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Delaware delivers: A place to play

Courtesy Sussex County CVB

Although it is just over an hour from Wilmington, southern Delaware’s Sussex County is the get-away-from-it-all, just-take-it-easy region of the state.

“In Sussex County, we have beaches on the eastern side of the county from Lewes down to Bethany Beach, while inland we have more quaint towns and lots of state parks,” said Aubrey Manzo, marketing manager for Sussex County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Although the sand beaches are filled with sun-seeking vacationers in the summer, many of the beachfront resort communities have maintained a historic charm amid the fun-loving bustle.

Lewes, located where the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet at Cape Henlopen, is a quaint, compact town with several historic houses, boutiques, craft shops and restaurants surrounded by great natural beauty at Cape Henlopen State Park and Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge.
Settled by the Dutch in 1631, Lewes bills itself as “The First Town in the First State.”

Because of its proximity to Washington and the number of Washingtonians who vacation there, Rehoboth Beach is called “the nation’s summer capital.”

Rehoboth Beach’s Tanger Outlets has more than 140 upscale outlet stores that benefit from the state’s tax-free shopping, and its mile-long boardwalk is lined with chic shops and gourmet restaurants.

“The Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts has phenomenal musical productions year round,” said Manzo. “They have an on-site restaurant for dinner and show packages.”

BASE: Baltimore Avenue Studios En Masse, a collection of working studios of some of the region’s top visual artists, is also on the site, which is just a block from the ocean.

Other beach towns are Dewey Beach, known for its abundant water sports, and Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island, known for their quieter, more ecotourism ambiance.

Sussex County offers two prime examples of Delaware’s growing wine and brewing industries.
“Nassau Valley Vineyards is Delaware’s first and only award-winning winery and has a five-gallery, history-of-wine museum that is part of a tour,” said Manzo. “They have free tastings.
“Dogfish Head Brewery near Milton is an award-winning brewery that has tours.”

The brewery tour can also include the company’s downtown brewpub in Rehoboth Beach with its experimental brewery and its upstairs distillery where vodka, gin and rum are made.

With its proximity to the sea, it is no surprise that Essex County also has a rich maritime heritage. A tragic part of any association with the sea is shipwrecks, and the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island and the Treasures of the Sea Museum in Georgetown have large collections of artifacts recovered from shipwrecks in the mid-Atlantic Ocean.

Sussex County has more than 500 antique dealers in antique shops, flea markets and auction houses, all within a half-hour’s drive of each other, in towns such as Laurel, Milton, Dagsboro, Georgetown and Seaford.

Researching your trip:

Delaware Office of Tourism

(302) 672-6804