2018 Eastern Steam Car Tour

Submit Your Tour Registration for the
Return to Auburn Heights  Steam Car Tour NOW


Dear Steam Car Friends:

The Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve invites you to join volunteers of the Marshall Steam Team for an exciting six days of touring through historic towns and private estates, along the valleys and byways of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Tour routes vary from less than 50 to more than 80 miles per day, making for a 350-mile tour week. Your steam car will experience the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains as well as the flat Atlantic Coastal Plain. The host hotels are the Fairfield Inn & Suites (Kennett Square) and the Inn at Mendenhall, both in Kennett Township, PA, where the Marshall family set down roots in 1759.

The Tour Committee will ensure ample supplies of water and clear kerosene as well as identify local sources for pilot fuel. Our trouble truck can return drivers to the hotel for their trailer should mechanical difficulties require it, and area commercial repair shops have stepped up to assist, as necessary.

The 40-room block at the original host hotel (Fairfield Inn & Suites) is fully booked (but availability can change moment to moment, so please check if interested), so we have arranged a special rate (only a little more) at another nearby location, which will also be the site of the closing banquet. We encourage anyone who is thinking about attending to book now (especially if you have particular room requirements). The hotel blocks can fill quickly, and there is no penalty for cancelling if you do so at least a week in advance of arrival. So make your reservations now to avoid disappointment!


TOUR REGISTRATION: Click here to download the Tour Description pdf and Registration Form. Submission deadline: June 7, 2018.


Tour Overview:


Sunday, July 8
Sign-in & Registration at the hotels as well as a Warm-Up Tour (optional for early arrivals); approx. 40 miles

Tour volunteers will welcome you and help you settle into the “Mushroom Capital of the World” for the coming week. To ensure your steamer is ready to tour after its trailer ride, an optional drive to the Antique Ice Tool Museum in West Chester, PA, is suggested. You’ll step back in time to explore a circa 1834 barn housing this unique private collection of tools and memorabilia detailing the history of America’s natural ice trade before the invention of refrigeration.

The Firing Up Banquet kicks off the 2018 Eastern Invitational Steam Car Tour at 6 pm at the Red Clay Room in historic Kennett Square, PA.


Monday, July 9
Two Great Estates: Granogue & Auburn Heights (followed by an Ice Cream Run to Woodside Farm Creamery); less than 50 miles

Granogue, built in 1923, is the private home of Barbara and Irénée du Pont (a descendant of the DuPont Company founder). Tour participants will be invited to visit the first floor of the grand family home, viewing the ballroom with its original Maxfield Parrish mural and marvelous Aeolian Pipe Organ. Afterward, a picturesque tour through the rolling Brandywine Valley brings drivers to Auburn Heights Preserve, Delaware’s newest State Park site and former home of Ruth and Thomas C. Marshall Jr.

The Steam Team will entertain tour participants with many of the traditional “Steamin’ Day” activities, including entry to the Marshall Steam Museum, tours of the 1897 Victorian mansion, fresh-popped popcorn from the museum’s steam-powered Cretors popper, and rides on the live steam Auburn Valley Railroad (AVRR). The AVRR team will also demonstrate the firing up of a 1/8-size live-steam locomotive. A gourmet box lunch is offered (see Registration Form to order yours, if desired).

The trails at Auburn Heights Preserve, including a recently installed iron truss bridge originally constructed in the late 1800s and now restored for steam car use, will be available by special arrangement for exclusive use by the tour (steam cars only), for those who wish to further explore the preserve.

Tour cars leaving Auburn Heights can then participate in a well-known Marshall Steam Team tradition: a summer Ice Cream Run to Woodside Farm Creamery, a multi-year winner of TripAdvisor’s top-10 ice cream parlors in the USA. We recommend a large cone of Steam Oil ice cream, the signature flavor developed for Auburn Heights events!


Tuesday, July 10
Chester County, PA, Company Towns; approx. 85 miles

The day begins with a scenic tour on the rural roads of Chester County, PA, for a visit to the National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum in Coatesville, where a diverse array of exhibits document the beginnings of America’s iron and steel industry. Lunch, on your own (either eat-in or take-out), will be your choice of a stop at Just Mom’s along Rt 82 or St. Peter’s Bakery in St. Peter’s Village, a National Register of Historic Places site and one of the country’s first “company towns.” A private visit and “snack stop” at FAHP member Jared Schoenly’s house/shop/museum has also been arranged. Leaving the Schoenly residence, you’ll enjoy a nice country drive through variouscovered bridges and the light hills around West Chester.

That evening, tour participants are invited to the Marshall Steam Museum for its monthly Evening at the Museum program to hear Terry Amsley (son of steam car enthusiast Carl Amsley) & Mike May share stories of Carl Amsley’s tour exploits and enjoy casual dinner fare available for purchase on-site.


Wednesday, July 11
Historic Port Towns; approx. 77 miles

The Dutch West India Company settled Fort Casimir on the Delaware River in 1651. By 1680, the town (now named New Castle) had been conveyed to William Penn and became he capital of three lower counties of Pennsylvania and ultimately the first capital of Delaware. Several historic buildings will be open for tours, and visitors are encouraged to explore the cobbled streets and shops, with the opportunity to enjoy lunch on their own at a variety of local shops.

In the afternoon, the tour travels to Chesapeake City, MD, with a short stop at the C&D Canal Museum with historical displays and equipment housed in the original pump house serving the canal when it included locks. Originally named Bohemia, historic Chesapeake City offers a number of shops and restaurants to visit, or you can relax and watch the pleasure crafts sailing the Chesapeake Bay and C&D Canal.

That evening, the Stanley Museum will host its Annual Meeting, and all are welcome!


Thursday, July 12
Discover Lancaster County, PA; approx. 80 miles

Once part of Chester County, PA, Lancaster County is perhaps best known for its Mennonite and Amish communities. Today’s tour offers several water and refreshment stops on the way to Strasburg, PA, home of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the Strasburg Rail Road, and the National Toy Train Museum, among other attractions. Take a 45-min train ride, explore the adjacent railroad museums or enjoy a relaxing lunch – the choice is yours.

As an optional Thursday evening excursion, tour participants may order tickets to Longwood Gardens (only 2 miles from each host hotel) for its breathtaking Fountain Show, which features 1,700 water jets shooting as high as 175 feet, accompanied by vibrant light shows and music. Timed tickets are required and the shows often sell out in advance, so for those wishing to take advantage of this opportunity, tickets will be pre-purchased for those interested in attending the 9 pm show (see Registration Form to pre-order).


Friday, July 13
Gunpowder and Stars; less than 50 miles

Featuring restored gunpowder mills, a worker’s community, and the ancestral home and gardens of the du Pont family, Hagley Museum and Library offers our tour group special demonstrations of their functioning water turbine as well as a visit to the line-shaft-powered machine shop.

Lunch will be on-your-own while touring the Brandywine Valley before a visit to Mt. Cuba Astronomical Observatory, which is open by special arrangement especially for the tour. Completed in 1963, the observatory features a 24-inch Cassegrain Reflector as well as the 4.5-inch Francis G. du Pont (inventor of smokeless gunpowder) refracting telescope, a Spitz Planetarium and other astronomical artifacts.


The 2018 Eastern Steam Car Tour concludes with the Blow-Down Dinner, to be held at Mendenhall Inn at 6 pm, when it will be time to reflect on the past week’s tour while enjoying fine cuisine and camaraderie.

We hope you will register to join the tour and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to email 2018Tour@auburnheights.org or call the FAHP office at (302) 239-2385.


Click here to download the Tour Registration Form now!


2018 Tour Committee
Thomas C. Marshall Jr., Chair

Tour Committee: Mark Bodenstab, Steve Bryce, John Hopkins, Carla and Jerry Lucas, Jerry Novak, Susan Randolph, Rob Reilly, Bill Rule, Jared Schoenly, Tim Ward, Bob Wilhelm, Kelly Williams


Return signed and completed Registration Forms with payment to:

FAHP — Steam Car Tour
PO Box 61
Yorklyn DE 19736



  1. Inn at Mendenhall, 323 Route 52, Kennett Pike, Mendenhall, PA 19357, with trailer parking on-site and complimentary hot breakfast buffet. We have arranged a special rate of $119/night (plus tax) for Sunday through Thursday nights; for Friday, July 13, the group discount rate will be $145 (plus tax). Important notes: (1) these rates expire May 24, 2018 or when capacity has been reached, and (2) the closing banquet will be held at this location. To book, call (610) 388-2100 and identify yourself as part of the Marshall Steam Museum (Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve) group (sorry, there is no online reservation option for the group rate at this hotel).
  2. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (Kennett Square, PA), with trailer parking at the hotel & complimentary breakfast. We have arranged a special rate of $115/night (plus tax), but as of last reporting, all Double and King rooms are booked. Click here to book online or call the hotel at (610) 444-8995 and identify yourself as a participant in the “Steam Car Tour” to receive the special rate.
  3. LAST RESORT OPTION: Hilton Garden Inn Kennett Square, 815 E Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, PA 19348. A block of rooms has been reserved for the modestly discounted rate of $169/night (plus tax). Rate does not include breakfast, and trailer parking has not been confirmed. We found a lesser AAA rate ($164/night) online, so we encourage participants to check “regular” rates to confirm best options. Click here to book online and receive the pre-arranged $169/night rate or call the hotel at (610) 444-9100 and request the Eastern Steam Car Tour rate.


We hope you will plan to join us next summer! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email or call 302-239-2385.

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