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Delaware – Small, But Diverse

Delaware is one of the smallest states. In fact, only Rhode Island has less territory than the “Blue Hen State.” But a detour from I 95 is more than worthwhile. A stay in Delaware will be full of rural charm, seaside romance, and beach fun. One of the oldest settled areas in the US (and today one of the most densely populated regions), Delaware offers many historic sites as well as great summer holidays at the Delaware Bay.

Delaware was first. What is still proudly inscribed in one of the state’s nicknames (“The First State”), is a veritable historical accomplishment that makes Delaware’s residents still proud. On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the US Constitution. An event even more remarkable given the fact that Delawareans did not show much enthusiasm at all in the early stages of the American Revolution. During the war, the “Blue Hen Chickens,” as the Delaware Army was called, fought bravely however. During the Civil War, Delaware was a slave state under Union ranks.

The state is located almost entirely in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The highest elevation is a mere 450 feet above sea level. The climate is generally moderated by the proximity to the ocean. The northern part of the state is located next to the mound of the Delaware River and the Delaware Bay, the southern portion borders with the open Atlantic Ocean. The southern portion gets a milder climate and less snowfall than the north which has a climate closest to the one predominant throughout the northeastern states.

New Castle County

The northernmost of the three Delaware Counties, two thirds of the state’s population live within the county’s borders. This is owed mostly to its proximity to the Philadelphia metropolitan region. The population density of the region is an impressive 1,100 people per square mile. Wilmington, the county seat, is the biggest city. Here, a variety of museums, historic sites and some of the finest accommodation in the state are located. Music lovers have to visit the Baby Grand Opera House, an historic chamber music venue. The Mezzanine Gallery and the Delaware Art Museum attract thousands of art lovers every year. Many historic sites and living history venues are located in and around Wilmington. These include the Old Swedes Church, built in the late 17th century, with the Hendrickson House Museum, a colonial farmhouse, and the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. With several parks and many outdoor recreation facilities, the Wilmington region offers a rich palette of sights and activities, combined with the infrastructure of a fully-fledged urban region.

Kent County

Those who are looking to escape the bustling metropolitan region of the north can simply take Highway 1 southbound and cross over to Kent County. This mid-region, where the state capital Dover is located, blends its long history ideally with modern-day events and attractions as well as a quiet coastal scenery. In Dover, the Constitution was ratified. The First State Heritage Park with the State Capitol, the State House Museum, and other sights commemorates and informs about the past. Just to the west of the city lies Amish Country, where visitors can get a glimpse of the traditional way of living and working the Amish have preserved until today. At Dover International Speedway, the engines are roaring from May to October, providing a veritable contrast to the quiet surroundings of the city.

On the coast, Bowers Beach is a picturesque fishing village that lies away from the most-trodden tourist paths. The village is divided by the Murderkill River. There are no bridges crossing the river (at least not close to the shoreline) so you have to take a boat to get on the other side!

Sussex County

Southern Delaware has a beautiful shoreline and wonderful beaches. In connection with the excellent hotels and vacation apartments Sussex County is one of the major attractions for summer tourism in the region. The beach towns like Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach or Fenwick Island offer a quiet and pleasant alternative to the bustling and overrun tourist epicenter Ocean City further to the south. The southern tip of Delaware thus is a perfect setting for a family vacation on the beach, with beautiful boardwalks, romantic lighthouses and a fine sandy shoreline included. All water sports are offered including surfing and deep-sea fishing and the bays and waterways make for excellent canoeing and fishing.

Lewes, on Cape Henlopen, is regarded as the First Town in the First State, being one of the oldest settlements in the state. The historic downtown district is a major attraction for its little historic shops and restaurants. Nearby Cape Henlopen State Park is a perfect recreational area. Lewes Harbor is among the most depicted on paintings from the region which gives proof of its beauty. One special feature is valid throughout the state. Delaware does not demand a state tax, so shopping is comparatively cheaper.

Delaware is a diverse state with a metropolitan north with a lot of cultural activities and historical sites and museums as well as a great infrastructure. All imaginable accommodation, from bed & breakfast over hotels and motels to vacation homes and condos, are available here. Further south, there is a more rural and beachy setting. A beautiful coastline with many quiet beaches and romantic fishing villages is the ideal setting for a family vacation. In the southern part, one finds the highest density of beaches, mainly quiet but with excellent facilities and a wide array of holiday and water sports activities offered.

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