Thursday, March 26, 2009


Delaware is the second smallest state in the country, but its narrow borders hold significant diversity. During the American Civil War, the citizens of Delaware were split in their loyalties, and even today, the state seems to have two distinct identities, one taking its cue from the industrious North, the other following the relaxed pace of the South.

In northern Delaware, the rolling, wooded hills of the Brandywine Valley provide a captivating backdrop to the state's colonial history, refined elegance and industrial prominence. It was here that the du Pont family built its empire, harnessing the river for gunpowder mills in 1802. But the du Pont legacy includes a commitment to the community as well. It lives on today in the mansions, gardens, museums, libraries and parks established by the family over the years and now open for visitors to enjoy. Wilmington is Delaware's largest city, which grew along with the du Ponts' fortunes. It and nearby upmarket towns like Hockessin and Greenville offer the smart shops and boutiques, trendy nightspots, historic pubs and excellent restaurants-Mediterranean cuisine is a specialty, due to the city's large Italian community-visitors would expect from bigger cities on the northern East Coast. Most residents of Wilmington and its surrounding areas identify with their northern neighbors. It is not unusual to hear them describe themselves as living not in Delaware but 'just south of Philadelphia'.

Central and southern Delaware have a decidedly different flavor. Small towns are surrounded by farmland. Charming bed and breakfasts take the place of grand hotels. In Dover, the quiet state capital, visitors might see Amish buggies traveling alongside regular traffic. A strong connection with the environment is apparent, as outdoorsmen revel in waterfowl hunting and fishermen take advantage of the many inlets and tidal marshes that crisscross the region. The sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean are popular destinations and cater to all tastes, from sleepy Bethany Beach with its large family homes to livelier Rehoboth with its boardwalk and outlet shopping malls-even more enticing, as Delaware is sales-tax free.

Delaware has a humid and temperate climate with hot and humid summers and cold winters. Summer months are also the wettest with August receiving the most rainfall. Winters are dry, but cold with snow. The southern part of the state is generally milder than the north.

  • Wilmington
Wilmington has undergone a revitalization in recent years, and though business is perhaps still the main attraction, there are pockets in and around the downtown area that are well worth a visit, beginning with the Riverfront on the Christina River. Visitors can stroll along a waterfront path leading to the Shipyard Shops, the rowing center and various restaurants and museums.

The city comprises many distinct neighborhoods, and for those seeking a less touristy experience, Trolley Square is an excellent option. It's full of shady sidewalk caf├ęs, cosy bistros and lively pubs, including Kelly's Logan House, a local institution since 1864 and the only place to be on St Patrick's Day. Stately old homes and restored townhouses surround the area. Not far away is Little Italy, home to Mrs Robino's, one of the city's oldest and most popular spots for authentic Italian food. During the summer, the best way to cool off is with a treat from one of the historic community's countless Italian water ice stands.

For many visitors, the most appealing attractions lie just outside city limits, in the beautiful Brandywine Valley. The area is a horticultural delight, with endless gardens and arboretums, as well as the 'American castles' of the du Pont family, including Winterthur and Nemours, magnificently preserved and packed with artwork and antiques.
Climate: Wilmington has hot and humid summers, but winters are usually mild, averaging 32°F (0°C) in January, the coldest month. Snowfall is light and often mixed with rain and sleet meaning that it melts quite quickly. Summer months experience about 75 percent humidity and are the wettest time of year, usually with thunderstorms.



caite said...

nice pics...I love the ones of NJ...

but that last lighthouse is East Point, in New Jersey...and Washington Crossing the Delaware RIVER went between NJ and Pennsylvania.

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