Lewes, Delaware – Quaint but Not an Antique

Lewes offers so much more than sand and ocean to the beach vacationer.  Known as the “First Town in the First State,” Lewes was settled by the Dutch in 1631 and home to one of Delaware’s oldest buildings erected in the 17th century.

Lewes Delaware Aerial Picture
Down town Lewes, as seen from the air, shows the “heart” of downtown clustered near the canal bridge.

A must for every visitor, is a trip to Cape Henlopen State Park. The park is located where the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay meet, with over 5000 acres of beautiful ocean and bay beaches. There is a three mile paved trail around the park for biking or walking, camping, a WWII observation tower and it is also home to Fort Miles. Fort Miles was built in 1941 to protect oil refineries and factories during World War II. You can see the concrete gun battery, barracks and artillery.

If you are in the mood for more history, take a stroll on Fisherman’s Wharf along the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. Tour the US Lightship Overfalls, a floating lighthouse which aided in navigation at night. The Lightship Overfalls is one of only 17 remaining Lightships in the United States.

Another interesting and scenic day trip is the 17 mile, 80 minute trip across the Delaware Bay on the Cape May Ferry. You can board the Ferry in Lewes and dock in Cape May, New Jersey. Spend the day exploring this beautiful Victorian town. The entire town is designated as a National Historic Landmark. There is plenty of shopping and dining available too.

Lewes is also home to Delaware’s first farm winery. The grapes are grown, made into wine and sold at Nassau Valley Vineyards. Located just a few miles from the beach, they also offer free tours and tastings.

However, you spend your day in Lewes, be sure to end it enjoying an ice cream cone, relaxing on a bench outside of King’s Ice Cream on Second Street. It is the best homemade ice cream at the beach!

Cape may - Lewes Ferry Terminal Aerial Picture
The Cape May – Lewes Ferry Terminal lies along the southern shore of the Delaware Bay.

Article contributed by Helen McElvaney.