Did you know that Downton Abbey is in Delaware?! Well, let me back up a bit. As you have probably noticed by now, Matt and I find geocaches wherever we go and we have made it a goal to cache the states. Geocaching.com keeps track of our finds and there was a big gap for Delaware. We had found caches in every state along the Atlantic Ocean except that one. We never seem to have a reason for going to that particular state, so on Saturday, we decided it was Delware Date Day! I didn’t, however, want to drive all that way just to get a geocache and come home.
After researching on the internet, I found the perfect place to visit; the du Pont home, Winterthur. It sounded like just my kind of place, beautiful home to tour, 60 acres of gardens, museums and …get this…a special display of the costumes from the TV show, Downton Abbey. When we arrived, I was a bit disappointed that Winterthur was shrouded to cover scaffolding but we did get our photo in front of the Abbey. We welcome you to journey with us into the world of Downton Abbey and Winterthur.
I found it interesting that they would often start with a vintage piece and then create the rest of a gown from it. One example was the wedding dress that the character Edith wore. The veil was vintage and then the dress created to go with it. The antique veil was exquisitely beaded and the dress, while lovely, was not quite as spectacularly beaded.
At the end of the display, there were three containers in which you could put a button. You were asked why you thought the show was so popular. The choices were historical content, costumes or storyline. I think many found it difficult to answer. Those costumes sure were beautiful! I thought maybe they should have had a fourth container with the words under it, “My wife makes me watch it.” It was time to tour the home of the du Pont family, Winterthur.
We had an excellent tour guide, Kathy, who led us through the house as if we were visitors from the time period of Downton Abbey, 1920s. She said as visitors of the du Pont’s for a weekend, we would be expected to have twelve changes of clothes. I said that I hoped they would have a lady’s maid for me since that was a lot of changing! She said, “Yes. The duPonts will always provide a maid if you don’t bring your own.” Whew!
We heard live piano playing as we entered a living area. Kathy said we would spend our morning here. Someone joked that they wouldn’t want to have a headache and be there in that room with the hand painted wallpaper.
The last du Pont to live at Winterthur, Henry Francis du Pont, loved the color green. He used thirty-two different shades of green in his home since he felt that everything went with green. He had come to that conclusion from enjoying his large gardens. Mr. du Pont noticed every detail and was extremely particular in decorating his home. He collected sixty sets of dishes so that after picking fresh flowers from his garden, he could match the china and napkin color to the bouquet.