15 Best Things to Do in Chadds Ford, PA

Chadds Ford, PA
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Chadds Ford Township is a wealthy, semi-rural township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

Previously known as Birmingham Township, Chadds Ford Township changed its name in 1996 to set it apart from Chester County's Birmingham Township.

Chadds Ford comprises a distinctive landscape of rolling hills and wide-open vistas contrasted with thriving suburban neighborhoods.

The township is home to many historic landmarks that appeared after the 1777 Battle of Brandywine.

Explore the history and splendor of Chadds Ford, PA, with the best things to do in town.

Explore the Brandywine River Museum of Art

Exterior of Brandywine River Museum
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the artistic works of the Wyeth family and American Art at the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

The museum showcases exhibits dedicated to Andrew Wyeth, his father N. C. Wyeth, his son Jamie Wyeth, and his sister Ann Wyeth McCoy.

The Heritage Collection is a one-of-a-kind selection of American Art with emphasis on Brandywine Valley's artistic practices.

This collection includes powerful portraits and still-lifes, which adds diversity and depth.

Interior of Brandywine River Museum
Marianne Fisher / Shutterstock.com

The museum is sometimes known as the Wyeth Museum.

You can find it in a 19th-century mill, dramatically expanded with steel and glass, overlooking Brandywine Creek.

The museum also owns and operates three National Historic Landmarks: the Andrew Wyeth Studio, the N. C. Wyeth House and Studio, and the Kuerner Farm.

A piano displayed in Brandywine River Museum
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Explore the Brandywine Wildflower and Native Plant Gardens

Don't miss the chance to see the beautiful lush gardens of the Brandywine River Museum of Art!

The museum's Wildflower and Native Plant Gardens are open to the public.

They are a living representation of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art's efforts to link art with nature.

The horticulturist F.M. Mooberry designed and developed the gardens in 1974.

These gardens contain native and several naturalized plant species of the larger Brandywine area.

The Wildflower and Native Plant Gardens feature trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in a setting comparable to their natural habitats, such as forests, meadows, and wetlands.

A unique attribute of the gardens is the rainwater detention basin, situated in front of the museum right between the two parking lots.

The basin provides a habitat for various wildflower species and acts as a model for reducing river pollution from parking lot overflow.

Walk the River Trail

Discover the bottomlands of Brandywine on a trail that crosses several habitats.

The River Trail starts at the riverside corner of the Brandywine River Museum of Art's parking lot.

From this starting point, a path leads to a meadow reaching the Chadds Ford Historical Society Visitors' Center and the John Chad House.

The approximate loop distance is one mile, which may take 20 to 30 minutes on average.

Keep a look out for some artificial and natural attractions, including the Alluvial Forest.

See native wildlife species and plants, trees, and shrubs, and a stone mill dam.

Hoffmann's Mill used the dam to channel water during the 19th century.

Discover Art at N.C. Wyeth House & Studio

The N. C. Wyeth House and Studio is the historic home and studio of the American artist and illustrator N.C Wyeth.

Wyeth made money with his illustrations for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island in 1911.

He used the money to buy 18 acres in Chadds Ford.

Wyeth had his home and studio built on a hillside with views of the valley.

He put down roots that have nurtured a family of fantastic creativity for over a century.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art gives tours that greatly enhance museum visits by introducing guests to the various facets of the Wyeth family.

In 1997, the N.C. Wyeth House and Studio became a National Historic Landmark.

It also became part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Artists' Homes and Studios program.

Bike along the Brandywine Conservancy

Explore the vistas, take a glimpse of the past, and discover Brandywine Valley's charm.

Since 1967, the Brandywine Conservancy has worked to preserve property, protect water, and foster community involvement in the Brandywine Valley.

It contains over 66,000 acres of historical sites, forests, farmland, water resources, and beautiful landscapes in northern Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania.

Since 2017, the Brandywine Conservancy has hosted Bike the Brandywine, an annual event.

It features scenic loops and showcases the stunning Brandywine Creek Greenway and the surrounding landscapes.

You can ride your bikes along routes of 25, 45, and 62 miles, each offering a memorable and exhilarating experience for recreational and experienced cyclists.

This beautiful and well-sponsored ride raises money for the Brandywine Conservancy's conservation works.

Join a Reserve Tasting at Chaddsford Winery

Chaddsford Winery sits at the center of the stunning Brandywine Valley and upholds a prestigious history that dates back to 1982.

Chaddsford Winery aims to produce friendly wines that people can enjoy in a relaxed and fun setting.

The winery has created an evolving portfolio of dry, sweet, sparkling, and more.

Each wine satisfies a wide range of individual tastes.

Join their intimate wine and cheese pairing and make a reservation for outdoor table service.

Otherwise, take advantage of their walk-in seating.

Chaddsford Winery sets you on your wine journey and gives you a bottle and experience that you'll hopefully love.

Tour the Brandywine Battlefield Park

Wooden work shed at Brandywine Battlefield Park
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Witness history by visiting the Brandywine Battlefield Park.

The Brandywine Battlefield Park is a non-profit organization that conserves the historic environment and presents the biggest single-day battle of the Revolutionary War.

The Battle of Brandywine took place on September 11, 1777.

George Washington's Continental Army fought against British forces under General William Howe.

Benjamin ring house at Brandywine Battlefield Park
berriehol, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Admission covers entry to the visitor center, an 18-minute orientation video, and guided house tours of the Benjamin Ring House.

The house ws the headquarters of General George Washington before and during the battle.

You can also visit the Gideon Gilpin House, home of Gideon Gilpin, a Quaker farmer.

He lived there at the time of the battle.

In 1949, the Brandywine Battlefield Park became a Pennsylvania State Park.

In 1961, the site became a National Historic Landmark.

A barn at Brandywine Battlefield Park
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Dine Al Fresco at the Gables at Chadds Ford

The Gables at Chadds Ford is in a historic dairy barn in the heart of the Brandywine Valley.

The barn is a pre-Revolutionary style home built around 1745.

After more than a century, the farm gently became a fragment of the Brandywine Valley's past.

In 1997, Jack McFadden bought the historic home and barn, which he turned into the Gables at Chadds Ford.

The Gables at Chadds Ford combines a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere with a unique and beautifully-executed menu.

You can expect an exciting fusion of American and European flavors.

Dine al fresco at the patio, sip a cocktail while listening to live piano, and enjoy happy hour with friends.

You can also reserve the venue for your special occasions.

The fresh and seasonal menu, rustic yet sophisticated ambiance, and excellent outdoor setting will keep you returning to the Gables.

Learn about History at the Sanderson Museum

Climb the wooden deck of Christian Sanderson's country house and tour all eight rooms filled with over 200 years of American history.

Along with a massive collection of artifacts showcasing the American experience, the Sanderson Museum offers a significant collection of items related to the life and culture in Chadds Ford.

Christian Sanderson was an actor, local historian, musician, poet, radio commentator, teacher, traveler, and writer.

He gathered the artifacts over a long period.

Sanderson's friend and fellow artist Andrew Wyeth founded the museum in 1967.

It houses original works of N.C Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and other family members.

Discover artifacts from the Civil and Revolutionary Wars, the first and second World War, and the Battle of Brandywine.

Likewise, hear local legends, and see other exciting displays.

For instance, you can see a piece of the bandage used on Abraham Lincoln after his assassination.

You can even check out several celebrity autographs, including those of Shirley Temple and Helen Keller.

Join a Vineyard Tour at Penns Woods Winery

Penns Woods Winery began as a passion project that has since grown into a multi-generational family-owned business.

The winery dreams of establishing Pennsylvania as an innovative and fine-wine agricultural state.

Italian immigrant Gino Razzi founded Penns Woods Winery in 2001.

He used his decades of experience in the wine industry to start producing high-quality Pennsylvania wines from locally-grown grapes.

Since then, the small passion project has grown and continues to grow.

The winery hosts fun activities like wine tastings, vineyard educational tours, and 60-minute yoga classes at the vineyard.

You can join arts and flower arrangement workshops, weekend live music on the lawn, and so much more.

Enter John Chads' House

Exterior of John Chad’s House
Choess, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

John Chads' House is also known as The Chad House.

People believe Chads inspired the name of Chadds Ford.

John Wyeth, Jr. built the house for John Chads in the early 1770s.

Chads lived in the house from 1729 until he died in 1760.

John's wife, Elizabeth, stayed in the house during the Battle of Brandywine in 1777 and lived there until she died in 1790.

Numerous families inhabited the house following the Chads; however, the house fell into disrepair.

To save the property, the town founded the Chadds Ford Historical Society, which raised funds to acquire and renovate the house.

The property encompasses four acres, with remains of an old dairy barn and a dilapidated springhouse.

In 1971, the National Register of Historic Places added John Chad's House to its record.

Visit the Barns-Brinton House

Exterior of Barns-Brinton House
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The Barns-Brinton House is a historical brick house between Hamorton and Chadds Ford.

William Barns, a blacksmith, built the house in 1714.

He ran the house as a tavern from 1722 to 1731.

The property passed through several owners.

Eventually, James Brinton bought the property, where he stayed during the Battle of Brandywine.

Signage of Barns-Brinton House
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The Brintons owned the house until 1859, which inspired its eventual name.

After more than a century, the Chadds Ford Historical Society bought and renovated the house in 1969.

Despite many years of heavy use, most of the house's original interior remains.

In 1971, the National Register of Historic Places listed Barns-Brinton House on its record.

Celebrate the Chadds Ford Days Festival

Enjoy the historical Chadds Ford Days with the entire family.

This colonial celebration honoring Chadds Ford's history has become a local tradition since the 1950s.

The Chadds Ford Historical Society manages the festival.

See reenactors of the American Revolution, colonial demonstrators, and encampments.

Explore craft and artisan booths, book sales, and children's activities.

The Battle at Chadds Ford reenactment will transport you back in time to the 1777 battle.

Likewise, the reenactment even features a battlefield encampment, military exercises, and theatrical encounters.

You can also listen to live bluegrass performances, or grab a bite from food and beverage vendors.

Then, you can explore the visitors center.

You can join free all-day tours of the historic John Chads House and Springhouse throughout the event.

Shop Antiques at Pennsbury-Chadds Ford Antique Mall

Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for the special people in your life?

Visit Pennsbury-Chadds Ford Antique Mall, the biggest antique mall in the area.

Since 1975, this two-floor antique mall has sold good quality items at competitive prices.

Pennsbury-Chadds Ford Antique Mall offers a wide range of antiques, including furniture, fine and custom jewelry, oriental rugs, oddities, paintings, rare books, and vintage records.

With more than 100 dealers in a 20,000-square-foot building, the mall will likely show you great treasures before you return home.

Savor Italian Cuisine at Arugula Ristorante Italiano

Arugula Ristorante Italiano serves authentic Italian cuisine.

The Lubrano family owns and manages the restaurant.

Its menu draws inspiration from traditional home cooking and the family's travels throughout Italy's northern and southern regions.

Seeking to bring Italy to the table, Arugula Ristorante Italiano uses only the freshest ingredients possible.

At Arugula, every dining experience is exceptional, whether ordinary Friday night dinners, business dinners, or special occasions.

Final Thoughts

Chadds Ford Township is brimming with art and history, from museums to historic houses.

Due to its semi-rural setting and historically-rich regions, Chadds Ford Township is the ideal destination for history buffs.

Chadds Ford Township is also a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to leave the crowded city, whether on a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Book your trip today!