It might be difficult to believe, but even when a person is taking advantage of all the best a beach weekend or vacation has to offer, they still are missing out on a depth of experience that relies on storytelling. A lot of times, people are afraid to take a chance beyond the “traditional” beach experiences.
People come to the beach, hit a boardwalk or two, have the ice cream or french fries that they have deemed the only one worth trying at the beach, but then what? What makes a vacation really memorable is the story that goes with it, not just a list of things that everyone does at the beach. The narrative makes a trip cogent and that begins with the will to just go out and take a chance.
The appeal of a good, “What I did this summer story” is a little bit about exclusivity. But when people visit a well-known a place, the idea that there might be something more, experiences a little more expansive than merely shopping, drinking and eating but that still center on shopping, drinking and eating because they’re fun things to do.
Delaware has several trails, a bike trail, an agricultural trail and a beer, wine and spirits trail that ostensibly give people a guide to seeing the state’s highlights. But these trails are just as useful as touchstones for exploring, they can be reverse engineered and used more as a guide for other things to do.
Take a Chance Riding the Former Rails
For the outdoorsy there are designated bike trails, lots of which are part of the national rails to trails program, that run essentially from Lewes to Georgetown and wend in and out of parks and towns along the way. Picking a trail to set a baseline and then choosing diversions along the route is a great way to stumble upon experiences people otherwise might miss.
Explore the best trails in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware using TrailLink.com. View the most authoritative Rehoboth Beach trail maps with detailed trail amenities, guidebook descriptions, reviews, photos, trail itineraries, and driving directions – provided by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
In addition to shopping and dining, the backroads and byways of Sussex County have tons of pop-up antique stores that are just as amusing for photo ops as for browsing. A day trip based on trying to find and photograph the kookiest or tackiest antique store item is as reliable a way to cultivate vacation stories as any other. It also is worth mentioning that the bike trails can coincide nicely with the beer wine and spirits trail.
Take a Chance on a New Drink Experience
Craft beer enthusiasts almost certainly want to make a trip to the Dogfish Head Milton plant, but there are so many additional opportunities to try local beer, wine and spirits that it’s worth considering them as a jumping off point or an end point rather than merely a destination in and of themselves.
Crooked Hammock Brewery is a great beach head for exploring Lewes, just as Dewey Beer Co. is a great reason to visit the rest of that beach town. Craft beer continues to be a staple for lots of places at the beach and even into western Sussex County. Many if not most of the breweries in the region have tasting tours, but even if they don’t, having a couple of beers at a downtown brewery before walking the strip is a safe and fun way to try lots of local beer.
Explore the Delaware Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail from Dogfish Head Brewery to Delaware Distilling Company.
Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes is a place where one could spend an entire day or just a few hours exploring the vineyard or just enjoying the quiet with a glass of wine. It isn’t far from BeachTime Distilling, where you can schedule a tour of one of the three local distilleries (the others are Dogfish Head in Milton and Delaware Distilling in Rehoboth).
But a little farther up the road from Nassau Valley and Beachtime, travelers can take a break and try one of the newest, oldest alcoholic beverages on the planet at Brimming Horn Meadery. Plus, on the way out there’s another great opportunity for an experience-based stopover.
Take a Chance Inland
Hopkins Farm Creamery, conveniently located between Nassau Valley Vineyards and and Brimming Horn Meadery, is one of several places in the area to grab ice cream right at the source. For those interested in pushing farther into the Delaware interior, the Vanderwende Farm Creamery is an experience unto itself. The creamery has an outlet in Dewey for people who prefer to eat their ice cream out of sight of the cows.
The Lavender Fields Farm at Warrington Manor in Milton distinguishes itself in a lot of ways. As an agritourism stop it has shops stocked both with the work of local artists and artisans as well as items grown and made on the farm. But beyond that, it is one of those great places to walk and just get a feel for the life of leisure that would come with owning a manor house.
Located on a historic, five-acre farm on the scenic Delmarva Peninsula, Lavender Fields at Warrington Manor is Delaware’s premier lavender farm. Owned by Sharon Harris and Marie Mayor, we have been growing quality lavender since 2003. We offer seasonal lavender plants, bath and body products, honey from our own beehives, culinary items and a wide variety of Delaware handcrafted items, including Soap Fairy products.
Moreover, it features a stone labyrinth modeled after one embedded in the floor of the Cathedral of Chartres, France. Walking the labyrinth in the relative cool of the shade trees is a meditative experience, but it also is kind of neat that you can walk more than a mile within a space that’s only 42 feet in diameter.
There really are too many farm experiences to mention, given that increasingly farm stands have expanded to include playgrounds and educational elements to appeal as a stopover for visiting families.
Take a Chance at an Old-Timey Theater
The Clayton Theatre in Dagsboro, maybe 20 minutes from the beach, is a one screen theater that is among the last of its kind, and literally the last of its kind in Delaware. For people who are determined not to let the rain make their day boring it is certainly worth the trip for the experience alone.
Delaware’s last remaining single screen movie theatre showing current first-run movies
Tickets are purchased through the same glass partition that was part of the building when it went up in the 1940s. In addition to first run movies, the Clayton occasionally features classic movies normally unseen on the big screen in a generation or more.
Take a Chance Beyond the Terrain
If exploring via bike trails and paved roads isn’t enough, there are water trails all along the coast and into the coastal bays and estuaries. Coastal kayak in Fenwick and Quest Kayak in Lewes are among the many professional water guide operations for people who are interested in learning to explore the waterways.
For people who already know how, the state tourism website, VisitDelaware.com, has guides to the states water trails. The site has guides to lots of different trails and also a link to the Delaware on Tap app that allows people to track the places they visit on the beer, wine and spirits trail to win prizes.
Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century. He has been producing news, leisure and entertainment podcasts since 2007, most notably he is the host of This Is War.
In addition Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer was published in 2013 and Delaware Beer in 2015.
He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn’t moved out. Together they keep their dog and cat comfortable.