Pomp & Circumstance

Photo by William Jones

Photo by William Jones

The weather warms, brilliant colors begin to erupt in Azalea Woods, and the Brandywine Valley’s grand spring tradition is right around the corner! May 4 marks the 36th running of Point-to-Point at Winterthur, the annual steeplechase event on the pristine grounds of Henry Francis du Pont’s former estate. As the final touches are coming together, this year’s event is sure to delight.

Just like houseguests to Winterthur during H. F.’s residence, many Point-to-Point guests arrive in style. Rolls Royces and Bentleys line the lower hill with other notable historic automobiles. The Keystone Rolls Royce Owners’ Club has been a Point-to-Point participant for many years. Owners of these historic autos set up picnic tailgates and enjoy the day of steeplechase racing as onlookers admire their magnificent vehicles.

Winterthur's 1927 Rolls Royce, photo by Bob Hickok

Winterthur’s 1927 Rolls Royce, photo by Bob Hickok

Winterthur’s own 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom I Ascot Tourer is most likely to be seen among the pack of historic autos. Although not owned by Mr. du Pont himself, the 1927 Phantom is a green beauty. H. F. owned a rare 1960 Rolls Royce Phantom V among many cars, including his favorite—a 1927 LaSalle. A total of only 516 Phantom Vs were made, significant owners included Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and John Lennon.

The other stylish entrance to Point-to-Point is arriving in an antique carriage. Carriages from all over the United States and even Canada participate in the parade that kicks off these National Steeplechase Association–sanctioned races.

Photo Chip Riegel

Photo Chip Riegel

George A. “Frolic” Weymouth, founder of the Brandywine Valley Conservancy and Brandywine River Museum and du Pont’s cousin, has been leading the time-honored tradition since the first Point-to-Point in 1979. The parade, which started with six to eight carriages, has grown to more than 30 carriages over the years and is the most sought-after invitation in the world of carriage driving. The carriages travel six miles from Weymouth’s farmhouse onto the Point-to-Point track. Dave Busby, Carriage Parade Coordinator, “The zenith of the event is seeing the carriagers come through the woods and up onto the track—that’s something to see!” Point-to-Point spectators would agree as each year they stand in awe of the parade of horse drawn carriages.

Photo by Bob Hickok

Photo by Bob Hickok

Whether you arrive in an historic auto, antique carriage, or whatever your “chariot” of choice, Point-to-Point has something for you. Pack up a picnic lunch and put on your best hat to enjoy all the day has to offer—the carriage parade, horse racing, marketplace shopping, stick horse races and pony rides for the youngest jockeys, and agility and obstacle courses for your pup—all while relishing a spring day in the beautiful Brandywine Valley.

For more information or to purchase general admission wristbands or tailgate spaces, please visit winterthur.org/ptp.

For more information on Winterthur’s 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom I Ascot Tourer click here.

Dave Busby quoted in Ida McCall, “Of Pearls and Ponies: Celebrating 30 Years of Point-to-Point,” in Winterthur Magazine, Spring 2008, p. 20.

Post by Hilary Seitz, Marketing Communications Department

Photo by Donald Whitley

Photo by Donald Whitley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Bob Hickok

Photo by Bob Hickok

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