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SummerFest: Exploring The Brandywine Valley

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WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) -- You'll find plenty to explore outside of West Chester. Smaller towns, historic sites, famous artwork and the river that links them altogether, and all of them are proud to call themselves part of Brandywine Valley.

Brandywine is more than a name, it's a spirit of a whole region.

"The historical value of the Brandywine Valley, that's what brings us here, and she likes the antique shops," said one man.

"The shops, the history, and most of all, the beauty," said Alison Porter of Chadds Ford.

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The branches of Brandywine Creek, also known as the Brandywine River, roll through parts of Chester County and Delaware County, to Wilmington, Delaware, and to the Christina River.

The Brandywine Valley prides itself on preserving its history, like at the Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site.

"You come here, you get a good sense of the heritage of the founding of this country," said Andrew Outten of Brandywine Battlefield Park. "Like Gen. Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, this was his first engagement of the American Revolution."

You can get lost in gardens like the Mount Cuba Center in New Castle County, Winterthur in Wilmington, and the famous Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square.

Whether on foot, or on water, there's a lot to take in. You can also see Brandywine through the eyes of great American artists, such as the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

"Chadds Ford really is the heart of Brandywine Valley and it's the crossroads of the river and Route 1," said Andrew Stewart of the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

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The museum features art from three generations of the Wyeth family. Andrew Wyeth is the best known member and many of his paintings were done in Chadds Ford.

Only a short drive away, you can imagine watching him work.

"And this is his studio and it looks like he just stepped out for a minute," said Stewart. "So you can see the paintings at the museum and come here and extend your visit and really see where he painted."

Wyeth's father, N.C. Wyeth, was a successful illustrator. His old studio is nearby, too.

"N.C. Wyeth used props all the time so there's canoes and sculptures of George Washington and guns to make sure that he got these historical details right," said Stewart.

Andrew Wyeth's son, Jamie, is also an artist and still paints today. Even modern artists still draw inspiration from the colors of the Brandywine.

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