Montchanin, Delaware

Photo: The Inn & Spa at Montchanin Village
Photo: The Inn & Spa at Montchanin Village

Do you become a bit of a bum during the winter? Most of the year, you spend the weekends running around and exploring. But when it’s cold outside, you just want to stay inside and hibernate. You shouldn’t. Many of the places that are overrun with tourists the rest of the year are now quiet. Everyone stopped visiting as soon as the colorful leaves fell from the trees in autumn. So get off your couch already.

The Brandywine Valley straddles the border of Delaware and Pennsylvania. It’s an easy trip from Philly, Washington, D.C., and even New York. The peaceful area is full of rolling hills, sprawling horse farms, grand estates, and even wineries. Historic sites—from battlefields and gardens to houses and museums—are scattered in between them. While the Brandywine River is never far from sight.

After stops at the Hagley Museum, the Brandywine Battlefield, Chaddsford Winery, and Longwood Gardens, you’re content to call it a day. A still-early sunset, plus the threat of some snow, makes you ready to head home. You could be back on your couch, ordering a pizza, and watching an Oscar-nominated movie within a few hours. At least that’s your plan until you reach Montchanin.

Photo: The Inn & Spa at Montchanin Village
Photo: The Inn & Spa at Montchanin Village

Montchanin is the ideal place to end the day. It’s a historic village with original buildings from the late 18th through the early 20th centuries. There’s a stick-style railroad station, a stone schoolhouse, and a bank barn. The old blacksmith shop is now a French restaurant. While the houses, where gun-powder mill workers from the well-known DuPont Gunpowder Company once lived, is now an adorable inn. Maze-like gardens surround the entire village. It’s official. You’re not going home tonight after all.

The Inn & Spa at Montchanin Village is as cozy as it is cute. The great room, in the main building, has a huge stone fireplace, overstuffed chairs, and an honor bar. There’s a spa, where you’re thinking of booking a rose and linen age reversal facial, as well. Garden paths lead to the rooms, the suites, and the outhouses. Don’t worry, they’re now utility sheds. Your suite’s modern bathroom has a soaking tub and a heated towel rack. A gas fireplace in the sitting room ensures that you’ll never feel chilly while you’re here. Now it can snow.

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