Romantic inns, beautiful scenery, fine wine and dining. For your debut into the world as a married couple, you deserve it all. While Napa and Tuscany may top many lists, taking a post-wedding getaway or holding the ceremony itself in nearby Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, is also an opportunity for a unique adventure.
Formerly Sweetwater Farm Bed and Breakfast, the Inn at Grace Winery is a tranquil haven situated on 50 acres in the historic Brandywine Valley.
Spectacular gardens, outdoor fun and wine tours are just a few of the highlighted features of this low-key bed and breakfast, a mix of elegant guest rooms, outbuildings and a restaurant serving farm-fresh food. And for those history buffs out there, the property has a pretty interesting background. The inn initially housed the British after the Battle of the Brandywine in 1777, later was a safe house for the Underground Railroad and was also used as a Civil War infirmary.
Over the years, it has been renovated into what guests see today: 15 unique bedrooms — each categorized by era — with original fireplaces, a roomy restaurant-grade kitchen and various leisure rooms. Additionally, there are also cottage- style rooms created from outbuildings.
The Manor House contains seven guest rooms located on the second floor of the two wings. The 1734 wing has three rooms in the original Quaker farmhouse. And the grand staircase of the 1815 Georgian addition leads to an additional four bedrooms, all with working fireplaces. There is even a private wine cellar to host intimate dinners and celebrations inside the house.
Eight cottages are scattered throughout the original outbuildings, which include a greenhouse, carriage house and gardener’s residence. Five cottages offer working fireplaces, while four of the cabins provide kitchens.
Onsite, there is also plenty of bonding options: a nine-hole disc golf course, horseshoes, bocce and croquet. Guests even have access to a hot tub, pool and fitness room, among other amenities. Couples can start the evening with a glass of Grace Winery’s finest, a roaring fire and cushy robes and finish the night with a sunset soak in one of the inn’s sunken tubs. When the sun sinks behind the vineyard, you’ll understand what relaxing truly is.
Wine & Dine
Once refreshed, brides and grooms can enjoy an excursion to the region’s many wineries, home to more than two dozen grape varieties that flourish in the climate and soil conditions.
Travel tip: Before heading out, take a peek at the inn’s onsite vineyard, along with the tasting room hosted in the inn’s bank barn — built in 1750.
Its original purpose was as a malting barn for barley and other grains in distilled spirits. Now, the first floor opens onto a large outdoor patio as well as an amphitheater used for wedding ceremonies and cocktail parties. The second and third floors hold tastings and other gatherings.
Next stop, the Paradocx Winery and Vineyard, one of two must-see wineries among the local offerings.
Owned and operated by Dr. Carol Hoffman, along with her husband and two others, the name of the winery is a play on words referencing the occupation of these practicing physicians. This 100-acre space has a winery, tasting room, retail shop and a vineyard growing various reds and whites.
At Penn Woods Winery, guests can take a leisurely walk through the vineyards while also enjoying tastings. Recognized both nationally and internationally for its award-winning wines, this family-run winery offers a plethora of sipping options, from whites and roses, seasonal wines and an in-house cider. In addition to jam-packed weekends of fun, there are also flights and light bites available in the tasting room seven days a week.
Take in Nature
Other well-known activities likely to delight honeymooners or wedding parties? Indulging in some fresh air and trails. They can quickly turn a leisurely drive into a scenic escape as they travel through the Brandywine Valley.
For breathtaking views, check out Hildacy Farm preserve, which features 3.5 miles of unpaved trails to hike, bike or run, connecting with the county’s Darby Creek or Chester Creek trails. There’s also the Tyler Arboretum, where lovers can enjoy some outdoor fun, a romantic picnic or even a moment of quiet. Linvilla Orchards offers year-round activities, including fishing expeditions to Orchard Lake.
For those who like an art scene, visit the Brandywine River Museum of Art, just a few miles outside of Wilmington, Delaware. The former 19th-century mill now features a modern steel and glass addition overlooking the banks of the Brandywine River.
There is also the Delaware Art Museum, founded in 1912 in memory of artist Howard Pyle. The museum is perhaps best known for its vast collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art, illustrations by Pyle, and urban landscapes by John Sloan. Don’t skip the outdoor sculpture gardens for some eye-catching three-dimensional pieces.
Travel time: Two hours from the Baltimore area makes The Inn at Grace Winery a great destination wedding, shower getaway or low-key honeymoon. This romantic retreat has it all.