Sunday, May 15, 2016

Nemours

If I were to admit there is a benefit to having the chicks at school in Virginia it would be that the travel between here and there has opened a whole new region of the country for me to explore. And when traveling there is nothing I enjoy more than touring historic houses so while Mother's Day weekend had me delivering a car to Williamsburg, I took advantage of an early start to seek one out in my usual half-way point near Wilmington, Delaware. On what was a stunning Spring afternoon I visited Nemours, the Beaux-Arts style estate designed by legendary New York architectural firm Carrère and Hastings for Alfred duPont in 1909.


The house remains furnished as it was when Mr. duPont's wife died and the property was transferred to a foundation and later opened to the public. The interiors showcase an eclectic collection of furniture and art, including some rare French 18th-century furniture, but the duPont's decorated with what appealed to them personally and not necessarily what was considered fashionable at the time. This is particularly evident in the bedrooms which feel very intimate for a house on this scale. Unfortunately, the light upstairs made it difficult to get good photos so I am only sharing the first floor rooms.



 


While the majority of the rooms on the first floor are grandly furnished, in the conservatory one can sense the personal touch of the occupants. It gives the impression of being the most enjoyed room in the house.


In a corner was this fascinating 'birdbath' which I wish I had asked about. The tour of the house is self-guided, which is my favorite way to view an historic house, but there are 'interpretive' staff members circulating. Next time I will seek one out.



Detail of the treillage in the conservatory:


The conservatory, to the right off the back of the house, faces a boxwood parterre.


From the front of the house begin the extraordinary gardens.


The gardens comprise the largest formal French garden in North America, including a vast reflecting pool and monumental fountains, and are surrounded by nearly 200 acres of woodlands, meadows, lawns, and ponds.




Built to memorialize Mr. duPont's great-grandfather and great-great grandfather, the Colonnade faces a maze garden in front and from the back is a view across one of the ponds to the 'Temple of Love' sheltering a stature of Diana.




I have really only touched on what there is to see both inside and outside the house in this post. For information on visiting Nemours see the estate website. The duPont family established a significant architectural and horticultural legacy in the region. Also worth the a visit if you are in the area are Winterthur and Longwood Gardens.

14 comments:

  1. Phyllis,
    What a beautiful mansion. I love that library and the architectural details to each room and the exterior of the house is breathtaking. Thank you for taking us along and for introducing me to some of the best places to visits should I ever make it to that region.
    xo,
    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, I think you would like the area. Aside from the historic houses and gardens Terrain has a big store and nursery in the heart of it. I always leave feeling inspired.
      xo
      Phyllis

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  2. Hi,
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. When my oldest daughter was in graduate school in Delaware, I had a couple of opportnunities to visit Longwood, which I loved, and Winterthur. Both of them were absolutely beautiful, but if I have another chance to visit the area, I would love to see Nemours.

    Paula

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    1. Hi Paula, Thanks for stopping by. I have really grown to look forward to my visits to the area and no longer mourn the fact that my baby is so far from home. ;-)
      All best,
      Phyllis

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  3. I would have loved to take that tour! Thanks so much for sharing it with us! Beautiful! Leslie Sinclair

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    1. Thank you, Leslie! It is a very interesting spot and worth a visit.
      All best,
      Phyllis

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  4. I grew up in that area...well, sort of...in Phila. There are so many wonderful places to see: I've never been here, but both Longwood and Winterthur are stunning. We're going up to Chanticleer garden in a few weeks and I can't wait! And, of course, a stop at the original Terrain. I love that the interior is a "self guided" tour and one doesn't have to do the obligatory long, and often tiresome, guided tour!

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  5. It looks beautiful ... Your photos are great. I need to take a look one day.

    Karen in VA

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  6. A masterpiece!!! Stunning photos, Phyllis. That's the prettiest treillage I've seen. I want it! Tom and I have been to Longwood and Winterthur, but not to Nemours - adding to our list.
    Ciao
    L

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  7. Phyllis,

    I have yet to visit Nemours and now will put that on my list. There are so many wonderful houses and historical sites up and down the East Coast. I am sure that you will find a few more as you travel back and forth to VA. Have a fabulous week!

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  8. What a lovely tour... I really want to see this!

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  9. I always wanted to see this out own little Downton Abbey! xo K

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  10. We have not made a trip to the East Coast in eons. This is very tempting. Lovely pictures and you are a fabulous tour guide!

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