a tree in front of a brick building

Tour New Castle’s historic Buena Vista mansion, grounds

Charles Megginson Culture, Headlines

a tree in front of a brick building

Buena Vista mansion. Photo/Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Buena Vista, one of Delaware’s most historic estates, will welcome visitors for a one-day-only spring event on Saturday, May 14.

The event, which will take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., will feature outdoor children’s games, nature walks, guided tours of the grounds and mansion, and educational programs by the Sunshine Plein Air Artists and Bluebird Society.

The main section of the Buena Vista mansion was built between 1845 and 1847 by John M. Clayton, a United States senator and secretary of state under presidents Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore.

The home later became the residence of C. Douglass Buck, governor of Delaware from 1929 to 1937 and United States senator from 1942 to 1948. 

The Buck family donated Buena Vista and its grounds to the state in 1965. It now serves as a conference and event center.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public but reservations are required for some of the activities due to space limitations.

In a press release announcing the event, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs encouraged guests are to bring picnic lunches and cameras “to capture the glories of spring at one of Delaware’s most historic estates.”

For reservations, call 302-323-4430. For additional information, go to this webpage. In case of inclement weather, the event may be postponed to the following day, Sunday, May 15, during the same hours.

a small house in a garden

Horticultural displays at Buena Vista. Photo courtesy of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Schedule of activities
  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Self-guided walks in the gardens and through the estate property on a paved trail; children’s games on the lawn; and craft activities including the building and painting of bluebird boxes. Guests are also invited to take photos at their leisure and to bring a picnic lunch. Free, no reservations required.
  • 10:15 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    • Guided tour of the gardens. Limited to 20 participants. Free, reservations are required.
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. 
    • Guided tour of the Buena Vista mansion. Limited to 20 participants. Free, reservations are required.
  • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Guided tour via the paved trail that crosses Buena Vista’s agricultural fields and natural areas. Limited to 20 participants. Free, reservations are required.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    • Outdoor painting session led by the Sunshine Plein Air Artists. Limited to 20 participants. Art supplies are provided but participants must bring their own chairs. Free, reservations are required. 
  • 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Lecture on bluebirds by the Bluebird Society. Free, no reservations required.
  • 1:15 p.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Guided tour of the gardens. Limited to 20 participants. Free, reservations are required.
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. 
    • Guided tour of the Buena Vista mansion. Limited to 20 participants. Free, reservations are required.
  • 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. 
    • Guided tour via the paved trail that crosses Buena Vista’s agricultural fields and natural areas. Limited to 20 participants. Free, reservations are required.
  • 2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Outdoor painting session led by the Sunshine Plein Air Artists. Limited to 20 participants. Art supplies are provided but participants must bring their own chairs. Free, reservations are required. 

Buena Vista is located at 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), southwest of New Castle.

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