So Let’s Say I Wanted to Move Back To Delaware….

I don’t, but after being in my old haunt of Greenville for the last two days, I decided to moose around and see what is for sale, and for how much.

The first one that caught my eye …2240 Old Kennett Road...

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Listing says….every possible amenity. I hate to quibble but I see window a/c units. For my 8million, I might like central air. But like most Delawareans, summer means Rehoboth so why bother air conditioning a home you aren’t in June July and August?

Rare Opportunity to Own a Country Estate with every Possible Amenity! 60+/- Acres of woods, meadows and pond located at the end of a quiet drive. This 4 bedroom, 4.1 baths 19th Century Stone Manor House with exceptional millwork and finishes detailed throughout including wall panels, period moldings and hardware. Magnificent aesthetics with 21st century functionality! Multiple outbuildings which have a delightful 1 bedroom stone guest cottage, beautiful stone barn with exposed beams and fireplace and a tenant house. Secluded setting, ponds, formal gardens with beautiful fountain, private pool, attached greenhouse or garden studio, amazing views and privacy all encompassed on these grounds. Additional acre up to 116 acres available.

I’m also a little confused how much land you get for the $8mm – the last line of the listing says additional acre up to 116 acres available. My worry would be unless I plunked down to buy all the land, I’d see little stone houses popping up behind me. The beauty of Greenville, much like Bedford, is the huge swathes of land still owned by one person, left undeveloped. That’s a feature that today’s home buyers might NOT want anymore. It’s so expensive to maintain all that land.

The interior of the home looks like walking through Winterthur – historically correct paint colors and for sure real deal antiques (no Ethan Allen reproductions here!) I find it dark and too formal for my tastes – it is stunning, but too museumy to enjoy. But look at the FLOORS, THE STAIRCASE….that’s beauty.

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If you want to be closer into town but still have a big old house, there’s a neighborhood called Westover Hills, affectionately dubbed Leftover Bills in my day. I’d say more than half my close friends lived in this heavily tree-lined neighborhood, not much land to each but large houses with room for lots of kids and friends.

This one on Hopeton, $1,259m, a particularly pretty street inside WH, says motivated seller – bring your offers. Wanna bet this is a DuPont employee post Dow takeover without a job?!

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I won’t bore you with interior photos. Bland. Pass.

907 Augusta Road, $1,350M, also inside Westover Hills, is very typical of the style house. This one has been redone inside so I can see a young family finding this a good choice.

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Farther in town are row homes, for which much of Wilmington is famous. This one is only $479 – four bedrooms!! 1312 Woodlawn Avenue. In my day the young couples bought these up, for less than $100k back then. Very cute and doable option.

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If I decided to cross the border into Pennsylvania, I can buy the farm owned by the now-late parents of one of my best friends growing up. It is a TRUE historic gem with land that came down through the generations in the mother’s family. 295 acres folks, that’s 295 acres!!!!!! The fact that the kids have managed to keep it this long is amazing but not surprised they decided to sell. Not all the sibs live in the area so I’m sure they’ve had the talk about the financial pluses and minuses of sitting on this big an asset with no return. For it to work, one sib would have to buy the others all out. Hardly viable in most families today.

I spent much of my high school days hanging out at Wyndemere and I ache inside thinking few people probably appreciate this house and all the land. Take my word, this place is one of a kind. 639 Mill Road, Kennett Square, $8.5million, built in 1770.

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The family raised German Shepherds, always happy to greet and meet.

Wyndemere Farm, a breathtakingly enchanting place, no other like it in Chester County. Come experience the peacefulness and the beauty of 295 acres, a rare find. History emanates from every corner. There are old lime kilns, picturesque ponds, hence the name Wyndemere,and a great Blue Heron rookery that is truly a wonderful and uncommon site. The gardens are beautiful. There is an old school house which dates back to the late 1800’s. The main house has great charm and dates back to the late 1700’s. The farm has been in the same family for over 100 years.

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A little later than this photo, I saw my first microwave oven in this house – it took up almost a entire corner of the kitchen counter.
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Where lived a gorgeous 1964 Ford Mustang!
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The school House became home to one of the adult sons later. Party central

This concludes my look backward. It’s always fun to visit but too provincial a town for my taste to live there again. It was wonderful to grow up in, with wonderful freedom to ride our bikes anywhere, a gift my parents gave us that I’ll always be thankful for, but I honestly doubt I’ll visit Greenville again after my mom dies. Sometimes it’s nice to tuck memories away and keep them there.

12 thoughts on “So Let’s Say I Wanted to Move Back To Delaware….

  1. Take the farm in Kennett. Wow, that’s amazing. Sell off all but 25 acres and be protected. Great tour, thanks.

    1. The son who was my close friend has done much over the last decade or so to market the land for sale. I know he went through the process of getting a subdivision approval but I guess there were no developer takers. Wyndemere is a lifestyle that doesn’t exist today, even in horse country like Delaware and Kennett. It was idyllic back in the day though.

  2. Is there any word on the street that the DuPont merger is going to seriously affect upper end real estate? I can’t help but think so, if execs leave.

    Agree with Bedford Mom – that farm in Kennett.

    1. Peter, I don’t know any realtors in Wilmington well enough to ask that but I have to assume your comment is 100% correct. Although, Wilmington is less a DuPont town and more a banking town now and I don’t know if those execs care about a big old stone house. They might all want new builds, and there are plenty of those.

  3. I lived in the Philadelphia suburbs growing up and often found myself in Wilmington visiting friends through the sports I played (tennis and squash). I thought Greenville was heaven on earth. I had occasion to take my children to Winterthur and Longwood last year and was shocked at what happened to Greenville – such a huge enclave of shops and new homes.

    1. Anon, when I was but a tyke, Greenville was one building with a small post office attached to the family owned and run hardware store attached to a family owned and run pharmacy attached to a family owned and run grocery store. There was a Wilmington Trust in there too, I think, but not sure. You are correct to say Greenville is anything but that now. Still, many many huge estates and generations of families love Greenville and will fight to keep it green.

      1. Thomas Wolfe was right – “You can’t go home again.” I feel it every time I go back to OG. I was blessed to grow up there as were my children. It’s gratifying that they & their friends, who are all now raising their own families, realize just how great it was. They just didn’t know it then.

        1. Most excellent comment and quote!

          Of my high school classmates, only a handful stayed in Delaware to marry and raise children – those who did were either named duPont or worked for the company and of the latter, I knew only ONE of my classmates who worked for EI, as compared to 99% of our parents. My age flew the coop, many went out west to college and never came back – my classmates also were varied in career paths – from ministers to lawyers (sadly, one of whom was just indicted by the Feds – oops!) to art historians to WSJ columnists. We were a class that didn’t fit the Wilmington preppy mold, it was war-time, we were fidgety, wanted to see life outside 19807 zip code. I can look back with huge appreciation to what I had, be thankful that I was given such a backdrop in which to grow up, but also understand that was then and this is now.

  4. Friend’s family property is 850 acres in southern Vermont. Very, very difficult to keep that much land in the family, even with a substantial trust specifically for that purpose.

    1. Totally agree. 850 acres, that’s amazing. Not only does it take a substantial trust to keep property in family, it takes a family member to be the next shepherd. I find that aspect the most difficult. My children’s age group is far more peripatetic. They don’t want one family summer house or one family ski house like my parents generation provided for us. Thinking is completely different. But still, 850 acres in Vermont. Be sure and keep it away from Bernie!!!!!

  5. My brother is a huge bike racer and has competed in the Granogue Cross event Wilmington, in Centreville. A sprawling duPont estate that I understand was in its day an entire working town – complete with a railroad station, farm houses. Been there?

    1. Oh yes indeed. Granogue was part of my high school playgound, giant ballroom and all. The current duPont family residents are in their 90s, good friends of my mom, the most incredible giving people on the planet. They regularly host events at Granogue, opening the house and land to bike and running events, and nature groups events too. I don’t remember off hand the exact acreage, but I am sure it’s well over 500. What will happen to Granogue when the current generation dies is anyone’s guess. There are children (the one my age died of a rare cancer) but I can’t imagine they would choose to live in such an enormous house. They may choose to maintain the home legacy and keep it alive, open it to the public. Beyond that, I don’t know.

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