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The Coastal Charm of Lewes: Exploring Local History and Attractions

dock with many boats

The Coastal Charm of Lewes: Exploring Local History and Attractions

Tucked inside the seaside stretch of Delaware Bay is Lewes, a quaint town that brims with ample history and color. Once home to Dutch settlers who have established a legendary whaling and trading post—now known as Zwaanendael or Swan Valley—Lewes survived several civil battles, naming itself “The First Town in the First State,” owing to Delaware’s first ratification of the constitution. Bearing a mild subtropical climate thanks to the winds from the Atlantic, summers are cheerful, and winters are gentler compared to the rest of the states, making your stay quite enjoyable with the town’s easy temperament.

If you are dropping by or are thinking to stay longer, take this time to explore the local history at Lewes, NJ, and don’t be surprised if you fall in love with this town more and more.

Make Your First Stop at the Zwaanendael Museum

This eye-catching brick-red building holds the history of the town’s first European Settlement, which is why the entire museum is modeled after a city hall in Hoorn, Netherlands, bearing vintage Dutch elements, including the terracotta roof tiles, decorated shutters, and excellent stonework. Most of the exhibits are maritime-related, including lighthouses and famous shipwrecks.

Hungry? Head on to the Fisherman’s Wharf

A dock that stretches along a canal that goes through Lewes and the nearby Rehoboth, this remarkable boardwalk is home to several restaurants and bait shops. If you come just in time for fishing season, you’ll see a parade of boats docking along the wharf from all over the nearby states.

Brave the Town’s Battle Scars At The Cannonball House

During the War of 1812, the Royal Navy bombarded the town, leaving a permanent scar in one of the buildings that are now known as the Cannonball House. Lewes’ local maritime museum is home to rich nautical history, as well as a large cannonball stuck to one of its walls.

Love Lighthouses? Lewes Has Plenty

A shining beacon to many wandering ships, Lewes is home to many iconic lighthouses, including the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse that stands close to Cape Henlopen and the Delaware Breakwater East End Light, whose recognizable red tower is outfitted with Fresnel Lens made to warn those approaching the Hen and Chickens Shoal. Lewes is also home to the United States Lightship Overfalls, a light vessel that is now preserved as a museum and a favorite area attraction at Lewes, NJ.

Inspire Your Artistic Heart in Downtown Lewes

Perched along the downtown area are several art studios that boast marvelous maritime art. Visit Cape Artists Gallery, Thistles Fine Art, the Market Street Studio, or the Peninsula Gallery of Fine Original Art.

Spend Time in Nature at Cape Henlopen State Park

This sprawling botanical area has several campgrounds, nature trails, tennis courts, and large fields for you to just sit and soak in the beauty of nature. There are more area attractions you can find, including the Great Dune, a WW2 observation tower that overlooks the beach, as well as a stunning nature center.

Looking To Stay Active? Cruise, Ride Horses, or Play Golf

Stir that equestrian spirit within you when you visit the Winswept Stables. Here, you can ride horses or get starter lessons from the pros. Lewes’ Heritage Golf Club is a sprawling, beautifully developed golf course that prides itself on several sand traps and a gorgeous fountain. Interested in going fishing? The Anglers Fishing Center offers cruises around the channel, allowing you to see popular lighthouses from the waterways as they present the history of Lewis.

Shop Around at Second Street

Located in Downtown Lewes, Second Street Shopping is made up of many specialty stores that focus on rare finds, including books, antiques, art, crafts, furniture, and jewelry. If you’re looking for signature goods, head on Route 1 just a bit outside Lewis. Here, Tanger Outlet hosts several outlet stores, from luxury brands to sportswear.

There Are More Places to Eat at Lewes

Other than the famous Fisherman’s Wharf, Lewes is also home to many fabulous restaurants, many of them boasting seaside views. Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant offers seafood cuisine and al fresco dining, situated right beside the Inn at Canal Square. For an international menu and a strictly formal bar, the Buttery at Downtown Lewes is a great place to enjoy Sunday brunches and a glass of exceptional wine. Similarly, Second St. Grill is a fine dining restaurant with an Americana menu. Italian cuisine is at the heart of La Rosa Negra, with award-winning desserts and an extensive wine list.

Make Special Memories at Lewes

Rich in maritime history and many remarkable experiences, your stay in Lewes, NJ, is made more memorable by visiting your favorite attractions. The best part? You can return to these places again and again.

Make Lewes your home! The Moorings at Lewes offers you a maintenance-free lifestyle, allowing you to live on your terms and participate in programs you love the most. Our wide range of amenities lets you explore your inspired side, from our art studio, delightful butterfly gardens, fitness center, nature trails, and a dog park. Wake up to the breathtaking views of Delaware Bay and enjoy walking around the serene city of Lewes whenever you want! Talk to us and schedule a tour today.

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