Ranked “the best place to live in Delaware” by a statewide poll, Lewes (pronounced LEW-is) remains an undiscovered gem. First settled by the Dutch in the 1600s, Lewes retains a sense of its history. The brightly painted Zwaanendael Museum greets visitors as they arrive. Nine buildings from 1725 to1898 are in tree-shaded Shipcarpenter Square in the heart of town as a living museum.
Related: Touring Halifax, Nova Scotia
The town beach is on the Delaware Bay. Incredibly broad, incredibly clean, and enjoying calmer, quieter waters than Atlantic beaches, it is well-loved by families. There’s no boardwalk, just a seasonal ice cream and burger stand. The biggest excitement is watching the Cape May-Lewes ferry as it docks near the beach.
Cape Henlopen State Park, just outside town, has 6 miles of Atlantic beaches, 3 miles of trails, and a full menu of outdoor activities including fishing, kayaking, surfing, biking, camping, and birdwatching. You can tour the remains of WWII coastal defenses at Fort Miles in the park.
Shopping and dining rival much larger resorts. Fashion-seekers should check out Aquamarine and Twila Farrell. The Steppingstone showcases American handicrafts, Packard-Reath is known for fine art photography, and Sand and Stones sells jewelry created from sand glass. Lewes Gourmet has a huge selection of British foodstuffs, while Puzzles boasts the largest selection of jigsaw puzzles in the country and toys that are not movie tie-ins.
Gilligans has waterfront seating. Agave is known for its Mexican fare. Striper Bites bills itself as a “nautical bistro.” Irish Eye Pub is a quick visit to Dublin, while Villa Sorrento and Touch of Italy take you to the Med. Touch of Italy is also known for its cured meat shop.
For more information, go to www.leweschamber.com/visit.
For more travel advice, check out www.insightguides.com.