The last few days have been beautiful weather-wise across the Northeast. I was able to take Tuesday off and make a stadium trip for a visit to the Bob Carpenter Center and Delaware Blue Hens basketball. My wife is off on Tuesday’s and she joined as before we went to Newark, the attractions within the Brandywine Valley were on tap first. Brandywine consists of Southern Chester County (PA) and Northeast Delaware, in a region that was heavily influenced by the river and the DuPont’s, one of the country’s most influential family. I didn’t realize the impact that they had on the area and we started by going to the Hagley Museum in Wilmington. The site is the former DuPont estate that includes landmarks from when the company started in the 1800s and focused on the production of gunpowder. Wish we had more time here as the museum, E.I. DuPont’s house and the other accompanying buildings are well worth a look through and easily could have taken up much of the day.
It was then time to cross the border into Kennett Square, PA, the mushroom capitol of the world (gross). We had a really good lunch at Sovana Bistro before heading to the region’s premier attraction, Longwood Gardens. These botanical gardens are also part of the DuPont lure as Pierre bought, maintained and improved the gardens during the early 1900s. He helped make it one of the largest and nicest gardens the country, which continues today. We were astounded at the indoor displays both horticulturally and seasonally as everything was decked out in holiday attire. After sunset, we walked around the amazing holiday display lit up with lights.
Following that nice day, things went downhill in a hurry. We left Longwood and the Kennett Square area around 5:30 PM, for what was a 40 minute drive to Newark, DE. I realized I was up against rush hour, but the lack of time on I-95, I thought would be ok even if we were delayed a bit. After making it to I-95 without a problem, there was about five miles left on our journey. Then the frustration of brake lights. An accident near Exit 1, led to us going three miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Now, I feel very badly there was an accident and don’t want to take away that my relative venture for entertainment is miniscule to whatever accident happened…but you could imagine my blood boiling and frustration level going thru the roof with every passing minute in the car. We did not arrive until 1 minute left in the first half. On the bright side, at least we made it in time for the trip to be salvageable. I spent halftime and the first few minutes of the second half picture-taking and jotting down notes, while getting to watch most of the second half.
As for the Bob, I liked it. The inside was well lit and I like the touches of Blue Hens logos and blue paint in many spots. The guy who politely told me I couldn’t go in to see the UD Athletics Hall of Fame almost set me off at that point in the evening, but the HOF looked nice. Inside was a fairly standard 5,000 seat layout with four sides of seating, most of which came on the sideline. Most have blue chair backs, except for a few of the corner sideline sections, they should just finish that off and make them blue. For the Hens home opener, the crowd was disappointing and though about a hundred students showed up, all but two of them sat for the game. Surprisingly, women’s basketball is a bigger draw and a huge part of that is local product Elena Delle Donne. She is one of the best in the country and helped lead UD to a 31-2 season last year. As for the men’s team, they haven’t been to the Tourney since 1999 and after an early-season win against Virginia this year, Delaware dropped five straight. This was their home opener against Radford and the Hens pulled away in the second half for a 68-59 win.
Overall, I’m glad to at least have made it into the Bob Carpenter Center for the second half. Look for a detailed stadium review in the next few days and I’ll also be writing one for Stadium Journey. Just one more stadium visit left in Delaware as we’ll probably do some more Brandywine stuff coinciding with whenever our next trip is to see Frawley Stadium and the Wilmington Blue Rocks.