The heart of the Brandywine Valley decks out for the holiday season.

Centreville, Delaware Hagley Museum
The Hagley Museum offers a glimpse into the du Pont family and company history.
| Credit: Courtesy Cathy Baty/Carroll County Historical Society

Stepping into this town is like entering a quiet Andrew Wyeth painting. After all, this is the countryside that inspired the famous painter. Centreville is a genteel pastoral village surrounded by small working farms and grand estates built by wealthy New World families. First settled in 1685 by European Quakers, it's encircled by cultural landmarks. The du Pont family homes—Winterthur, Nemours, and Eleutherian Mills—are less than 10 minutes east, while the spectacular Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine River Museum are just to the west.

du Pont Homes: Discover one of the best collections of American antiques at Winterthur, while Nemours's 77-room mansion is furnished with art and antiques from around the world. The Hagley Museum and Library, site of the ancestral home, sits on the banks of the Brandywine River.

Photo Op: More than 500,000 lights illuminate Longwood Gardens' finely tended, stunning landscape.

Saturday Morning: Explore the shops along Kennett Pike; Garrison's Cyclery for outdoors activities on two wheels; Hardcastle Gallery for affordable local art. Afterward, enjoy a coffee at Montrachet Fine Foods.

Lay Your Head: The Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa has 11 restored buildings dating from 1799 with 21st-century amenities (gas fireplaces, private courtyards).

Local Secret: Sunday brunch at Buckley's Tavern, a celebrated haunt.

Closest Airport: Philadelphia (PHL), 40 minutes north via I-95

December Temps: 48°/29°

December Dress Code: layer sweaters over wool slacks