How quickly can you leave the 21st Century? Two hours north on 95 and a right at Exit 7 and you've entered a time warp. There's no CVS, no Walmart, no crowds, and the newest buildings dates to, oh, 1935.
Decompression comes swiftly in Delaware's Brandywine Valley, where carriage paths have been paved for cars but not much else has changed in a century. Stone mansions jostle stone cottages, all tucked behind rose tumbled stone walls.
In its midst, the Inn at Montchanin Village is perfectly situated for exploring the duPont's Winterthur museum and gardens (including an exhibit of costumes from the Downton Abbey TV series paired with like garments from the duPont collection) , the Wyeth collection at the Brandywine Museum, and Longwood Gardens - whose conservatory makes Washington's look like a terrarium.
Once the homes of workers employed at the duPont's gun powder mills, the eleven beautifully restored stucco-and-frame buildings, some dating to 1799, dot a twenty-acre property where cobblestone pathways (beware Manolos) amble through splendid gardens, lantern lit at dusk.