I know you stay up nights wondering what design looks like in Wilmington, Delaware. Well, these images from the Holiday issue of Traditional Home magazine give a glimpse into a home a few blocks from me. It must be in Wawaset Park because Westover Hills calls itself Greenville (home of Joe Biden). I'll go check tomorrow because it might be right here in The Highlands. (Update: Actually, I checked and it's in Westover Hills.) Anyway, this design is actually kinda racy for Wilmington.
Wilmington wears its buns tight. There is a lot of old money and a lot of new money that likes to pretend that it is old. Old money is not impressed. Old money will cut you.
It has a vast park system. The parkway and park near my house were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead of Central Park fame. Most of the old mansions were du Pont homes. They were abandoned long ago when people stopped having insane, excessive amounts of money to live in them, including the du Ponts. Except for Brip (Irenee) du Pont who still lives in this chateau in the Brandywine Valley.
Drive-by photography by HG
The Brandywine Valley is tres scenic and only a minute or two from the city. Brip lives in 3 rooms, the rest of the place is closed off. He drives an ancient Honda Accord or something and wears shoes that are 20 years old. That's how you know you're really rich. Some other mansions are turned into museums, such as Winterthur (Win'-ter-ter), about 5 miles away. The local crazies tend to be duPonts as well - inbreeding, don'tcha know?
There is one old mansion in my neighborhood which belonged to the family of Caesar Rodney (of the famous midnight-ride-through -a-thunderstorm-to-sign-the-Declaration-of-Independence- breaking-the-tie fame) where the gardens have been lovingly, voluntarily restored (that is, restored completely by volunteers) but the mansion is wholly derelict. I love that mansion and it is one of my life's goals to see it rehabilitated (I may be too late). Here are some photos of the gardens and the house at Gibraltar.
The gardens are just open to the public. For free. You can just go hang out or take your wedding party for photos or ride your bike and have a morning coffee there. Also a block from my house is Rockford Park, another part of the neighborhood park system. There's a huge dog park and baseball fields and a water tower that still functions: the engineer who built it also built our house so he had a place to live while he was working on it.
This is the Grand Opera House which has been completely restored and is a fabulous place to see a concert or a musical. I saw Brian Setzer (from Stray Cats) Orchestra last year at the holidays and it was awesome. It's such an intimate place.
Wilmington is the largest city in the state, home of the Blue Rocks and is the corporate domicile of more than 50% of the publicly traded companies in the United States, and over 60% of the Fortune 500. If Delaware is a very small world, then Wilmington is, well, smaller than a small world. But then its motto: "Wilmington. A Great Place to be Somebody" ruins everything.