Gardens at Mount Cuba Center
Northern Delaware Getaway – A Four-Day Itinerary for New Castle County, Delaware
A fun-packed getaway is just around the corner in exciting New Castle County, Delaware. Wilmington and Newark offer walkable downtowns and vibrant dining scenes while the Brandywine Valley is home to scenic DuPont estates and challenging golf courses. Plus, Old New Castle, Odessa and Delaware City offer a glimpse in Delaware’s rich history and heritage.
Situated across the Delaware River from New Jersey, northern Delaware borders Pennsylvania and Maryland. Easily accessed by car, train or air, New Castle County is home to non-stop service to and from Delaware with Frontier Airlines and is just 30 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport. Add tax-free shopping and an abundance of attractions and activities to the mix, and you’ve got a relaxing and exciting escape right in your own backyard.
Day 1 – Explore Downtown Wilmington
- Morning: Start the morning exploring the outdoors at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Area or take the younger set to the Delaware Children’s Museum, where they’ll find fun and innovative ways to fall in love with science, math and technology.
- Lunch: Enjoy lunch al fresco at Big Fish Grill, winner of numerous awards for its fresh seafood at affordable prices.
- Afternoon: Indulge in afternoon Tea Service at the renowned Green Room in the Hotel du Pont.
- Dinner: Adjacent to the Riverwalk, Harry’s Seafood Grill is the place to go for award-winning crab cakes, a fresh raw bar and scores of wines by the glass.
- Night: Take yourself out to a Wilmington Blue Rocks baseball game, or treat yourself to the symphony, dance, opera or a Broadway show at the Grand Opera House or the Playhouse at Rodney Square. The World Café Live at The Queen is a hip new venue with two performance spaces and a global mix of musical genres.
- Where to stay: Live life to it’s grandest while staying in one of Delaware’s four-diamond hotels, the Hotel Du Pont has luxurious accommodations within walking distance to many Wilmington attractions.
Day 2 – Discover the Brandywine Valley
- Morning: Start the day at the Winterthur Museum and Gardens, the premier museum of American decorative arts with acres of scenic gardens.
- Lunch: Chain pizza this isn’t. At Pizza by Elizabeths, healthy pizzas made with fresh, all-natural ingredients share the menu with gourmet salads and luscious desserts. Get your tax-free shopping fix (men’s and women’s fashions, home furnishings and fine gifts) at Greenville Center.
- Afternoon: On the banks of the Brandywine River the American Dream became a reality for the Du Pont family, the Hagley Museum and Gardens exemplifies early American industry, with its restored mills, workers’ community and ancestral home of the du Pont family.
- Dinner: Krazy Kat’s, which is housed in a renovated blacksmith’s shop, pairs whimsical décor with creative cuisine. Brandy-Poached Lobster and Hudson Valley Duck are among its offerings.
- Where to stay: The Inn at Montchanin is a restored 19th Century Hamlet and is a gem of the Brandywine Valley with 28 rooms and suites each with their own unique character.
- Bonus trip idea: The Mount Cuba Center is located on 600-acres of lush scenery with woodland wildflower gardens, a picturesque meadow and wide collection of native plants.
Day 3 – Shopping, dining and so much more!
- Morning: Shop tax-free at the newly renovated Christiana Mall. From Nordstrom to the Microsoft Store, you’ll find everything on your list at Christiana!
- Lunch: Visit the Newark Main Street for boutique stores and delicious dining. Head to Caffe Gelato for lunch with northern Italian flair. A Caprese or Prosciutto and Fig Panini should slay a healthy appetite; follow it with homemade gelato if you have room. Or try a big plate of nachos at the Deer Park Tavern and ask about their famous patrons including Edgar Allan Poe.
- Afternoon: Work off those calories by hitting the trails at White Clay Creek State Park, which leads to historic sites and scenic vistas overlooking lush valleys and rock outcroppings.
- Dinner: From wood-fired grilled steaks to hearty salads, every family member will find what they desire at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. Or head to Potstickers Asian Grill & Sushi Bar for Red Curry Coconut Chicken.
- Where to stay: The Hilton Wilmington Christiana is an estate hotel located in Newark and surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Brandywine Valley. Or book a stay at the Courtyard by Marriott – University of Delaware located within walking distance to Main Street in Newark and offers warm breakfast served daily!
Day 4 – Step back in time in Old New Castle, Odessa Delaware City
- Morning: Grab a cup of coffee at Penn’s Place then head over to the New Castle Historical Society for a tour along cobblestone streets in the First Capital of the First State. (Now, part of the First State National Monument).
- Lunch: Dine in 19th century ambiance at Cantwell’s Tavern in historic Odessa.
- Afternoon: Take further back in time with tours of the 18th Century homes in Odessa and don’t forget to ask about its connection to the Underground Railroad. (Travel tip: Every December the homes are decorated to celebrate the holiday season with festive displays).
- Dinner: Bring your appetites to Delaware City and crack some shells with delicious fresh seafood including steamed crabs from Kathy’s Crab House or Crabby Dick’s.
- Bonus trip idea: Once a Union fortress during the Civil War, Fort Delaware is known for ghostly haunts from the island’s past! Ghost tours are offered in the fall season or if you’d like something a little less scary visit during the day for hands-on history demonstrations.
- Where to stay: The Sheraton Wilmington South is one of Delaware’s newest hotels and is located right on I-95 making this easily accessible to all of the great attractions in the area.