Worth Trying: Distinctly Delaware

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Take our word for it, whether you’re a resident or new to the area, you owe it to yourself to experience these staff suggestions

No Place Like Hagley

Located on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine, Hagley is the site of the gunpowder works founded by E.I. du Pont in 1802. This example of early American industry features indoor and outdoor exhibitions, including restored mills, a workers community, and the ancestral home and garden of the du Pont family. Unfortunately, many of the indoor exhibits are closed, but that may change as the COVID vaccine becomes more widely available. For up-to-date info, go to Hagley.org.
— Bob Yearick, Associate Editor


Signature Subs

If you’ve lived in Northern Delaware and have not experienced the trinity of sub shops–Casapulla’s, Capriotti’s, Yatz’s—then you should politely be asked to leave. A trip to one of these sandwich icons is a first request from my visiting out-of-town friends and relatives and for good reason: Nobody does it better. While all three have long-established Wilmington locations, Casapulla’s and Capriotti’s can be found elsewhere in the state. (Capriotti’s does have out-of-state locations, but the ones I’ve visited don’t match up to their founding shops in New Castle and Wilm.). My personal favorite: the store-cooked turkey sub at Casapulla’s.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher


A Slice of Delaware

It started as a small shop on Rehoboth Avenue in 1960 and now, 60 years later, it seems like there’s a Grotto Pizza on every street corner in Delaware. The franchise began when Dominic Pulieri and his sister and brother-in-law, Jean and Joseph Paglianite, realized there was a market for pizza in an era before nationwide chains such as Dominos, Little Caesars and Pizza Hut. When Grotto first started, Pulieri himself would flip the dough at their Rehoboth Avenue store. A slice of pizza cost 20 cents and an entire pie cost $1.60. Today, there are 16 Grotto Pizza stores in Delaware–including three in Rehoboth Beach–and three each in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and the only-pizza menu has expanded to include other Italian dishes as well as hamburgers, cheesesteaks, hot wings and more.
— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer


A Ferry Good Time

So much changed during 2020, but the 85-minute cruise on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry is a reminder of the beauty and the history that will never waiver in the First State. Along the way, riders can view multiple lighthouses, including the Delaware Breakwater Lighthouse—established in 1885—which is one of Delaware’s oldest. Hitch a ride in the summer, and keep your eyes peeled for migratory birds and shorebirds. Dolphins make their presence known year-round, and whales are usually spotted from November through April. And nothing is more serene or more enchanting than watching the sun go down as you sail along the Delaware Bay.
— Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, Contributing Writer


First State Highs & Lows

You can enjoy the view from Delaware’s highest elevation—without getting out of your car. It’s a 447.85-foot bump on Ebright Road, just south of the Pennsylvania line and just north of Concord High School. And if you have a surf fishing license, you can park and fish at Delaware’s lowest elevation–sea level—at specified sites at state parks in Sussex County.
— Ken Mammarella, Contributing Writer


Everything but the Oink

Delaware’s mystery meat, scrapple, is like a hot dog—better not to ask if you don’t already know what’s in it. Most Delawareans have the rectangular slice (deep-fried or grilled) for breakfast. Bridgeville hosts the Apple Scrapple Festival in the fall and really makes a celebration out of it with long lines at the booth for scrapple and grape jelly sandwiches on Wonder bread.
— Bev Zimmermann, Special Projects


Our Famous Fort

How many states can claim host to a Civil War and World War I fort that has been featured on Ghost Hunters? After Pea Patch Island was deeded to Delaware in 1813 and Fort Delaware completed in 1859, its purpose to protect changed to prison during the Civil War as it housed almost 33,000 Confederate prisoners. Today, the land and fort are a Delaware State Park, accessed by an entertaining half-mile ferry ride from historic Delaware City. Fort Delaware is open to the public offering info tours, costumed interpreters, cannon blasts and, yes, October ghost tours for history buffs. The surrounding Pea Patch Island Nature Preserve plays host to a 0.8-mile perimeter Prison Camp Trail and Heronry Overlook for bird and nature enthusiasts. Plan a picnic and stay the day to relive Delaware’s rich and pivotal history. Fort Delaware is open Wednesday through Sunday April 2021 through Labor Day, then weekends into late-October. Visit DEStateParks.com
— Mike O’Brian, Digital Services Director


Migration Magnet

Few places attract the variety of birds that can be found at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. This nationally recognized birding spot protects one of the largest remaining expanses of tidal salt marsh in the mid-Atlantic region. I find the spring to be the most appealing, but a variety of birds are constantly passing through regardless of the season. Located in Smyrna, the walking trails and coastal landscapes will not disappoint any time of year. Plan your visit at FWS.gov/Refuge/BombayHook.
— Matthew Loeb, Creative Director

So, what do you think? Please comment below.