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Delaware: Du Pont digs add class to events

Photo by Jeanette Lindvig, courtesy Winterthur

While researching meeting options in Delaware, meeting planners will notice that many of the most imposing properties have the name du Pont attached to them. And we’re not just talking about the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington. Consider these venues.

Winterthur Museum and Country Estate
A 1,000-acre estate influenced by 18th- and 19th-century European manors, Winterthur is the creation of former owner Henry F. du Pont, a collector of decorative and fine artworks made or used in America between 1640 and 1860.

With the exception of the visitors center, a $1,000 associate membership is required to book venues at Winterthur. Room rates are often negotiable for members, said Isabelle Farrell, assistant director of corporate relations and events. “There are a lot of hidden gems,” she said. “We just opened the conservatory for meetings.”

Three linked period rooms, including the Charleston, which was salvaged from a plantation home in South Carolina, are used for small meetings.

(800) 448-3883

Hagley Museum and Library
Hagley is the birthplace of the DuPont Co., founded by Eleuthere Irenee du Pont in 1802. The du Ponts’ stately home, Eleutherian Mills, dominates the 235-acre property along the Brandywine Creek near Wilmington.

“We’re the perfect location for a meeting,” said the museum’s Meg Marcozz. “We’re close to major travel routes, but when you come out here you feel like you’re in a completely different place. It’s relaxing, scenic and quiet — you can get a lot of work done.”

A number of original buildings have been repurposed as meeting spaces. The visitors center, once a cotton mill, is used for cocktail parties of 50 or less. The Soda House, used to process and store an ingredient used in gunpowder, has an auditorium that seats 200 and  two smaller galleries.
 In Hagley’s library, the Copeland Room holds 100 theater-style, 90 at a banquet. The Reading Room is suitable for theater-style seating for 56, 40 at a banquet.

(302) 658-2400, ext. 203

The DuPont Country Club
Not far from Hagley is the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, where planners often book the first floor of a former du Pont family home, Brantwyn, for cocktail receptions. Portions of the estate’s 60-acre garden can be tented. Larger groups opt for the clubhouse and its Crystal Ballroom for banquets of up to 350. There are eight other meeting rooms, and a terrace overlooks the golf course.

(302) 421-1747 or (302) 654-4435

The DuPont Theatre
Former President George W. Bush recently addressed DuPont Co. employees from the stage of the DuPont Theatre. Tucked into the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington, the theater is often used for meetings and presentations. The 1913 theater seats 1,252.

(302) 656-4401

Bellevue Hall
Located in the Wilmington suburbs off Interstate 95, this is the former home of William du Pont Jr., who transformed it from a Gothic-revival castle into a replica of President James Madison’s home, Montpelier. In Bellevue State Park, the mansion can hold up to 150 people; individual rooms can accommodate from 25 to 100.  The grounds can be tented for events of up to 250.

(302) 761-6955