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 homes, 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.
Next, 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.