September 14 - 16, 2019: Chestertown, Maryland
Since we have spent so much time in the Delmarva area of Maryland and loved it, we wanted to spend a little time in Northern Maryland/Delaware and do some sightseeing. On September 20 in Berlin, MD there is a Fiddle Convention so we want to stay close to the area so we can come back for that.
Once we left Assateague Island National Seashore, we drove North to Duckneck Campground which was in Chestertown, Maryland. Along the way, we stopped at a CAT Scale to weight the truck/trailer, truck, and trailer. We figured since we shipped the Kawasaki KLR 650 home we should reweigh so we know where we are at. On our drive we saw a lot more agriculture, cool buildings, and, of course, more poultry farms.
We choose Duckneck Campground because it was a good central location between Wilmington, DE (Nemours Mansion and Gardens) and Annapolis, MD (US Naval Academy). We had originally been booked to stay here 4 nights, however, as we drove into the campground you could tell that it was mostly full time seasonal residents and the 'temporary camping' spots and shower house were not much to be desired. So we changed on the fly (yes, we are flexible - smile) and stayed here 2 nights.
The spot we were suppose to occupy was occupied with chairs, fire ring, boiling pot, etc. by the campers next to it (they basically took two sites), so we were able to move a few spots down (about 40 feet) and give more space to each of us. Let's just say that the spaces were tight...and thankfully no one came next to us. The neighbors that occupied two sites were really nice. They helped us move a picnic table, figure out how far to back in, offered us beer and to sit by their campfire. We did not take them up on the beer or campfire option, but it was nice of them to offer.
Once we got unpacked, we wandered around the campground. As you can see from the pictures below the seasonal campers are there permanently and build structures around their trailers. Many of them have garages and full rooms. A few of them were for sale from about $15,000 - $40,000. Very interesting. We stopped by the Camp Store for a scoop of Turkey Hill Graham Slam ice cream. $2 for a BIG SCOOP - Nice!
Although the campground was on a lake and had a Camp Store with GREAT ice cream, we confirmed that we would stay 2 days and move onto Tuckahoe State Park so we could be closer to Annapolis, Maryland.
Our main goal of staying in this area was so that we could visit Nemours Mansion and Gardens in Wilmington, DE. We had heard this was a cool mansion built by Alfred I. dePont in 1909. It is a 300-acre country estate with formal gardens and is a classical French mansion that was built to resemble a French château. It has 105 rooms on five floors and occupies nearly 47,000 sq ft.
The next day we drove into Wilmington, Delaware and visited the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. On the way there, I just have to say that Delaware has some cool bridges. We have seen this style of bridge multiple times in Delaware and I love them.
At the Nemours Mansion and Gardens we toured the Visitor Center and watched a video to get some history about Alfred I. DuPont, his family, and the estate.
As you can read from the pictures below, Alfred I duPont was a very giving man to his community. In the third picture, the multi-colored building behind the tower is the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children which was built at Alfred's request.
Once we took a bus to the Mansion, we took a guided tour to get more history and background. Below are some random pictures from inside the mansion, notice the ornate ceilings, fixtures, and furnishings. Yet, the simple basic features and fixtures.
Notice in this room the piece of blue Jasperware Wedgwood? This is the type of Wedgwood that I love and collect!
These are all pictures of the kitchen and pantry area. Notice the silver safe in the last picture. They actually rotate different shelves of silver and have combination locks on them like a bank safe. Pretty cool!
In the basement of the mansion is Alfred's office, a bowling alley, shuffle board, workout room (with the riding bull), ice making room, water bottling room (there is a natural spring on the property), boiler room, plus many others.
Once we were done touring the inside, we took a guided driving tour of the grounds. As you can see from the pictures below there are many statues throughout the estate, greenshouses, cold storage, ponds, and the small building is a schoolhouse that was built for the children of the workers.
After the guided driving tour, we did a self guided walking tour of the main gardens. Holy cow, this was gorgeous, it reminded us so much of our times in Europe and touring the mansions and gardens there.
The Nemours Mansion and Gardens was a really cool place. It did not feel like we were in the United States at all. We felt like we had been transported over to Europe. It was a really fun way to spend the day.
After touring the mansion we visited downtown Wilmington and found a neat Mexican restaurants for dinner and to people watch. Then we drove back to our campspot at Duckneck Campground for our last evening.