Worth Trying 2021

Welcome to our 11th annual Worth Trying Issue. Though we traditionally present this issue in January, we felt it more appropriate to delay the theme until we were operating in a less pandemic-restricted environment. This issue is devoted to personal recommendations from staff and contributors to Out & About. These suggestions on where and what to eat, drink, see and do are scattered throughout these pages, interspersed with our usual assortment of feature stories, news items and other fun stuff.

The Comic Book Shop 

This is geek paradise, since comic book lovers still favor print over digital. It was established in 1989 and Sarah and Patrick Titus have owned and operated the shop at 1885 Marsh Road in North Wilmington since 2010. There are plenty of comic books, of course, highlighted by the heavyweights — Marvel, DC and anything related to Star Wars — but you can also buy action figures and statues here.

— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer


Marini Produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables are worth getting excited about. Every summer I anxiously await the opening day of Marini Produce on Veale Road and from May to September I make weekly trips to stock up on corn on the cob, juicy tomatoes, and perfectly ripe cantaloupe. In recent years, they’ve added delicious Di Bruno Brothers cheeses, homemade baked goods, and refrigerators stocked with fresh salsa, grab-and-go salads, and so much more. But I’ll be honest, the best part about visiting Marini Produce is to see Norman, the adorable pot-bellied pig who resides in the front of the farm stand.

— Lauren Golt, Contributing Writer 


Grab a Book and a Bite

The appropriately named Reader’s Café at the Rt. 9 Library is open for curbside service from noon until 5:30pm Monday through Friday. The menu includes fresh-made lunch and dinner items including salads, soups, sandwiches, and seasonal specials. Place your order from 10am till 5pm by calling 395-8407. Or visit the café – and the library — at 3022 New Castle Ave., New Castle. See the menu at NCCDE.org/1749/The-Readers-Café.

— Bob Yearick, Contributing Editor


More Than Mushrooms

The quaint Southern Chester County borough of Kennett Square (Pa.) may be known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” but its proximity to Hockessin, Newark and Wilmington makes it an ideal destination to experience a different vibe. State Street is idyllic and a great place to stroll, shop, dine or catch live music courtesy of Kennett Flash and Kennett Brewing Company. The Creamery and Victory Brewing Company have expanded the footprint of gathering places beyond State Street (Kennett’s Main St). And the non-profit Historic Kennett Square has done a fantastic job of planning community events year-round — from art strolls to dining in the streets. Visit HistoricKennettSquare.com.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher


Jester Artspace

Brush up on your painting or learn how to make great videos on your cellphone this summer while getting to know more about north Wilmington’s newest art collaborative, the Jester Artspace, which is a couple of months away from moving into its new digs, the old Jester Farmhouse on Grubb Road.

While work on the interior continues, the Artspace team is hosting a pair of free events in Brandywine Hundred. Alan Baseden, head of the Artspace board, will lead the video workshop from 9 a.m. to noon on July 17. An outdoor sketch event, with a costumed model holding a pose for 20 minutes at a time, is planned for July 24 from 10 a.m. to noon. Location for both events had not been determined as of press time.

Anyone wanting to give gouache painting a try can sign up for two workshops ($40 each) on Aug. 21 and 28 from 9 a.m. to noon, led by artist Charley Parker. To learn more about the new venue, go to JesterArtSpace.org.

— Larry Nagengast, Contributing Writer


Delaware’s New Murals

Murals make up a new way to explore the state. It’s the fifth themed concept from the Delaware Tourism Office, following trails highlighting food, drink, history and the great outdoors. The $100,000 selfie-ready project goes from Hagley Museum, north of Wilmington, down to the Delaware Botanic Gardens, near Dagsboro. Most sites are free to visit, and the state’s tourism folks really want you to partake of the attractions that host the art as well. DelawareDiscoveries.com.

— Ken Mammarella, Contributing Writer


First State Presidential Spice Blend 

Perfect for summer grilling, Wilmington’s own Second Chance Farms has introduced a limited-edition duo of First State Presidential Spice Blends. This tasty artisan duo honors Delaware’s own President Joe Biden with “No Malarkey,” a salt-free savory seasoning, while Vice President Kamala Harris’ blend boasts a tangy mix of Indian and Jamaican flavors. Both blends are hand-mixed and packed in numbered collectable tins by returning citizens (formerly incarcerated persons). Only 2,021 sets have been produced. Get them while they last. SecondChanceFarm.com.

Jill Althouse-Wood, Contributing Writer


Valley Garden Park

If you’re a parent looking for something fun and inexpensive to do with your children, try a picnic in Valley Garden Park in Greenville. I’ll grab a big blanket and fill a canvas bag with snacks, drinks, and utensils, then pick up a couple of sandwiches at Janssen’s Market on the way. Their wraps are perfect to cut up in pieces so everyone can enjoy a bite of something different. We’ll pick a spot on the grass, usually near the stream which is full of small toads perfect for entertaining my sons, and enjoy our lunch. After we eat, we walk to the edge of the park, near Campbell Road, where there’s a view of Hoopes Reservoir. Valley Garden Park has plenty of shaded areas, a stroller-friendly path and plenty of open space for playing catch or kicking a ball around.

   — Lauren Golt, Contributing Writer 


Around Again And Again Used Books

There used to be several used bookstores in New Castle County, but, one by one, they fell victim to a new, technological world. Connie Maglio wouldn’t let that happen to the store at which she worked across from Graylyn Crest Shopping Center, so she took all of her books and opened her own shop at 1400 Philadelphia Pike in North Wilmington. Customers can bring their books and Connie will give them a store credit. That keeps the prices low and Connie has many loyal customers because of that. Her mission statement: “Keep Books Alive.”

— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer


Newark Union Cemetery

Despite its name, this burial ground is nowhere near Delaware’s largest college town. It’s just off Baynard Boulevard in the heart of Brandywine Hundred and many of its headstones read like a roadmap to the history of 18th and 19th century farmland transformed into Wilmington’s most popular post-World War II piece of suburbia. Weldin, Talley, Carr, Wilson, Sharpley, Forwood, Day, Beeson and Miller — names now attached to the area’s most prominent streets, subdivisions and parks — are engraved on the stones atop many of the cemetery’s 900-plus graves.

Its history dates back to 1682, when Valentine Hollingsworth donated a half-acre of the nearly 1,000 acres he had received in a land grant from his friend, a guy named William Penn. While some 17th-century graves remain unidentified, in the Quaker tradition, others show a range of design, from plain headstones to decorative baroque shapes. Restoration of the cemetery’s stone wall plus small flags mounted on medallions on the graves of 64 military veterans of wars from the Revolution to Vietnam add to the site’s appeal. In the center of the cemetery is a plot laid out for a special veterans’ memorial due to be installed later this year. In all, it’s a pleasant place for a relaxing walk back in time.

— Larry Nagengast, Contributing Writer


Main Street Alfresco

Enjoy outdoor dining on Newark’s main thoroughfare that is closed to auto traffic on Wednesdays from 4-9pm through Sept. 29 (exception: first week of August moved to Tue, Aug. 3 to coincide with National Night Out). Restaurants such as Caffé Gelato, Home Grown Cafe, Taverna Rustic Italian, Iron Hill Brewery, Grotto Pizza and other dining venues combine to offer an eclectic menu of options, all within walking distance. Visit NewarkDE.gov/calendar for the schedule and complete list of participants.

— Michael O’Brian, Digital Services Director


RAINBOW’S EDGE

Pet adoptions are at an all-time high, but senior animals are often the last to leave the shelter. Reasons are many: fancy breed adoptions can cost an arm and a leg; humans can’t bear the thought of only a few years with a pet; veterinary cost worries. But many people will tell you that caring for a senior pet in its golden years brings a joy that is unmatched. Plus, a frosty-fur-baby’s behaviors are likely well established: they’re usually big nappers and cuddlers. Bust a fuzzball out of the brig! Visit Delaware Humane or window shop on PetFinder.com.

— JulieAnne Cross, Contributing Writer 


Hippo Thrift 

For those of you touched by the “thrift sickness,” the nice weather and lifting of pandemic restrictions (yes, you can try on that three-dollar velour track suit now instead of rolling the dice on it fitting) means it’s time to get serious about hitting the yard and estate sales, consignment shops, and second-hand stores again.

Though each has their own circuit of shops they prefer, one diamond in the rough that deserves a slot on any north Delaware thrifter’s dance card is Hippo Thrift, located across from James Street Tavern (alcohol goes well with thrift shopping) at 1 W. Market Street in Newport. Owners Allan and Cathy Rash give the store the feel of having been curated, as if they beat you to all the best yard sales and shops and obtained the coolest knick knacks, art, furniture, records, and clothes. To boot, the prices are reasonable, and they truly live up to the phrase on their sign: a big mix of cool finds. 

— Matt Morrissette, Contributing Writer


New Hiking Option

The Conservation Fund recently donated 254 acres in Delaware County to First State National Historical Park on the Delaware-Pennsylvania border — adding many new miles of trails. The added “Beaver Valley Property,” located near the Brandywine River, includes meadows and wetlands vistas made famous by painter Andrew Wyeth. Late Summer is the perfect time to catch site of migrating butterflies like monarchs and the Tiger Swallowtail, the non-migrating state butterfly of Delaware.

— Jill Althouse-Wood, Contributing Writer   


OPEN EARS

Quarantine made people thirsty for experiences. 2020’s limitations have given way to 2021’s excitement for being out and surrounded by people, and the last year may have changed your brain and your ears. Check out a band or a DJ you didn’t think you’d be into before the pandemic. You may have more affinity for acoustic music now that you’ve practiced sitting for months. All that sitting may mean you just want to dance, and never sit down again, so pop in for a DJ’s set. Your tolerance for loud may be higher after all those Zoom calls, so grab a front row seat at a rock show. Check out Oddity Bar bands or DJs at The Queen.

— JulieAnne Cross, Contributing Writer


The Market at Swigg

It’s always a great experience stopping at Swigg for my favorite wine, beer and spirits. But once I discovered their little “honey badger” of a meat and cheese display in the corner of the store, my visits became more frequent. Stocked with local cheese, artisan meats, tinned fish, local honey, and primo crackers, Swigg’s Market corner has everything you need to complement your liquid haul. They also make custom gift baskets.

— Matthew Loeb, Creative Director 

Look for more Worth Trying suggestions throughout this issue!

So, what do you think? Please comment below.