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Brandywine Valley -- Pennsylvania and Delaware

One of Brandywine's estates

Steven Wynn/iStock/Thinkstock

In comparison to the other drives listed, the Brandywine Valley trek is brief. But it's as lovely and scenic as the rest. It's only a 12-mile (19-kilometer) journey through the Brandywine River watershed, but the landscape is unforgettable. As short as it is, though, the drive encompasses two states -- Pennsylvania and Delaware. Many tourists allow one to two days in order to visit some of the country mansions and gardens along the way.

The Brandywine Valley boasts the enduring influence of the du Pont family. The du Ponts made their fortune in this area, building their company and then mansions, gardens and museums. Also the site of the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, the Valley features rolling green hills that bring back thoughts of another era.

Due to the conservation work of the Brandywine Conservancy, founded in 1967, the area retains its charm today. Many of the old mansions and country homes are now open to the public to tour and admire. The Brandywine River Museum hosts many Wyeth paintings and other pieces of classic American artwork.

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