Ready to feel holly and jolly? You could spend the entire month of December celebrating the holiday season. From parades to markets and festive rides, there is really something for everyone and every age to enjoy. And then, as 2019 winds down and 2020 comes into focus, it’s time to really party! I’ve pulled together more than 65 of the best, most unique, and fun holiday and Christmas events in Philadelphia and across the region plus New Year’s Eve events, too!
Anyone who thinks museums are full of dusty, static exhibits has not yet been to the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Delaware. The museum‘s collection of nearly three dozen aircraft is impressive enough for gearheads, but it’s the true stories of these planes that really move you emotionally. A visit to the Air Mobility Command Museum should be at the top of your list of things to do in Dover, Delaware.
During my recent day trip to Historic Dover, I made a visit to the Air Mobility Command Museum with my husband. The museum’s Operations Manager, Mike, gave us an incredible tour, rich with facts and history. While I thought the visit to the museum was more for him, I came away just as affected by the planes on display. These aren’t merely exhibits, these are true pieces of history.
While doubledecker sightseeing buses full of tourists clog the downtown city streets of Philadelphia and Boston, historic Dover, Delaware, is remarkably quiet. The capital of The First State is only an hour from Philly and features many of the same important highlights: historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and no shortage of stories that reveal just how important the petite state really is in the nation’s founding. I recently was invited for a day trip to Dover with my husband. And even for a Friday in June, we practically had the city to ourselves!
I’ve found The Secret Garden and it’s Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. The one-time private estate is now a public garden and research center with nearly 600 acres of managed natural lands and another almost two dozen acres of gardens. I recently had the chance to visit Mt. Cuba Center with my husband and it was even more lovely than we had expected.
Christmas in Historic Odessa, Delaware captures all of the charm and tradition of the holiday season. It’s not over-commercialized reindeer or cartoony men in red suits. It’s far more innocent and heartfelt. The town captures a yuletide feeling that hardly seems to exist anymore these days. The small town of historic homes put on its holiday finest each year to awe, inspire, celebrate and welcome visitors. My husband and I made a trip to Odessa, Delaware to experience the holiday cheer and the historic homes in person.
For over a century, HOTEL DU PONT in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, has been hosting guests. From presidents to kings and queens, HOTEL DU PONT has been THE place to stay, dine and be entertained. But it’s also the ideal place to stay if you’re discovering the region along the Pennsylvania-Delaware border that’s peppered with museums and history (Longwood Gardens, Nemours Mansion & Estate, Winterthur, Brandywine River Museum of Art). Recently my husband and I checked in at Hotel Du Pont for the night and it was the perfect place to unwind and relax.
A day of culture. Art and afternoon tea. It’s difficult for me to think of a better way to spend a day. And Wilmington, Delaware, has just the answer. After my recent trip to the Brandywine River Museum of Art, I headed down to downtown Wilmington. Only a short drive away from the museum is the luxurious and historic HOTEL DUPONT. The HOTEL DUPONT afternoon tea will both spoil and delight you. It is a day to savor and enjoy. It does not take long to become impressed by the HOTEL DUPONT. Even those unfamiliar with its legendary reputation for luxury will soon get the picture once they step inside the lobby.
Update: As of 2020, Hotel DUPONT’s Green Room is no more. Instead, the Brandywine Room is now offering the HOTEL DUPONT afternoon tea on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Judging by the photo above of Nemours Mansion and Gardens, where do you think I am? France? Germany? Italy, perhaps? You’d be forgiven for thinking so. But I’m actually in Delaware. That’s right. The First State and the home of tax-free shopping has a magnificent mansion that draws on European influences.
Nemours Mansion and Gardens was the home of Alfred I. du Pont. The massive estate is today open to the public. It’s quite a remarkable home with impressive gardens. In fact, they are the largest formal French gardens in North America. And that’s before you consider that the estate isn’t in Europe and, really, isn’t all that old. It’s a taste of Europe’s royal golden age that is hard to find on this side of the Atlantic.
If you’re anything like me, it always seems to be the attractions that are close by that I never get around to visiting. For years I’ve wanted to visit Winterthur and for years I just never got around to it. Funny how that works out. Fast forward to the announcement last year that Winterthur would have a special exhibit of costumes from the television show Downton Abbey. Then all of sudden, I made time to go to Winterthur. Funny how that works out.
So with my partner in crime for the Downton Abbey exhibit — in this case, my mother — we headed down to Delaware on a Friday morning to indulge in the dress of the English wealthy being exhibited in an American mansion.