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Ask the Locals Travel Guide: Delaware

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Ask the Locals Travel Guide: Delaware

Delaware, The First State - Ask the Locals Travel GuideThis weekend, Peter’s radio show is coming to us from The
University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.
 

This little state has a lot happening that’s under the radar for many
travelers. So we checked in with a local who’s tapped into all that’s happening
in Delaware: Mark Nardone, editor of Delaware Todaymagazine.

Keep reading to learn about some of his favorite picks in “The First State”

Little Delaware, second in smallness to Rhode Island, is a most surprising
place.

Upstate is very suburbanized with pockets of open space. Downstate is very open
with pockets of development and quaint small towns. All of Delaware is full of
historic sites—it is The First State, after all—with natural areas and cultural
attractions mixed with a hipness that might startle the uninitiated.

For Peter’s take on the unique history of Delaware and its history-related
attractions, don’t miss this video: Travel The First State: Delaware History

Among my favorite places are White Clay Creek State Park in Newark and Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. They couldn’t be more
different, but they are equally beautiful.


White Clay Creek State Park - photo via DE State ParksWhite Clay
encompasses
the creek valley at the edge of the Appalachian Piedmont. It’s full of mature
hardwood trees that are occasionally broken by open meadows that were once crop
fields. There are multi-use trails throughout, and though you may see an
occasional mountain biker or equestrian, most people hike.

The main entrances are 5 minutes outside the city of Newark, but it’s a world
away—almost a look back in time. On the outskirts of the park, just across the
line in Pennsylvania, there are Quaker meeting houses (one is now a museum of
natural history), cemeteries and others sites from the 18th century.

My favorite trail is probably the most traveled, but it’s gorgeous. Starting at
the visitors’ center—a restored 150-year-old farmhouse—it crosses a cornfield
full of Canada geese, then parallels the creek northward into Pennsylvania.
Observant hikers will see beaver lodges and brook trout along the way.

Cape Henlopen spans
a spit of sand between the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, and it must be one
of the most beautiful places on the entire East Coast. It can be congested with
tourists in summer, but off-season it can sometimes feel like you are the only
person to wander the great expanse of bayberry-covered dunes and woods of
loblolly pine.

Cape Henlopen State Park - photo via DEStateParks.comThe Great Dune, in fact, is the highest between Kitty Hawk,
North Carolina, and Cape Cod. There are guarded beaches on the ocean where
swimmers gather in droves during the summer. On the bay side, there’s a view
over a vast tidal flat full of razor clams and other sea life to the Harbor of
Refuge and Harbor Light lighthouses. Visitors can clam near a public fishing
peer on the bay, not far from the entrance.

Ambitious walkers and cyclists can follow a narrow paved pathway called the Junction and Breakwater Trail to Gordon’s Pond, an isolated salt
pond deep, deep in the park. This is Henry Hudson territory, but the more recent
history is fascinating, if only because it is still visible.

The park was once a WWII military installation known as Fort Miles, so the place
is full of interesting sites: emplacements for big guns along the ocean beach,
bunkers and garages hidden under sand dunes, and tall, cylindrical towers where
soldiers looked for German U-boats. One of the towers is open to the public.
From the top, visitors can see 17 miles across the mouth of the bay to Cape May,
New Jersey. There is camping, birding and much more.

For more, don’t miss Peter’s video on Outdoor Delaware

Kelly’s Tavern is an
unassuming restaurant in the waterman’s village of Port Penn on the Delaware
River. If you’re exploring the river shore, driving Route 9 Coastal Heritage Scenic Byway,  kayaking in the
marshes or hiking sections of the Coastal Heritage Greenway Trail (which I
recommend highly), Kelly’s is the place to refuel on local crabcakes, good
steamed shrimp and its own clam-sausage soup. It sounds strange, but it is
delicious.

Grand Opera House, Wilmington, DE - photo credit: Joe del TufoThe gem of Wilmington’s Market Street, The Grand Opera House, is an 18th-century opera house
that was lovingly restored to its former glory in the late 1970s. The ceiling is
a beautiful mural of cherubs trimmed with elegant moldings, and the acoustics
are world class. The Grand is home of the talented Delaware Symphony Orchestra,
as well as OperaDelaware and host to major performers over the years. Pre-show,
there is great dining at Chelsea
Tavern
directly across the
street.

Somerville-Manning Gallery is notable for several reasons. One is
its location in historic Breck’s Mill on beautiful Brandywine Creek, next to
Hagley Museum. The other is its emphasis on preserving the tradition of the
Brandywine Valley artists. From legends such as Brandywine School patriarch
Howard Pyle to his famous students such as Frank Schoonover, N.C. Wyeth and
Maxfield Parrish, to keepers of the flame such as Peter Schulthorpe and Anna B.
McCoy, Somerville-Manning is dedicated to one of the grandest traditions in
American art.

Where do I begin with Iron Hill Restaurant and Brewery

Iron Hill Brewery, Wilmington, Delaware - photo via Ironhillbrewery.comIron Hill, the hill, is famous as the site where Generals
Washington and Lafayette supervised the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the only
skirmish of the Revolutionary War fought on Delaware soil. Iron Hill, the
restaurant, is famous for its award-winning beers, which have fared
exceptionally well at brewing festivals across the nation for years. Of all the
beers I’ve ever tasted, Iron Hill’s Pig Iron Porter reigns as my all-time
favorite.

The food is delicious, too, and consistently good. The menu—full of inventive
sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas and creative entrees—shows influences from around
the world, as well as surprises such as the cheesesteak egg roll appetizer. And
the prices are very moderate. Now I live in Wilmington. Lucky for me, Iron Hill
saw fit to open a place in the big city, too—and it has a beautiful view of the
Christina River.

By Mark Nardone for PeterGreenberg.com. Photos via: VisitDelaware.com, DEStateParks.com, Joe del Tufo (Opera House) and Iron Hill Brewery (as
indicated)
.

Check out Peter’s interview with Nardone on Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio. For a complete guest list of the Delaware show, click here.

Learn more about one of the state’s most famous sons and get an insider’s view
of the state with Travel Joe Biden’s Delaware.

For Peter’s take on the unique history of Delaware and its history-related
attractions, don’t miss this video: Travel The First State: Delaware History.

Adventurers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t miss: Peter’s video on Traveling Outdoor Delaware.

And finally, don’t miss this video of The Art & Artisans of Delaware, including
a visit to Nardone’s favorite, the Iron Hill Restaurant & Brewery:

 

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