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Spring blooms in Brandywine Valley inspire Spa at Montchanin Village

Step inside Longwood Gardens’ conservatory…and breathe.

Spring has arrived!

Just 90 minutes north of Washington in the scenic Brandywine River Valley, Longwood is an ideal escape from winter.

Recuperate with Red Flower treatments at an enchanted spa in Montchanin Village. March packages include Longwood tickets and spa disocunt with overnight stay. Or go for a day.

Longwood’s annual orchid extravaganza dazzles the senses. In the four-acre conservatory’s central hall are dozens of orchid arrangements, surrounded by 20 theme rooms that range from cascades to desert plantings, fern passages, bonsai, and children’s gardens.

Plan your emergence from winter online ( Tickets are timed to control crowds, giving you access to outdoor gardens as well as the conservatory. Plus a great garden shop and the outdoorsey Terrace restaurant.

Lunch at the Terrace features mushrooms from nearby Kennett Square. Go casual in the café, or savor the seasonal menu in a glass-walled room named for Longwood’s founding in 1906 by Pierre and Alice du Pont. (Reservations for 1906 should be made online via

Open daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. through March 30th (when the orchid show closes), Longwood Gardens has fountain shows and organ concerts throughout spring and summer.

Spa-cation in a 19th century hamlet

Another legacy of DuPont in Brandywine Valley is Montchanin Village. Built for workers at the company’s powder mills, the 19th century houses and gardens resonate a bygone era. Restored houses offer 29 guest rooms and suites with marble baths, period furniture, stone walls, fireplaces and TV.

Stroll lanes of cottage-style gardens to the Spa at Montchanin Village. A recent addition in the former blacksmith’s shop, this cozy retreat has the feeling of being in Provence. Don a warm robe and slippers (brown for men, pink for ladies) and relax as tea is served and lunch ordered.

March specials feature a lavender aromatherapy massage followed by full-body exfoliation. After lunch, a customized facial from Darphin, a Parisian product line. Finishing touches: hands and feet are indulged by a manicure and pedicure complete with red flower marine salt scrub and mask. ($399, plus gratuity)

Stay in the 19th century by visiting the nearby Winterthur Museum. Historic rooms of American hand-crafted furniture and antiques are currently complemented by glamorous gowns from Downton Abbey, on loan from the TV show producer.

Feeling like lords and ladies of the manor, you're ready to return to reality.

The Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa | Route 100 and Kirk Rd., Wilmington/Montchanin, DE | Spa Appointment: 302-888-4205 ; Lodging and dining: 302-888-2133 /

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