Delaware is rich in history! The first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, history enthusiasts can follow the Delaware History Trail of intriguing historic sites and discover the state that started the nation. The Trail is a collection of thirty-six (36) handpicked sites that begin to tell the story of Delaware’s place in American history. Included among the Trail sites are four historic districts, each with its own fascinating chronicle of conflict, courage, and the fight for freedom and independence. Visit a minimum of eighteen (18) trail sites including six (6) sites from each of Delaware’s three regions, collect individual site codes from distinctive trail signs, and receive a limited-edition book entitled, “Landmarks and Legacies!”
Historic New Castle – Delaware’s Colonial Capital
Visit Historic New Castle, Delaware’s original colonial capital from 1704-1777, located in the Northeast region of the state! This quaint, cobblestone town has roots dating from the 1600’s when Delaware was borne out of conflict amongst three world powers for dominance of the Delaware Valley.
A National Historic Landmark, this little town shows remnants of the Dutch, Swede, and English settlements and a region exhibiting diversity in religion and national origin and a value for independence. Witness the original “Penn’s Landing” and hear the tale of English Quaker William Penn and his role in Delaware’s history and separation from Great Britain.
Stroll through Battery Park along the Delaware River, the town green, and charming shopping district. Experience the New Castle Court House, a National Monument site, and the original seat of Delaware’s colonial and state government. Visit the Read House and Gardens and the New Castle Historical Society’s three museums representing four centuries of history!
Enjoy your choice of Colonial, Cajun, or European cuisine! Dine at Jessop’s Tavern for some hearty English pub fare, Dutch cheeses, and Swedish sauces! Nora Lees, a French Quarter Bistro, serves up delicious Cajun food and Traders Cove at Penn’s Place offers a cozy coffee shop setting for a meal, local art and crafts, live entertainment, and a Secret Beer & Wine Garden!
Odessa – Life in the 18th Century
Start heading south to the five Historic Houses of Odessa and 30 acres of grounds, gardens, and outbuildings. The town features an enclave of 18th and early 19th century buildings boasting an authentic private collection of over 4,000 household furnishings, fine and decorative art.
See what life was like in Cantwell’s Bridge in the 18th century and observe some of the finest examples of Mid-Atlantic craftsmanship – from original family furniture made by prominent 18th century Delaware cabinetmakers to major works of regional paintings, prints, textiles, and metals!
Quench your thirst with local craft brews, Belgian and imported beers, and satisfy your taste buds at the legendary Cantwell’s Tavern! Formerly The Brick Hotel built in 1822, culinary connoisseurs can savor the flavor of the scratch-made menu in a relaxed, upscale 19th century atmosphere.
Dover – Delaware’s Capital City
Next, it’s on to Historic Dover, the First State capital city since 1777. Visit Legislative Hall and take a walking tour of The Green in the First State Heritage Park, Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries” and another National Monument site. Hear the story of Caesar Rodney’s perilous ride to cast the state's vote for independence!
Stop by the John Bell House and the Old State House, the first permanent capital building in Dover and a focal point in the state's civic life for over two centuries. Visit the Biggs Museum, housing 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, successful businessman, and profound influencer of the sound-recording industry. Take your pick of group-friendly restaurants sprinkled throughout the city!
Lewes – The First Town in the First State
Continue your exploration in the Lewes Historic District! Choose one of a host of 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 Zwaanendael Museum, a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military, and social history. Modeled after the town hall in Hoorn, the Netherlands, the museum commemorates the founding of Delaware's first European settlement by the Dutch in 1631.
Take time to enjoy the delicious local fare at a variety of dining establishments. Take a peak in the quaint boutique shops and enjoy King’s homemade ice cream!