When Ross and I were planning our route north to New Hampshire from the Outer Banks, I noticed that we’d be driving through Delaware. Since neither of us had ever been there, we decided to stay out there for a weekend and see what there was to see.
Most of our days in travel mode, we stay for free or almost free at Walmarts, truck stops, Cracker Barrels and rest stops. But when we will be exploring more fully, a campground frees us to leave our RV in a safe space while we adventure.
By far, the best affordable option seemed to be a state park. We had a few to choose from, but Killens Pond State Park in Felton was ultimately our choice. For $27 per night, we had water, electric, a bathhouse (with lukewarm showers) and a shady site in a beautiful natural setting. There’s also a nature trail, which we didn’t have time to check out.
We were in the area for about 48 hours – not a lot of time, but we really made the most of it. I began the adventures with a visit to the John Dickinson Plantation. (There’s even bus/RV parking!) This is a fabulous, free historic site, with a great video, exhibits (including one focused on the lives of slaves and servants and information on how they were eventually freed) and an incredible tour (a personal one, in my case) where you can tour almost the entire house and the surrounding plantation, including some outbuildings. I’m still in disbelief that this is free to visit. Thank you, taxpayers! I consider this a must-see if history and the lives of our founding fathers interest you.
(If you’re in the area, consider a visit to the free Air Mobility Command Center down the road.)
While I visited the plantation, Ross set up our RV. When I returned, we ate dinner and then headed out for one of the most highly rated ice cream parlors in the state. Hopkins Farm Creamery was very tasty, although the overall experience left a bit to be desired. (Maybe it was the time of day…) But it was an affordable night out, and we then turned in to rest up for the rest of the weekend.
On Saturday, we had our eyes on the Dogfish Head Brewery. Ross loves beer, and Dogfish Head was his first, enlightening experience with craft beer, so it meant a lot to him to visit. Their free tour, which takes about an hour, is free and seriously awesome. You get two free samples chosen by them, two you choose yourself, and there’s a separate liquor tasting available as well. Did I mention it was all free? Ross and I both enjoyed it all, and being gluten-free, I appreciated the hard cider and birch soda (“beach beer”) offerings available at the bar. The tour was really inspiring – such a wonderful success story about building a business and following your passion! Kiana was our amazing tour guide.
If you’re curious, we sampled Seaquench Ale (a light offering), India Brown Dark IPA, Sick Cider, Beach Beer (birch soda), Pompous Hippograff, and Palo Santi Marron 2014.
The brewery is in Milton, Delaware. There’s an adorable food truck out front and they have a restaurant elsewhere by the beach. Milton reminded us of Portsmouth, NH, very walkable with really cute architecture.
We were prepared to leave town, but Ross indulged me and we stopped for ice cream on the way out of town. King’s Homemade Ice Cream is a no frills, cute parlor with excellent ice cream. Worth a stop here or in Lewes!
Our next stop would take us far afield, but Ross was particularly eager to find some city life in Delaware. We headed toward Wilmington, which was nearly two hours from Dogfish but we were up for an adventure. We had fun following our noses, eating some delicious gluten-free pizza, wandering a “farmer’s market” that felt like an underground flea market (technically in Pennsylvania!), and lamenting that the comics shop we came in search of had closed early. We then spent some time in 2nd & Charles, a wonderful music/gaming/books/what have you chain we had enjoyed previously elsewhere.
On our way back, we passed Nemours, which sparked the idea of me exploring solo the next day while Ross played video games. So we packed up the camper, I headed out to see this amazing mansion and gardens that has become a museum, and Ross headed to a rest stop to play games.
Nemours is truly an amazing place to visit. If you love ornate architecture and gardens, you will be in heaven. Pack a lunch and make a day of it if you’d like, but do plan to spend at least three hours, minimum, exploring it all. I was in heaven!
When we found out we couldn’t stay overnight at the rest stop, we headed another hour north to a fabulous rest stop with great wifi for the night. It was a wonderful weekend that filled us both up with some awesomeness!
Delaware is a great place to vacation. There are tons of breweries we didn’t get to nearby (into Maryland as well) and lots of other fabulous museums and beaches we will have to check out next time.
And if you happen to head there from the south like we did, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is awesome! There is a gorgeous seasonal restaurant and gift shop, with an outdoor historical exhibit with amazing water views all around you. Make sure you stop as you cross the bridge, it’s such a neat experience.
Have you been to Delaware? If so, what did we miss?
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