During my weekend trip to Philadelphia, I decided to take a side trip on Saturday and head to Wilmington, DE. I am on a mission to make it to all 50 states and I had not been to Delaware yet so it made perfect sense to take the opportunity to go when I was so close. I did not rent a car. Instead, I utilized Amtrak and Lyft to complete this side trip.
If not for Lyft (or Uber), I honestly would likely not have gone to Delaware. I had a conversation with a friend about this recently. Ride sharing services have not only revolutionized getting around in Chicago, but they have changed travel for me as well. I no longer have to experience the hassle of renting a car or worry about whether I will be able to hail a cab. I can usually just open my Lyft or Uber app, request a ride and a driver is there within minutes to take me to my desired destination. It is amazing and I highly recommend you consider using them when traveling (not sponsored, just my opinion).
Upon exiting the Wilmington train station, you are instantly greeted by a big park and the riverfront, The park, Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park, serves as a gathering place in Wilmington. It is named for Thomas Garrett and Harriett Tubman. Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. She was born into slavery, escaped and subsequently made at least thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends using the Underground Railroad. In her later years, Tubman was an activist in the struggle for women’s suffrage.
Thomas Garrett lived in Wilmington’s nearby Quaker Hill neighborhood. Quaker Hill is where slaves traveling the Underground Railroad often found refuge. Riverfront Park is adjacent to the Market Street Bridge where slaves were transported to freedom. The statue above honors Tubman and Garrett and it is located in the park.
After lunch, I hailed a Lyft and headed off for the Nemours Estate and the DuPont Mansion. (http://nemoursmansion.org/), which were a short drive outside of Wilmington.
Nemours Estate was owned and developed by Alfred I. duPont. The estate includes a 47,000 sq ft mansion, the largest formal French gardens in North America, a chauffeur’s garage housing a collection of vintage automobiles used on the Estate, and nearly 200 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows and lawns. It shares the grounds with the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Alfred built the mansion as a gift to his second wife, Alicia. He hired a prestigious New York architectural firm to design the mansion in the late-18th-century French style that Alicia liked. Alfred named the estate Nemours after the French town that his great-great-grandfather represented in the French Estates General. He ensured that his new home was thoroughly modern by incorporating the latest technology and many of his own inventions.
They were doing tours of the rooms upstairs and then basement when I arrived so I joined the first one of each to learn more about the mansion and the duPonts. Otherwise, visitors were encouraged to explore the mansion and the grounds at their own leisure. I really enjoyed that. There was never any pressure to keep moving to spend time in areas I was not interested in. The gardens were so pretty so it was wonderful to just walk through them and enjoy the colors and peacefulness of them.