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Delaware Museums: Get transported back in time

Marvel at the engineering of historic planes, trains and automobiles while touring Delaware museums dedicated to preserving the history of military aircrafts, vintage locomotives and steam powered engines.

Air Mobility Command Museum-- The Air Mobility Command Museum, standing proudly alongside the long runways and giant C-5 Galaxy transport jets of Dover Air Force Base, is the kind of place that gets history buffs’ blood pumping, and puts airplane aficionados into a state of sweaty anticipation.

Nowhere else in the nation can visitors climb aboard classic military transport aircraft, or stand in the decommissioned control tower of one of the nation’s busiest Air Force bases. At the Air Mobility Command Museum, military history fans can witness the drama of the Berlin Airlift, tour Air Force Two or learn about the potentially perilous art of aerial refueling.

As the only museum dedicated to airlift and air-refueling history, the Air Mobility Command Museum is a uniquely far-reaching look into a side of military life rarely seen by civilians. Some of the largest and most iconic transports aircraft in history stand on static display come to life with veteran aircraft personnel giving guided tours of the museum’s exhibits.

The Air Mobility Command Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

-- Meandering peacefully along the banks of the Red Clay Creek through the heart of New Castle County, the vintage locomotives of the Wilmington & Western Railroad offer a journey into the nation’s past, when steam-powered trains were crucial to carrying passengers and products from town to town.

Wilmington and Western RailroadToday, the old trains chug along a 10-mile section of the old rail line as it passes through the rolling hills and leafy valleys, ending its journey at a shaded grove where passengers can disembark for a picnic lunch.

The railroad is run from the historic Greenbank Station, which began service back in the last half of the 19th century. Next door to the station, visitors can also explore the Greenbank Mill, a living history museum with tours and programs that tell a fascinating tale of America’s Industrial Revolution.

The Wilmington & Western Railroad runs throughout the year and offers several themed special events including a Santa Claus Express and Autumn Leaf Special. Please visit their website for a schedules and to purchase tickets.

-- Tucked away in a leafy, picturesque corner of New Castle County, Auburn Heights Preserve looks more like the country estate of a successful businessman from generations past (which it is). Step onto the shaded grounds, however, and a rich world of history unfolds.

On these quiet acres is the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley Steamers, those chuffing early automotive classics. Kids will be thrilled to ride aboard the 1/8-size steam trains of Auburn Heights Preserve Marshall Steam Museumthe Auburn Valley Railroad, while the grownups may decide to take a tour the Auburn Heights mansion, home to three generations of the Marshall family.

Inside the Marshall Steam Museum, displays of electric trains and vintage music machines keep the sense of discovery alive. All around the mansion lies the Auburn Heights Preserve, Delaware’s newest State Park site, encompassing nearly 200 acres of protected land adjacent to the Red Clay Creek and including the original family mill buildings.

The Marshall Steam Museum and Auburn Heights Mansion is open for tours on the first Friday and Saturday of each month (April – November). Please note that reservations are required. Public Steamin’ Days are held the first Sunday of each month (June – November) which include family-fun activities.

Travel tips:
3 museums in one day? Take your time and enjoy the sights by booking an overnight stay online.

Discover why the First State is considered the historical crossroads of our great nation on the Delaware History Trail. Download a passport and earn a limited-edition book about Delaware history at http://www.visitdelaware.com/delaware-history-trail.


posted on: Thursday, Aug 8, 2013 11:49 AM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

Embrace the beauty of Delaware City

Visit Delaware City for a weekend, and there's a good chance you may not ever want to leave. This historic riverside town packs a lot of love into one accessible, affordable package: You'll enjoy Delaware City's small-town charm, but appreciate its dash of grown-up fun. Vacationers will marvel at the natural beauty of its wildlife sanctuaries, and be amazed how it's all within easy reach of such creature comforts as dining and shopping.

In Delaware City, travelers can take their pick of pleasurable pursuits:

Delaware City-- History: Just a half-mile ferry ride from the Delaware City docks stands the looming granite-and-brick fortress of Fort Delaware, located midstream in the Delaware River on Pea Patch Island. Known as the Alcatraz of the East Coast, Fort Delaware once housed Confederate prisoners during the Civil War, and costumed state park interpreters keep things lively with an ever-changing array of historical programs (you may even see a ghost or two!).

-- Nature: Take a quick hike to the north end of Pea Patch Island, and travelers will be in what the Audubon Society calls a bird sanctuary of "continental significance," complete with a nature trail and an observation tower. This oasis of natural beauty is home to the largest "heronry" on the East Coast north of Florida, hosting nine species of wading birds, including the Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Immediately south of Delaware City, near the base of the Reedy Point Bridge, amateur dinosaur hunters can dig up fossils deposited 65 to 85 million years ago.

Delaware Steamed Crabs-- Fun and Food: When the explorations are through, savvy travelers head to such hangouts as Crabby Dicks seafood restaurant on Delaware City's lovely main street to enjoy such Delaware-style classics as crabcakes and even crab pasta. Take a short post-dinner stroll to enjoy some antique shopping, or maybe some ice-cream slurping, along a main street that's framed by views of a quiet park and the mighty river.

-- Water, water everywhere: As a riverside port town situated alongside the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, Delaware City is all about the waterways and the bounty they bring. The Delaware City Marina offers slips, a ship's store, a gift shop and a full array of marine services. Visitors can get a true taste of that maritime charm at such restaurants as Kathy's Crab House or Wiso's, where the salty crustaceans are available tableside or for pickup.


posted on: Thursday, Aug 8, 2013 9:05 AM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

Old New Castle: A Peek into the Past

Visitors to Old New Castle sometimes feel they’ve been transported back in time. The cobblestone streets and tidy Colonial-era townhomes of this riverside village still speak of the nation’s early history, when passionate and courageous patriots pushed to break the bonds with Britain and create a nation of their own.

Old New CastleCentral to this story of revolutionary ideals is the Old Court House in the center of town, which served as the first capital of the state and its State House (1776-1777). Here, in one momentous month in 1776, two historic moves were made -- the state of Delaware was created when it separated from Pennsylvania, and the legislature declared its independence from Great Britain, weeks before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Originally founded as Fort Casimir in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant, the town has seen the flags of the Netherlands, Sweden and Great Britain flown over its shady streets. Visitors can browse its unique assortment of shops and restaurants, see where William Penn landed in the New World in 1682, or wander down to the riverside for a picnic in Battery Park before visiting the town’s museums and homes:

--The Dutch House, a late 17th-century home furnished in the style of New Castle’s early Dutch settlers.

-- The Amstel House, a colonial brick mansion built in the early American Georgian style of architecture and furnished to reflect 18th and 19th century life in New Castle.

--The Old Library, built in the shape of a hexagon and in the Victorian style, includes an exhibit on New Castle’s history.

--The George Read II House and Garden, known as “the grandest mansion and oldest garden in New Castle,” is a showcase of the decorative arts of the Federal period.

Old New CastleNew Castle’s location made it an ideal transfer point for trips up and down the coast. As a result, New Castle was a thriving coastal community throughout the 1700′s and early 1800′s.

This small, picturesque City allows vacationers, as well as business travelers, a refreshing respite from the pressures of daily life. Whether you are enjoying the beaches, the Brandywine Valley, or other treasures of Delaware, be sure to include New Castle in your itinerary.


posted on: Thursday, Aug 8, 2013 8:54 AM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

A historic day in New Castle County

Discover more than 300 years of American and Delaware history on a day or weekend trip to Old New Castle and historic Odessa in northern Delaware. With cobblestone streets, scenic views of the waterfront where the Dutch first settled the area in the 1600s and beautiful historic New Castle Court Househomes, New Castle, known as, the First Capital of the First State, is a great starting point to begin your travels back in time.

After stopping at Penn’s Place, for a cup of coffee and light breakfast, head over to the New Castle Historical Society to pick up the audio walking tour or perhaps, a staff member will be on hand to give you a guided tour of the area.

The must-sees include the New Castle Court House, Delaware’s first court and capital, the Dutch house, the Amstel house and the Old Library Museum. Once you are done with the educational tours, take a scenic lunch break in Battery Park with views of the Delaware River! Depending on the day, you may see a tall ship or even a navy ship coming in to port just north of New Castle.

Historic Odessa DelawareNext, you’ll take a 10 – 15 minute car ride, to Historic Odessa to continue on the historic adventure. The Historic Odessa Foundation welcomes visitors with a video about the rich history and heritage of the area. Tours include a guided walk through the main properties and gorgeous gardens. The grounds include one of Delaware’s oldest residences, dating to 1700 and a collection of over 4,000 objects spanning from 1760 – 1850.

Once the tour is complete, walk over to Cantwell’s Tavern for a savory meal and early 19th century ambiance. Make sure to try some of the delicious offerings on their grapes and grains menu!

Make it a weekend trip with an overnight stay at a local hotel or bed and breakfast. Or learn more about the state that started the nation by pairing your trip with additional stops on the Delaware History Trail.

Bonus travel tip: If you’re traveling with a larger group, please call the Delaware Tourism Office at (302) 672-6834 to assist in coordinating special tours with the New Castle Historical Society and Historic Odessa Foundation. The New Castle Court House is a great spot for a catered breakfast and the William Penn High School Culinary Arts program offers an impressive catering service. Historic Odessa is also a great spot for a group dining experience with on-site catering from Cantwell’s Tavern.


posted on: Thursday, Dec 20, 2012 12:30 PM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

Open for Business: Delaware City (Video)

Nestled along the waterfront in New Castle County, Delaware City is a historic community filled with delicious restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops and ghostly haunts! From the exciting fireworks of Delaware City Day to kayaking the scenic waterways, this destination is not to be missed on your next trip. 

Make it a day trip, stay the night in a quaint Bed and Breakfast or stop by for fresh crabs caught from the local docks! Traveling to the beach? No problem, call ahead and reserve your bushel of crabs for pick up! Boaters can easily dock at the Delaware City Marina and if you’re a history buff, make sure to visit Fort Delaware – the Alcatraz of the East Coast.

Although the grand Reedy Point Bridge will only be open sporadically during the next few months – mainly on weekends – there is plenty more to see along this splendid stretch. Please note that the Reedy Point Bridge will be open on weekends from May – October beginning on Fridays at 3:00 p.m. through Sundays at midnight (these times will vary around the weekend of July 21st and after Labor Day). Visitors may also use Route 72 and Gunning Bedford Road as access points to the area.

View this video for the inside scoop on things to do in Delaware City and suggested travel alternatives during the Reedy Point Bridge closure from Mayor John Buchheit and Dick Cathcart, City Manager.


posted on: Friday, Apr 27, 2012 11:20 AM
by: Delaware Tourism Office

99 Kings Highway • Dover, DE 19901 • 1-866-284-7483
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