Where the Ocean Meets the Bay
For more than 375 years, the sea has shaped the history of Lewes, Delaware. Here, the Atlantic Ocean meets the Delaware Bay as Henry Hudson discovered on an August evening in 1609.
The Dutch established the first settlement when they landed in 1631. Legend has it that pirates, including Captain Kidd, visited Lewes for raucous fun (for them) and mayhem.
British vessels blockaded the mouth of the Delaware during the War of 1812, and the town suffered heavy cannon fire. Eventually, the British stopped firing but the blockade lasted for months.
The First Town in the First State
Lewes has been home to shipbuilders, fisheries and floating light-houses. Now, sun lovers fill the beaches, campers fill Cape Henlopen State Park and wandering travelers fill the shops and markets.
Lewes has been selected as one of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations by The National Trust for Historic Preservation. And for good reason. The town is reminiscent of Charleston, South Carolina — living history on every street. Many restored homes date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. One 17th-century home is said to be Delaware’s oldest building.
Here are some examples of the lovely homes:
The homes and their grounds are kept in immaculate condition. Lewes has become a destination for retirees and the time spent caring for their properties shows their commitment to showcasing the historically preserved homes.
Many of the historic homes are open to the public on the first Saturday in December for the Annual Christmas House Tour.
While Lewes is preserving its historic houses, it is also expanding its collection. There is a designated area in town in which only homes older than 100 years old can be placed on the lots. Homes are moved there lock, stock and barrel.
Today, this charming town offers residents and visitors an array of things to see and do. A wonderful farmer’s market, shopping, antiquing, strolling, fishing, bird watching at Cape Henlopen, camping, swimming at the beach, hiking, biking, kayaking, the list goes on.
But for purposes of this post, some of the prettiest things to see are the plantings.
There is a group of gardeners — Lewes in Bloom — who coordinate the public garden displays beginning with a recreation of a colonial kitchen garden — the Historic Fisher-Martin Herb Garden. The woven fencing is a lovely touch. (Do I see re-bar in there?)
Hardscape and landscape is beautifully combined splashing hot-colored Profusion zinnias against a stone wall on the walk to the Farmers’ Market. The neat and tidy habits of the Lewes in Bloom plantings are a wonderful model for residents.
All across town the gardens are lush, abundant and often riotous. Below is the walkway leading to The Buttery which serves a fabulous Sunday brunch.
The members of Lewes in Bloom are responsible for planting many of the public containers in town. Their loving care of those planters rubs off on the merchants who fill the streets and by-ways with interesting combinations and permanent landscapes.
You would think that the salmon and yellow of the New Guinea impatiens would clash with the raspberry Caladium, but they don’t. The colors work beautifully together.
If anyone can tell identify the delicate blue flower in this planter, please let me know.
All in all, it is a beautiful town for a destination wedding which is why I was there.