Nottingham Serpentine Barrens

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Chester County generally boasts a green and gentle landscape, but then you come across this swath of scrub and sandy soil and wonder if you made a wrong turn and ended up in New Mexico. These are the largest 'serpentine barrens' – a desert-like, sun-kissed biome with its own specialized flora – in the eastern USA. The Nature Conservancy manages these 600 acres of land, cut through with biking trails, prairie fields and savannah-esque grasslands.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Pennsylvania Dutch Country attractions

2. Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

18.49 MILES

Set over nearly 18 acres, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has 100 gigantic mechanical marvels to climb around and admire. Combo tickets are available…

3. National Toy Train Museum

18.69 MILES

Let's be clear: you can have never touched a toy train in your life and still love this odd little museum. The push-button interactive dioramas are so up…

4. 1719 Hans Herr House

21.01 MILES

The 1719 Hans Herr House is generally regarded as the oldest original Mennonite meeting house in the western hemisphere. Today, the property displays…

5. Longwood Gardens

21.23 MILES

Pierre du Pont, the great-grandson of the DuPont chemical company founder, began designing this property in 1906 with the grand gardens of Europe in mind …

7. Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

22.74 MILES

The small museum here displays beautiful glass and woodwork, along with the story of how Mennonites established themselves in this area. There's a well…

8. Winterthur

23.45 MILES

Six miles northwest of Wilmington is the 175-room country estate of industrialist Henry Francis du Pont and his collection of antiques and American arts,…