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could only get a side view picture of the house since walking on the gravel was not permitted
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Nemours Mansion and Gardens

1600 Rockland Road Wilmington, Delaware 19803
Tours offered seasonally Tue.-Sat. 9:30am, 12:00pm and 3:00pm & Sun. 12:00pm, 3:00pm
800-651-6912 3 hours
October 2014 Summer, Fall, Spring
$10-29 Wilmington Delaware
Website Historical Homes
First review
 
Nemours Mansion and Gardens is a French chateau style home and 60 acres of gardens built by Alfred I. duPont in 1910 as a gift for his second wife and named after a town in France. The home, which has 105 rooms and five floors is only open via guided tours. The gardens can be explored on one's own after the house tour. A modern visitor center near the property's entrance includes an interesting historical timeline of duPont family history as well as world events. There also is a short but informative orientation movie about duPont and Nemours.

Alfred duPont (1864-1935) was a member of the famous duPont family and was the great great grandson of the company's founder. Orphaned at a young age, Alfred grew up in the family business and was an accomplished businessman, engineer and inventor. He and two cousins eventually gained control of the company, but later ownership disputes resulted in Alfred being forced out. He turned his interests toward Florida real estate and banking, from which he significantly increased his wealth. When duPont died, ownership of the house passed to his third wife and later to a duPont charitable foundation. There is a hospital facility next to the house which is also owned by the same foundation. The house opened for tours in 1977.

Tours are offered by reservation, so it's best to get one in advance. Also, the house is not open to children under 12 years of age. It's just as well though because there would be nothing here of interest to a young child. Both the orientation movie and the historical timeline in the visitor center were worthwhile, so save some time for them. No pictures were permitted in the house. It was moderately impressive with stylish decorations, beautiful tapestries and rugs as well as various historical furnishings. The tour covers 36 rooms. The entrance area, parlor and dining room were fairly sumptuous, but the modern equivalent of a man cave downstairs in which Alfred and his friends would smoke cigars, drink brandy and engage in other manly pursuits was more interesting. Also, some live parakeets in a sunroom were enjoyable. The tour guide was from New Zealand but was knowledgeable about the house and the duPont family. A tour group of 12 people was small enough so everyone could get a decent view. All in all, the house tour was reasonably good. An unpleasant aspect of the visit though was how strict they were about walking around the house or grounds on one's own. Even walking on the gravel in front of the house to get a better view was prohibited. There is an opportunity later on to walk around the gardens unescorted, but since the tour bus drives around the gardens for about 20 minutes following the house tour, it was unnecessary to duplicate the process. Had it been spring or summer with more flowering plants to admire, perhaps walking in the gardens would have made sense. A visit here primarily will be of interest to those who enjoy historical homes and antiques. It rated slightly above average - not a must see but not a dud.
Author:
guyonthego
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