Once again, the turkeys have been cooked, the sweet potatoes and stuffing have been passed around the dinner table, everyone states that they are far too full for dessert yet takes a second helping of apple or pumpkin pie, and another Thanksgiving is over. With that, holiday music is played in every store you enter, a frenzy of Christmas sales begins, and it’s hard not to feel that the holiday that always has been my favorite has become more and more commercialized. This year I wanted to begin the Christmas season with less of an emphasis on buying things, and instead, to try to recapture the magic of the holidays that I remember from my childhood. Since I was home in New Jersey for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, on Friday afternoon my Mom and I got into my car and headed toward one of the more unique museums near Philadelphia: Winterthur.
Located in Wilmington, Delaware, the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library is one of the most important museums of American cultural artifacts in the nation. Originally the estate was a twelve-room home for Henry Francis du Pont, a renowned cattle breeder and collector of American antiques and furniture. The du Pont Family is one of the wealthiest in the nation, making its fortune through manufacturing gun powder beginning in the 19th century. Henry used his vast wealth to expand his childhood home into a 175-room museum which was opened to the public sixty years ago. Visitors to the museum can spend the day viewing countless American antiques, strolling the ample nature paths through the gardens, and exploring a fairy garden with their children. Mr. du Pont loved decorating his estate during the holidays and so the museum continues this tradition to this day, transforming itself a celebration of the season. I had heard about this “Yuletide” event previously, so instead of shopping at a mall, my Mom and I headed to explore this beautiful site.
Winterthur’s Yuletide exhibition made for a wonderful trip on a shopping-free Black Friday with my mom. Winterthur is open Monday through Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, and only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Yuletide Tour is $22 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, children ages 2 – 11 enter for $5, and children under 2 are free. The Yuletide exhibit runs from now through January 8th, 2018. The museum is a wonderful way to welcome in the Christmas season, and is definitely worth the stop if you are in the area. Thanks for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead!