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The First State is absolutely packed with hundreds of fun-filled things to see and do. From exploring Delaware’s contribution to our nation’s history, to walking along miles of unspoiled sandy beaches, to enjoying any of the several events and festivals throughout the year, your trip through Delaware will be anything but uneventful. Even the drive is part of the majesty, as the route takes you through landscapes that have been immortalized by famed painter Andrew Wyeth. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get moving!
Beginning at Fenwick Island, we get an immediate taste of how quiet and relaxing the lifestyle is. My recommendation is to pull over and set up at a spot with an unobstructed view of the magnificent sunsets; such a spot won’t be hard to find. After that, take a walk along the uncrowded shoreline and enjoy the spectacular ocean view – it really is one of a kind. There’s no shortage of excellent restaurants and eclectic shops to find souvenirs and take advantage of Delaware’s sales tax-free status. Join the local fishermen and try your hand at landing bluefish and flounder, or tour the famous Fenwick Lighthouse and enjoy the view from on high.
Once you’re able to pull yourself away from such natural wonders, head north on Highway 1 for an eighteen-mile drive to the next stop, Rehoboth Beach. Rehoboth continues the beachside community tradition found at Fenwick Island, and as such there’s ample opportunity for all manner of sunshine activities. Rent a bike, kayak, or a rowboat to get the most of your beach-going experience. The town features relaxing spa treatments, golf courses, and several restaurants featuring some of the finest seafood that the area is famous for.
Six miles further north on Highway 1, you’ll come to an exit for the eastbound BR-9. Take it for 2 miles until you come to the upscale beachside community of Lewes, which is known as the First Town of the First State. Besides having a palate-pleasing array of fine eateries and a closet-filling selection of fashionable shops, Lewes plays host to an interesting array of events and festivals throughout the year. The British Antique Car Show, the Lewes Festival of Gardens, and the Christmas Parade are particular favorites. No matter when you plan your visit, there’ll undoubtedly be some kind of event for your enjoyment. Lewes is also an active participant in the “America in Bloom” program, and as such the town displays lush floral gardens and has been nominated for several state floral society awards. There’s also an entertaining maritime museum that showcases Delaware’s seafaring history, dating back to the 17th century.
Returning to Highway 1, we head north for 35 miles until we come to the state capital of Dover. First Heritage Park is home to one of the most authentically preserved historical compounds in our nation, and be sure not to miss Old New Castle, which still has its original cobblestone streets. Dover is also the site of the Dover Air Force Base and Air Mobility Command Museum; the museum showcases the history of military aviation and features nearly three dozen aircraft that runs the gamut between WWII fighters, to modern-day helicopters and bombers. The museum is a popular destination, and boasts frequent repeat visitors, particularly among servicemen and women who experienced these aircraft on the field. Dover Downs Hotel and Casino is another popular stop-off spot; it’s definitely an example of opulent grandeur, and features thousands of slot machines as well as horse racing. Twice a year, NASCAR hosts the Winston Cup at Dover Downs. For the rest of the year, you’ll have no trouble enjoying the day at trackside, with a plate of fine food in front of you as thoroughbreds race full-tilt in heated competition for money & prizes.
The final destination on this trip lies fifty miles further north on Highway 1 – the city of Wilmington. Wilmington has no shortage of museums and beautiful botanical gardens, as well as theaters and opera houses. An entertaining place to visit is the Wilmington and Western Railroad Museum, which tells the tale of the historic railroad completed in 1872. There are plenty of opportunities to ride in vintage locomotives, including autumn’s Full Moon Hayride, which carries riders on a specially-modified flatbed car through the Red Clay Valley. Wilmington is also home of the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of the original Swedish vessel that made port in Delaware in the mid-17th century. Tours and adventure sails are available when the ship is in port. Be sure to check on availability before heading out that way.
Not only is Delaware our nation’s First State, it’s also first in providing a peaceful, quite way of life and plenty to keep us entertained, no matter how many times we choose to visit.