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“Maybe even better history than Philly”

Read House and Gardens
Ranked #4 of 23 things to do in New Castle
Attraction details
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
164 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Maybe even better history than Philly”
Reviewed 24 August 2013

There aren't many places in the US that date back 212 years! A great example of early American ingenuity and design, the Read House offers a peek into life in the early 1800's. Over the house's lifespan, only three individuals have owned it, mostly keeping the integrity and opulence of the time period. Most of what had been changed or updated (plumbing, heating) has been restored to its earlier condition (i.e., no plumbing or heating.) Three renovated rooms have been saved to reflect the style and interests of the third owners in the 1920's. The contrast between Early American and partying flappers during prohibition is very interesting. Our docent was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. In addition to the house and it's owners' history, it offers a better understanding of politics, social issues and the economics of Delaware before the US was a country. Worth your time!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank SeeitAll728
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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30 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Columbia, MD
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Pretty early mansion with ties to prohibition”
Reviewed 4 August 2013

This is a Georgian era home, quite attractive with a nice garden and views of the Delaware River. What I found most interesting about this home is the cellar which served as a tavern for the rich during prohibition when the owner would run their yachts and sea planes down to Cuba to pick up illegal booze and bring it back for their friends to enjoy.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Steph9732
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
289 reviews
164 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 233 helpful votes
“Love the paint block wall borders!”
Reviewed 31 May 2013

This is a must do tour. The house is well kept and attractive from the outside with a beautiful garden. To purchase your ticket you will go thru the outside gate and down the steps to the side of the house. There are nice restrooms inside with a little gift shop selling Delaware items and Read House items. The guide had us then come in the front door like we were guests from back in the 1800's which was a nice touch. Note the beautiful period wall borders and the intricate hand-shaved woodwork mouldings. You will tour several rooms downstairs and upstairs ending at the 'man's cave' in the basement level. Antique furnishings stage set with detail. You cannot take photos inside the house but may ask to take a photo of the side garden from the upper window. It is interesting to learn about this family and what their life was like when this was a bustling river town. Our guide was knowledgable and took all our questions. They offer hearth cooking classes here which would be a fun thing to do.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank joyceTL4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, New York, United States
Level 6 Contributor
340 reviews
144 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
“Wonderful Under-rated Historical House in New Castle”
Reviewed 28 May 2013

George Read house is a definite must see and plan approx 1 hr for the tour, 20 minutes in the gift shoppe and allot at least 30 minutes to explore and enjoy the gardens. Docents are pretty knowledgeable and accommodating. Photos are not permitted in the house but allowed in the Gardens and all exterior shots of the house. Read house contains 22 rooms of which you visit two of the three floors as well as the basement and Garden areas. The house is conveniently situated in the New Castle Historical district on the Strand and within walking distance (2 or 3 blocks) to the New Castle Common, Old New Castle Court House and the Battery area (Delaware Bay). Make sure to purchase the $10 Read House guide "Read House and Gardens: One Site, Many Stories" for a fascinating history of the house as well as many wonderful photographs.

Visited May 2013
Thank eminker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milford, Delaware
Level 6 Contributor
248 reviews
91 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2012

A well maintained piece of history and a must stop if touring Old New Castle. Imagine the warmth from the fireplace. Imagine cooking in it. You get a true feel of life when this country was born

Visited October 2011
Thank GaryG668
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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