Delaware Chamber of Commerce, 1201 N. Orange St., Suite 200, Wilmington, (800) 292-9507, www.dscc.com.
Delaware Tourism Office, (800) 441-8846, www.visitdelaware.net.
Lewes Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, 120 Kings Highway, Lewes, (302) 645-8073, www.leweschamber.com.
Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, 501 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, (800) 441-1329, www.beach-fun.com.
Brandywine Zoo, 1001 North Park Drive, Wilmington, (302) 571-7747, www.brandywinezoo.org. Part of the fun of Delaware's one and only zoo is getting there. The kids will love the bumpy ride that the cobblestone "Monkey Hill" provides before checking out the zoo's collection of 150 animals, including Siberian tigers, Andean condors, and the world's largest rodent.
Cannonball House, 118 Front St., Lewes, (302) 645-7670, www.historiclewes.org. It's been nearly 200 years since British cannon fire struck this local landmark during the War of 1812. Now the site houses 400 years of nautical history including art and memorabilia commemorating the generations of river and bay pilots who lived there.
Cape May-Lewes Ferry, Lewes, (302) 426-1155, for reservations (800) 643-3779, www.capemaylewesferry.com. Just drive onto the ship and enjoy the fresh air as you cross the Delaware Bay from Lewes to Cape May, New Jersey. Or, hell, save money by ditching the car and traveling on foot.
Delaware Archaeology Museum, 316 S. Governor's Highway, Dover, (302) 739-4266, www.destatemuseums.org/default.shtml. Before you dismiss Delaware as a 10-minute section of I 95, consider the Diamond State's rich history--12,000 years of it, to be exact. This museum not only displays artifacts dating back to the 17th century but it prides itself on exploring the process of archaeology with the help of a simulated excavation pit.
Delaware Art Museum, 800 S. Madison St., Wilmington, (302) 571-9590, www.delart.org. As museum curators prepare for the opening of the new location this fall, stop by the temporary location at the Bank One Center on The Riverfront. If you're looking for some American and pre-Raphaelite works, this museum promises to deliver 12,000 of them.
Delaware Toy and Miniature Museum, 6 Old Barley Mill Road, Wilmington, (302) 427-8697, www.thomes.net/toys. You may need a magnifying glass to check out the collection of miniature toys at this place where no toy is too little. And for a look at the true "mini skirt," check out this summer's High Fashion in Miniature, an exhibit featuring haute couture in brass miniatures. Cute.
DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, 708 Ocean Hwy., Fenwick Island, (302) 539-9366, www.discoversea.com, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily June through Aug. This place is creep-a-licious, what with its theme of failure, and its darkened rooms that include weapons, coins, and jewels, all long forgotten by the dead pirates and sailors whose lives they once inhabited. Yet the coral/china sculptures made by the sea are beautiful.
Governor Ross Mansion and Plantation, N. Pine St., Seaford, (302) 628-9500, www.ohwy.com/de/g/goromapl.htm. A slice of the First State's checkered past can be found down south. This 1850s-era plantation features an Italian villa-style mansion with the state's only documented slave quarters. No one ever said history was pretty.
Greenbank Mill, 500 Greenbank Road, Wilmington, (302) 999-9001, www.greenbankmill.org. Learn how wool was spun in the 18th century and take a gander at the sheep whose Colonial ancestors supplied the materials.
Antique Show, June 25, Aug. 7, 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes, (302) 645-7670, www.historiclewes.org/events/antiques.html. Each show draws around 3,000 visitors to check out the antiques of nearly 65 dealers from the Mid-Atlantic region.
Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, June 13-20, Rodney Square, 10th and Market streets, Wilmington, (888) 285-8873, www.cliffordbrownjazzfest.com. What's better than live jazz? Live outdoor jazz. Sit on the square all week long and listen in celebration of Delaware's Clifford Brown.
Delmarva Chicken Festival, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. June 11-13, 100 Campus Drive, Dover, (302) 856-9037, www.dpichicken.org. There's no doubt about it, the chicken comes first at this annual celebration of Delaware's favorite delicacy. Plus carnival rides, games, clowns, and music for the kids.
Enchanted Summer Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 26, Winterthur Museum, (800) 448-3883, www.winterthur.org. For the third year, this historic museum serves as the backdrop for a day of family fun. Food, face painting, crafts, and puppet shows by Lois Young.
Greek Festival, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. June 6-8, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 808 N. Broom St., Wilmington, (302) 654-4447. A big fat Greek festival to satisfy your big fat taste for Greek food and music. Volunteers serve up food--from spanakopita to baklava--and music starts nightly at 6:30 p.m.
New Castle County Ice Cream Festival, July 12-13, Rockwood Mansion Park, Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, (302) 761-4340, www.co.new-castle.de.us/Commservices/-Rockwood/ICF2003/index.html. It wouldn't be summer without trying to eat your ice cream before it melts, and this is the place to do it. Kids can compete in an ice cream stacking contest for a year's supply of Turkey Hill ice cream, while adults tour the park's Victorian mansion and gardens. To make the experience as guilt-free as possible, sign up for the festival's kickoff 5K race on Friday, July 11.
St. Anthony's Italian Festival, June 13-20, St. Anthony of Padua Church, 901 N. Dupont St., (302) 421-3790, www.discoverlittleitaly.com/. As the "most widely attended church festival anywhere," for years now this week-long celebration of Italian culture draws thousands from all backgrounds to Wilmington's Little Italy. Feast on Italian food and wines before braving the carnival rides. Then again, maybe ride then eat.
Taste of Coastal Delaware, 1-4 p.m. June 6, Marketplace at Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, (800) 962-7873, www.bethany-fenwick.org. Start the summer off right, eating right, that is. Find out what treats local chefs and restaurants will be tempting you with all summer long.
Zwaanendael Archaeology Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 30, Zwaanendael Museum, 102 Kings Highway, (302) 645-1148, www.destatemuseums.org. Not only can you peruse exhibits of unearthed pieces but find out if that thing you found in the backyard is actually something. Exhibits of HMB DeBraak shipwreck artifacts are always ongoing.
SPORTS AND RECREATION
Abbot's Mill Nature Center, 15411 Abbot's Pond Road, Milford, (302) 422-0847, www.delawarenaturesociety.org. Children and adults alike can learn about nature, try out the walking trail, and tour the early 19th century grist mill.
Amethyst Charter Boat, Indian River Inlet, Millsboro, (800) 999-8119, www.atbeach.com-/amethyst. While locals hunt for often elusive waves to surf, set out from the inlet on a fishing expedition of a different kind. Depending on where you want the captain to take you, you could come home with tuna, bluefish, flounder, or other fishy finds.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, 2591 Whitehall Neck Road, Smyrna, (302) 653-6872, bombayhook.fws.gov. Established in 1937, Bombay Hook serves as a refuge and breeding ground for migrating birds and other wildlife. See them getting it on in their natural setting.
Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, 801 S. Madison St., Wilmington, (302) 425-3263, www.desports.org. This 5,000-square-foot museum in the Wilmington Blue Rocks' Frawley Stadium celebrates Delawareans who have made significant contributions to sports. The state they came from may be small, but their contributions are definitely not.
Bargain Bill's Flea Market, 10912 County Seat Highway, Laurel, (302) 875-9958, www.bargainbill.com. If another man's trash is your treasure, this is the place for you and guarantees thousands of bargains, which should be a treat for the cheap-ass in you.
Common Goodes and Embellishments, 204 Delaware St., New Castle, (302) 328-4416. Operated by a veteran re-enactor, this shop promises to deliver whatever you might need for an 18th century re-enactment or costume party.
Tanger Outlets, Highway 1, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, (302) 226-9243, www.shoprehoboth.com. Outlet shoppers know they're going to save some cash and when they shop in tax-free Delaware, it's guaranteed. With more than 130 brand name manufacturer and designer outlet stores to sample, the drive to the beach just a got a lot more bearable.
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