Take Your Pick
Delaware City, DE
Historic Fort Delaware
Fort Delaware - Located on Pea Patch Island, a short 1/2 mile ferry ride from Delaware City, DE and Fort Mott, NJ, is Fort Delaware. Fort Delaware was originally built in 1819 to protect the Wilmington and Philadelphia harbors, it burned down in 1831 paving the way for the current fort to be built in 1859. During the Civil War, Fort Delaware was used to house nearly 30,000 Confederate and political prisoners. When visiting today you are greeted by costumed actors from the Civil War period, enjoy the blast of an 8 inch Columbiad cannon, and can even taste Civil War style cooking. Mmmm Civil War cooking.
Delmar, DE
Boundry of the North and South?
Mason-Dixon Line - As a young monkey, I was always told that the Mason - Dixon Line separated Free States from Slave States, that isn't really true. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were surveyors establishing a boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. So what is the line doing in Delaware you ask? Delaware used to be the three lower counties of Pennsylvania, but broke away and became the first state in 1776. While establishing the boundary in 1763-1767 a stone was set in the ground every mile and a corner stone every five miles. The site near Delmar (a concatenation of Delaware and Maryland because it straddles the boarder) contains a corner stone and stones from subsequent surveys.
Dewey Beach, DE
WWII Enemy Watch Towers
WWII Observation Towers - Located along the coast of Delaware are eleven WWII Observation Towers built from 1939 to 1942 to protect against a Nazi naval threat. These concrete towers were considered "the eyes" for the guns at Fort Miles (present day Cape Henlopen). If an enemy ship was spotted, two towers would use an azimuth sighting range finder to determine the coordinates of the ship. Those coordinates were then radioed to Fort Miles and triangulation employed to figure out the ship's exact location. Luckily, the guns of Fort Miles were never used.
Dover, DE
Liberty and Independence
State Capitol Building - The Legislative Hall, as they say in Delaware, is really Delaware's State Capitol Building. Designed by E. William Martin and finished in 1933, this Georgian Colonial Revival structure is a perfect dedication to the "first state" of Delaware. It houses both the Senate and House of Representatives as well as the Governor's and Lieutenant Governor's offices. The colonial style interior contains murals of Delaware's history and an impressive portrait gallery.
Dover, DE
Come Visit Nipper
Old State House & Museums - Completed in 1791, the Old State House was the first capitol building located in Dover. The building is now a museum which was meticulously restored in 2007. The first floor features a colonial style courtroom and the second floor displays the state legislature chambers as the appeared in the late 18th century. Located within walking distance are the Delaware Visitor Center & Galleries, the Museum of Small Town Life, the Delaware Archeology Museum, and my favorite the Johnson Victrola Museum. You gotta love Nipper, the cute little Victrola dog.
Fenwick Island, DE
The Quiet Beach
Fenwick Island - Located between the more boisterous resort towns of Ocean City, Md and Rehoboth Beach, DE - Fenwick Island earns its nickname "The Quiet Beach" by staying a little less commercialized. Visitor attractions include the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum and the Fenwick Island Lighthouse, but tourists mainly come here to escape the crowds, lie on the white sand beaches as the Atlantic Ocean gently pounds the surf, and soak up the hot summer sun. Fenwick Island is Delaware's place to relax.
Lewes, DE
Zwaanendael, Easy for You to Say
Zwaanendael Museum - In 1631 a ship from Holland landed in Delaware Bay and established a small colony called Swanendael. The settlement only lasted a short time, but it was the first European settlement by the Dutch in the New World. The Zwaanednael Museum was built 300 years later, in 1931, is a tribute to this settlement. The distinctive looking museum is modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands. Exhibits include the Swanendael settlement and other Lewes (pronounced like Louis) area artifacts.
New Castle, DE
Delaware's First Mansion
Amstel House - The Amstel House was built in the 1730s by New Castle's wealthiest land owner Dr. John Finney. The structure is a gorgeous Georgian style home which retains its original woodwork and charm. It was home to Delaware Gov. Nicholas Van Dyke and entertained the likes of George Washington and several signers of the Declaration of Independence. It is furnished with 18th century art and Colonial furnishings.
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Colorful Rehoboth Beach
Rehoboth Beach and Boardwalk - Rehoboth Beach and Boardwalk is known as the "Nation's Summer Capital" drawing in tens of thousands of summer vacationers from Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The unique blend of people, fantastic beaches, eclectic shops and diverse entertainment make it a great place to spend the weekend. The mile long boardwalk is perfect for riding bikes and taking evening walks. Festivals are held throughout the year and bands play at the pavilion all summer long.
Wilmington, DE
The Hagley Museum
Hagley Museum and Library - The Hagley Museum and Library is on the former site of the world's largest black powder mill. The founder, E. I. du Pont (1771-1834), chose this area for its abundant natural energy and other natural resources needed for the manufacturing of gunpowder. The 235 acre estate showcases water wheels, a steam engine house, the gunpowder works, Eleutherian Mills (the du Pont's ancestral home), and the mill community. Live demonstrations and working machinery are used to show how gunpowder was created. The Library portion holds millions of artifacts on the history of American business and industry, which is also available for research online.
Wilmington, DE
The Tall Ship of Delaware
Kalmar Nyckel Sailing Ship - The original Kalmar Nyckel Sailing Ship built in 1638, was a three-masted square-rigger that crossed the Atlantic four times, more times than any other ship prior to the American Revolution. She sailed from Sweden carrying passengers to create the first European settlement in the Delaware Valley and landed where the current Kalmar Nyckel is moored. Tours of the ship and shipyard are available year-round and Christina River cruises aboard the vessel are available during the summer months. Oh, the original Kalmar Nyckel was a pirate ship, so it's OK to say "arrrgh maties".
Wilmington, DE
Inside the Delaware Art Museum
Delaware Art Museum - The Delaware Art Museum houses many great works of art in its two floors and seventeen galleries. Most prominently featured is artist Howard Pyle (1853-1911), an American Illustrator, writer and Wilmington native who was able to capture raw human emotion in his many works. Other artists in the collection include Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, and Raphaelle Peale. On the grounds of the Museum is the nine acre Copland Sculpture Garden with a large labyrinth and 13 foot bronze "Crying Giant".
Wilmington, DE
du Pont's "Winter Tour"
Winterthur Museum and Country Estate - Located in the heart of the Brandywine River Valley is the magnificent Winterthur Museum and Country Estate. Henry du Pont inherited the estate in 1927 and during his lifetime collected American furnishings and objects from the mid 1600s to the mid 1800s. Rooms were created from actual houses being torn down at the time, moving the walls, floors, and ceilings into rooms at Winterthur. These rooms were then decorated with the highest quality period furnishings. As fantastic as the house is, the gardens are equally so. Winterthur is situated on nearly 1,000 acres of rolling Delaware countryside with natural streams and beautifully attended gardens. Tours of the grounds are available, but the best way to enjoy the estate is to take a slow stroll.