The Historic Seaport of Lewes, Delaware: The Perfect Day Trip

Plenty of history, interesting shopping, neat old homes and the scent of salty air — for me, that defines the perfect town for a day trip. I found all that and more in the charming and historic seaport of Lewes (pronounced “loo-iss”), Delaware.

After parking in the town's 1812 Memorial Park, I began my visit with a stroll along the Lewes Rehoboth Canal. Cannons on the small green honor the town's successful defense against a British bombardment in April 1813.

I then wandered up Savannah Road to check out an intriguing red-brick building that looked like it'd been transplanted from Europe. It was the Zwaanendael Museum, built in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Dutch settler's arrival here — the first Europeans to land in Delaware.

Featuring painted shutters, an ornamental gable and incredible carvings over the door, the building is patterned after the old town hall in Hoorn, Holland, reflecting the town's Dutch heritage. Exhibits inside chronicle the area's fascinating past.

If history isn't your thing, don't worry — there's plenty of shopping to keep you happy. Strolling along Second Street in the town's historic downtown district, I explored the 40 or so shops, ranging from antique stores to galleries selling works fashioned by local artists.

Smelling coffee, I ducked into the Oby Lee Coffee Roastery for a cup and a quick sandwich. Recharged, I continued my exploration and headed across the canal to the pristine beaches of Cape Henlopen State Park, where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Here I found unusual concrete World War II observation towers that were used to watch for enemy ships. I was happy to find one of the towers was open to visitors; the view was well worth the climb.

There's not enough room to tell you about everything there is to see in this charming seaport: the historic homes… cozy eateries like the Buttery Restaurant and Bar, the Rose and Crown Restaurant and Pub and King's Homemade Ice Cream Shop … the Village Blacksmith shop operated by smithy John Ellsworth… and more. Lewes is a perfect place to spend a day — or more!

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