Blooms at the Beach | Lewes, Delaware

Where the Ocean Meets the Bay

Plaque commemorating the bombardment of Lewes by the British and the town's stalwart survival.

Plaque commemorating the bombardment of Lewes by the British and the town’s stalwart survival.

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:

A home near the Farmer's Market

A home near the Farmer’s Market

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.

A house on Savannah Road.

A house on Savannah Road.

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.

Historic home that has been relocated

Historic home that has been relocated

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?)

Historic Fisher-Martin Herb Garden

Historic Fisher-Martin Herb Garden

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.

Walkway past a private home

Walkway past a private home

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.

Walkway next to a restuarant

Walkway next to a restuarant

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.

Container in the shopping district

Container in the shopping district

If anyone can tell identify the delicate blue flower in this planter, please let me know.

Container in the shopping district

Container in the shopping district

All in all, it is a beautiful town for a destination wedding which is why I was there.

Kathryn

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2 thoughts on “Blooms at the Beach | Lewes, Delaware

  1. Thank you for the lovely article about our town and flowers. I think you captured the true essence of Lewes. I am the founder, chief horticulturist, and current co-chair of Lewes-In Bloom. If you visit our town and are an early riser you may see me watering planters starting at 4:30 AM. Lewes-in-Bloom hopes to see many of your readers in the future. Come and be charmed!

    The blue flower in the planter is an Angelonia

    • Warren,

      It was my first visit to Lewes and I was charmed. My husband and I kept saying, “We could live here!” My only regret is that I did not have a crystal blue sky for the back drop of the photos. Other than that — perfect.

      We will be back.

      Kathryn

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