When I was a kid growing up in rural Kent county, there were occasionally times where I complained that there was nothing to do in Delaware. I couldn’t wait to grow up and move to an exotic location like Perth, Australia where you can swim with sharks. I still may do that later in life, but it won’t be because I am bored living in this area.
I came up with this list of 10 things to do in Delaware, and it took me less than 15 minutes. I think this speaks more to my lack of creativity as a teenager than a spike in cool Delaware activities. Since I typically hang near home on the weekends, I limited the scope of this list to “Northern Delaware” and “spring time”. The beaches do not have a monopoly on amazing experiences, and I think you’ll agree with me on this. And if you don’t, you are more than welcome to let me know how I’m wrong...over a beer at Autumn Arch of course.
Spring has the potential to be the best season in Delaware. Low humidity, insane blooming, and the promise of warm breezes. There are only two months left of the solar spring, so get busy!
Castle Trail. If you don’t know about this, stop reading immediately, grab your family (bikes optional but highly recommended) and head over to the C&D canal. There is plenty of parking at a myriad of lots along the 12 mile path. You’ll be rewarded with up close views of massive container ships, birds, cool engineering structures, and even a couple restaurants. Some of the spots are feel more remote than they actually are, which is hard to do in New Castle county, so enjoy it.
Point to Point. Classy horses, hats, and dresses. Point to Point is a good opportunity to wear your best hat and picnic with your besties on a lovely spring day. Tailgating is encouraged. So are bow ties. You need tickets ahead of time, so plan now!
Picnic at Iron Hill Park. This park is a hidden gem in Northern Delaware. The county and Friends of Iron Hill Park have done a lot of work upgrading the park amenities over the past 10 years. I had several birthday parties for my son there at the sweet playground. There is also a couple open fields where you can spread a blanket, eat some sandwiches, and enjoy the wonders of the forest. Other park features include a world-class disc golf course, dog park, mountain biking and hiking trails, and the remnants of iron ore mining from colonial days. Amazingly, this is all less than half a mile off of I-95. It’s also just down the street from Autumn Arch Beer Project.
Grab a pizza at Wood Fired Pizza Shop in Newark. This is undeniably the best pizza in the area. Their ingredients are sourced locally and organic when possible, and the menu has a nice creative twist on ordinary pizza (Fighting Blue Hen pizza all the way!). I usually eat a whole pie by myself. My 11 year old son does the same. My advice is to ride your bike(s) on the Pomeroy Trial to Wood Fired Pizza. If you do this, you have my permission to indulge in a second beer.
See a play at the Chapel Street Theater in Newark. This community theater is of uncanny quality. And it’s small, so you’re guaranteed a great seat. Pippin is coming up in June! Combine this with dinner on Main Street and a beer afterwards and you’ve got yourself a damn fine date night.
Somerset Farms Ice Cream stand. This is off the main road, but worth the extra effort on a warm spring evening. The mint chocolate chip is obviously the best flavor, but feel free to ignore my advice and get a different (but inferior) delicious flavor.
Nemours Mansion. See how the 1% of a hundred years ago lived.
Morris Library at UD. Save this for a rainy day. I think the taxpayers of Delaware sometimes forget they own a huge f@%#ing library. It’s the kind of place you can read a newspaper from 1923 (microfilm) while catching up on your latest informative magazine. So brush up on your Dewey decimal system skills, and go hang out for a couple hours and read whatever piques your interest. I researched a lot of obscure Delaware and Maryland history last year in preparation for the brewery, and my biggest take-away was realizing how much knowledge is NOT online. Morris Library has plenty of fiction as well (e.g. I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories while a student there). Trust me - just walk in and peruse at your leisure like you own the place (because you do).
Catch a Blue Rocks game. Tickets are modestly priced and so is the ball park food. The quality of baseball is usually high, but there’s a good chance you’ll see a blooper or two. Kid friendly and and the stadium has craft beer!
Separation Day in Old New Castle. About two weeks before the Continental Congress declared independence from Britain, Delaware decided to go it alone and give King George the middle finger and declare independence. This was before the advent of social media, so they did a terrible job of broadcasting the news. Luckily, over 200 years later, we have a festival dedicated to Delawarean boldness. Old New Castle is on full display June 7-8. Parades, BBQ, craft beer, music, fireworks. I think it’s a superb way to slide into summer.
I hope you try one or two of these things in the coming months. Most of the items are reasonably priced or free. And I’ll have 10 more coming your way on the summer solstice!