Yuletide), Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day
- Parking: Free
- Cost: $18 adult | $5 child (2-11) | under 2 are free (tour costs are not included)
- Strollers: Yes, there are easy to navigate paths, but little feet will want to do a lot of exploring for themselves.
Warning: You will need to find your own friend to help you discover the wonders of Winterthur. I’m keeping Mara all to myself.