A unique collection of thirty-six (36) statewide historic sites that begin to tell the story of the state that started the nation! Follow the Delaware History Trail and experience the First State’s rich heritage and discover Delaware’s place in American history. Visit a minimum of eighteen (18) trail sites including six (6) sites from each of Delaware’s three counties, collect individual site codes from the distinctive trail signs, and receive a limited-edition book entitled, “Landmarks and Legacies!” Go for the coveted prize with this challenging, yet achievable, trail combination designed to meet prize requirements during a two day visit.
Embark on your historical journey from Wilmington, the heart of New Castle County! Visit the intriguing Hagley Museum & Library where the story of Delaware’s prestigious du Pont family begins. Tour the family’s ancestral home, gunpowder mills, and workers’ village or visit one of the finest business and technology research libraries in the nation. Next, visit the Old Swedes Church, a National Landmark erected in 1698-99, to learn about the Swedish colonists who established Delaware’s first permanent European settlement in 1638. Then scoot over to the nearby Quaker Hill Historic District to encounter Wilmington’s oldest residential neighborhood first established in the early18th century. Marvel at the historic character and architectural diversity of Delaware’s largest city!
Enjoy a delicious lunch in Historic New Castle with your choice of Colonial, Cajun, or European fare. Visit the Old Court House, one of the oldest surviving courthouses in the United States and a registered National Historic Landmark. Stroll through this quaint colonial town and take in the panoramic view of the Delaware River. Next, venture to Historic Odessa, an18th century enclave of historic homes, furnishings and decorative art. Quench your thirst at the famous Cantwell’s Tavern, formerly The Brick Hotel built in 1822.
Continue south along the trail to the Capital City of Dover situated in Kent County. Enjoy a walking tour along The Green in the Historic District. Pass by the Old State House, the first permanent capital building in Dover that has served as a focal point in the state's civic life for over two centuries. Stop by the Biggs Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of American fine and decorative arts. End up at the Johnson Victrola Museum, which chronicles the life and achievements of E. R. Johnson, a 20th century recording industry pioneer, inventor, and successful businessman who had a profound influence on the sound-recording industry.
Stay overnight at one of one of Dover’s convenient, affordable hotels and enjoy a complimentary breakfast at the Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, or Hilton Garden Inn. Choose from a variety of local restaurants for a savory meal such as McGlynn’s, a cozy Irish pub, spice it up at the neighboring La Tonalteca Mexican Restaurant, or go for a bountiful buffet at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Dover Downs is also host to an assortment of eateries and fun nightlife, and offers luxurious overnight accommodations.
Kick off your day with a visit to the Air Mobility Command Museum -- the only institution in the country dedicated to airlift and air refueling history. The museum resides in historic Hangar 1301, a World War II era site for the top secret development of rocket weaponry, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Next, head to the John Dickinson Plantation, home of one of the founding fathers of the United States, signer of the Constitution and "Penman of the Revolution." The Plantation features Dickinson's original 1740 brick home, reconstructed farm buildings and logged dwelling, and rich agricultural lands stretching down to the banks of the St. Jones River. Follow your southbound trek to Barratt’s Chapel in Fredrica. Constructed in 1780, this simple but stately brick house of worship is recognized as “The Cradle of American Methodism.”
The next stop is the Governor’s Walk in Milton, a charming riverside community located in Sussex County. This looping trail honors the five local residents who served as state governors and introduces the rich history and architectural treasures of this former shipbuilding and maritime commerce center. Continue your exploration in the Lewes Historic District - the “First Town in the First State!” Take time to enjoy the delicious local fare at a variety of dining establishments. Choose one of a host nationally recognized historical treasures such as the Lewes Historical Society’s Historic Complex, Boathouse, and Cannonball House Maritime Museum. Ride by the De Vries Monument, placed in the National Register of Historic Places, which commemorates the establishment of the first permanent European presence on the Delaware Bay.
Visit the adjacent Fort Miles Historical Area at Cape Henlopen State Park. Set among the dunes where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Miles was one of our nation’s most important East Coast defensive fortifications during World War II. Your visit would not be complete without a stroll on the nearby Rehoboth Avenue and Boardwalk! Founded in 1873, the “Nation’s Summer Capital” has been making memories for millions of visitors since its early days as a religious retreat. A little further south in Rehoboth, you will find the Indian River Life-Saving Station, a restored landmark constructed in 1876 by the United States Life-Saving Service, that reminds us of the many perils experienced by those who sailed Atlantic waters during the heyday of coastal trading. Make your way back to Rehoboth Avenue and Boardwalk for a hearty meal and to celebrate your accomplishments during this whirlwind tour!