Wilmington, Delaware. I know. It is probably not on the top of your “must travel to” list. Honestly, it wasn’t on the top of my list either. However, during my weekend trip to Philadelphia, I decided to take a day trip to Wilmington because I was in the process of visiting all 50 US states and I had not been to Delaware yet. In this post, I I tell you how to spend a day in Wilmington, Delaware.
Taking the Train from Philly to Wilmington
It turns out that taking Amtrak from Philadelphia to Wilmington is not a cheap process because it is part of a larger route that is very popular among commuters in the Northeast. As a result, the tickets to get from Philly to Wilmington were very expensive – $40ish for a fairly short ride. I decided to take Amtrak to Wilmington and then took an Uber back to Philly in the afternoon, which was about $60.
If you are comfortable renting and driving a car between the two cities (I was not), it might be worth renting a car for this trip, especially if it is on the weekend when traffic is lighter.
Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park
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 spending time in the park and walking around Wilmington for a bit, I decided to get some lunch. Harry’s Seafood Grill was across the street from the park and the menu looked interesting so I decided to check it out. I had the fish sliders and fries and thought it was good. I even got to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the views while I ate.
It was perfect!
The Nemours Estate and the DuPont Mansion
No trip to Wilmington, Delaware is complete without a visit to the Nemours Estate and the DuPont Mansion so after lunch, I hailed a Lyft and headed off for the Nemours Estate and the DuPont Mansion. It was a short ride from downtown 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.