5 Things to do for First-Timers in Delaware, the USA
As my host, who is also my cousin and BFF on this side of the earth, was driving past the quiet streets lined with century-old houses in Milford, Delaware, I asked, Where’s the nightlife? Where are the people? There was no one in sight. What does this quiet city of Milford or even the State of Delaware is hiding? What awaits me here? I was thinking, well if this is all a mistake, I could book another flight in maybe 2 days and let my cousin know that I had it in my itinerary long before and excuse myself politely. OK, there must be something here. Something to discover. Something that will amaze me. Something that will prove me wrong. And I was right.
1) River Town of Milford, Delaware
I have been staying for a few days here now and surprised to find out that River Town is just a few blocks from my street. So I head over there with Frank and Jay (my cousin’s adorable pugs) in tow. I’m hitting 2 birds with one stone here. A good dog walk exercise for them and a photo walk for me.
Stroll along with the picturesque river town of Milford, Delaware. Milford has a thriving community of artists that have already set up their galleries and art studios for public visit. Along the park beside the river are some of the displayed art boats like in the photo I took below. You can view the map of the park here.
2) Rehoboth Beach
Soak up some sun or stroll along the endless boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach. The boardwalk is lined with coffee shops, ice cream parlors, restaurants, art galleries and cottages, souvenir shops. Go ahead, spread your beach towels, and lie down. Doze off to the steady lapping of the waves and feel the sand on your feet. If you are looking for a bit of quietude here on an early morning, and in summer, the scene is perfect!
A bit of warning though, summer weekends are crazy here. Really crazy, there’s long traffic of beach bums in their SUVs and home trucks and some with their jet ski in tow from the highway coming to Rehoboth Beach. It’s hard to find parking of course and that perfect spot on the beach is already taken either by other beach bums, college guys throwing football, college guys who still have a hangover from Friday night drinking, runners, yogis, senior group of locals with their latest catchy story tidbits of who did who and flock of birds scavenging for crumbs. Even with all this craziness, I love how it is so alive and so upbeat. If you want some quietude here on a weekend, you are in the wrong place.
Oh, and did you know that Rehoboth Beach is home to nationally known Dogfish Head Brewery? So if you are into wine and ale and local brewery, you came to the right place. You are in the zone, my friend.
3) Tanger Outlet Shopping
I will be brief and straight to the point in describing how this place is a must-do and not to be missed. If you just traveled here and missed coming to Tanger Outlet shopping, you already missed half of your life. I only have three words to describe this place. Tax. Free. Shopping.
Tanger Outlets. Photo Credit Wikipedia.com
4) DuPont Historic Corridor
You must be thinking that you recall the DuPont name somewhere. The DuPont company is a chemical company that started as a gunpowder mill in the 1800s. Today, DuPont developed every polymer product you might think of. Even Lycra for your clothing and apparel.
The mansion is well maintained and furnished. All of its 102 rooms are furnished with fine antiques, oriental rugs, and rare tapestries. You got it right, it’s a French Chateau inspired. This is because, the owner, designed this based on his European trips during that century.
Guided tours are the only way to enter its vast garden and mansion. The tours last for around 2 hours and are ready with your comfy shoes because it’s a long walk. You can buy the tickets online for the guided tour and there is special pricing for group tours. For more information on the tours and its operations, here is their website and here is their official website.
5) Delaware State Fair
The night I arrived on July 25, the Delaware State Fair was going on. So I just dropped my luggage and went back into the car to head for some local state fair experience. A state fair is an annual event in the state of Delaware. It is held for 10 days every last week of July. I’m quite lucky that on the day of my arrival it’s still on!
FoodTrip at the Delaware State Fair
There’s carnival rides, food stalls, other fair attractions, carnival games, barbecues, concerts, and other events all happening at the same time. It’s late-night but you will still see that the entire venue is still full of energy. It seems everyone knows everyone here. Tucked away in the corners of the state fairgrounds are barns for the farm animals exhibits. Food that you must try here? Fried anything. There’s fried pepper jacks cheese, fried junk food, fried chicken, fried candy bars, and also fried Oreos. They even have an app that you can download on your mobile phone. This app will help you locate these food stalls that sell all kinds of fried junks. It’s all on the app map.
To experience this annual event, and for ticket sales and more information here is their website.
On my last day here, my cousin invited me to go to back to Rehoboth Beach and soak up some sun for the last time and for some last-minute cousin bonding. It has been cloudy and damps the last 2 days and today the sun is out. It’s still early in the morning, which means we can grab the nearest parking spot to the boardwalk, and we have the beach nearer to the water to ourselves. While I am getting myself a tan line here at the beach, I thought, Delaware, is not a bad idea after all. I came here without any idea of what to expect. All I know I want to experience the outdoors and its many beaches. And now I know I am in the right state. There’s a lot more to see here and in the whole of Delaware. There’s more beachcombing to do, breweries to taste, ancient mansions with beautiful gardens to explore, outdoor trails to conquer. I had the best time at the beach and at the state fair. Not to mention the extra luggage that I have now due to tax-free shopping. I’m glad I came.