Lewes, Delaware

Lewes, Delaware

Autumn is finally here. The temperature has dropped, and the wind has picked up. Red and yellow leaves cover the sidewalks. People are spending their weekends picking pumpkins, strolling through apple orchards, and going on hayrides. But you want nothing to do with those fall activities. You’re just wishing for an Indian summer. And maybe a few more days at the beach.

Places like Bar Harbor and Martha’s Vineyard–no matter how gorgeous they are–may be a bit too risky for the middle of October. Go a little farther south, to the Mid-Atlantic states, and your chances drastically increase. In Delaware, the beaches will be empty by now. But on the other hand, in Delaware the beaches will be empty by now!

Where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find Lewes. The quaint, historic town is Delaware’s northernmost and oldest beach resort. The Dutch first settled the area as a whaling station. Today, the main street of “the first town in the first state” is filled with restaurants, antique stores, ice cream shops, and historic buildings. A ferry arrives from Cape May, New Jersey. And the outlet stores of Rehoboth are nearby, in case it happens to rain.

Photo: Hotel Rodney
Photo: Hotel Rodney

Check in at Hotel Rodney. The old building was recently renovated. Its welcoming lobby has a fireplace, elephant chairs, and surprising zebra-print accents. Cozy rooms upstairs have hardwood floors and handmade throws. Grab brunch and bottomless mimosas downstairs at the Rose & Crown, an upscale British pub. Rent bikes and head south to Cape Henlopen. Climb the military bunker and the World War II observation tower for 360-degree views. You’ll probably see surfers at Herring Point.

When if finally warms up after a chilly morning, select your favorite flavor at King’s Homemade Ice Cream, cross the Savannah Road Bridge, and walk down to Lewes Beach. It may not be a perfect beach day–unless you’re a surfer–but it’s still nice walking along the water, sitting back near the dunes, and gazing out at the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse. The warm sun feels good on your face–and it’s quickly melting the end of your ice cream cone.

Eventually, you’ll walk back to the center of town for a Lewes lemonade and a crab bomb at Jerry’s Seafood. Maybe you’ll spend the evening watching a Coastal Concerts string quartet. But for now, you’ll just sit in the sand until you run out of extra layers. Because after this, you can no longer deny that fall has arrived.

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