I grew up going to Delaware beaches but had never explored the countryside. And while the First State might be one of the smallest, I knew there was so much that I had yet to see. So, Wes and I hopped in the car for a weekend trip to Delaware’s Quaint Villages. During our drive, I remember hoping that where we were going was just as beautiful as the road getting there and it was.
THE HOTEL: DOVER DOWNS HOTEL & CASINO
As you drive into town, you first pass through another quaint town called Milford. Milford’s picturesque Victorian heritage is very much still intact, making it the perfect stop for sightseeing, vintage shopping and grabbing a bite to eat at Abbott’s Grill on your way to Dover. And be sure to check out Art on the Riverwalk in Milford, a collaboration with Milford High School where students were each mentored by a local artist for the creation of a sculpture in celebration of the history of boat building in Milford, DE.
About 30 miles later, we arrived at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, our hotel accommodations for the weekend. But Dover Downs is way more than just a place to stay. It’s a casino and also the home of NASCAR and horse racing. We stayed in a gorgeous corner suite facing the tracks and, yes, I plan on coming back for a race. Any chance to wear a big hat, right? I also indulged in the infamous Sunday Brunch at Michele’s, homemade-style Italian pasta at Frankie’s, as well as took full advantage of the indoor swimming pool (while Wes hit the gym, of course).
We were only there for a short time but were prepared to squeeze in as much as we could into one day. Our first stop for breakfast was at Spence’s Bazaar Amish Market. Talk about options! The market had everything from meats and cheeses, to eggs and bacon, donuts, cakes and candy.
I had to make time for some vintage shopping so after breakfast we stopped by Simply Charming at the Mill (in Wyoming), which is actually a blend of vintage as well as new. I was dying to take home that pink, velvet arm chair with me, but for now a pair of pineapple salt and pepper shakers would have to do. Other noteworthy shopping destinations in Delaware’s Quaint Villages include The Delaware Store, Bel Boutique, Suds Bar Soap, and Forney’s Too.
Because Delaware’s Quaint Villages is greatly made up of farm land, you can only imagine how fresh the produce is here. The Fifer family orchard (now a 4th generation family farm) began in the early 1900’s and today grows a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables such as peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, apples, blueberries, asparagus, plums, pumpkins and more. The Fifer Orchard Country Store, located on the farm in Wyoming, offers a farmers market shopping experience specially curated by the family to feature fresh produce, as well as unique specialty foods like jams and jellies, as well as hand-dipped ice cream and locally roasted coffee.
Delaware’s soil and climate is actually known to be similar to that in Bordeaux, France. That’s why Harvest Ridge Winery is able to produce such high quality wine with their own local grapes here on the East Coast. Similar to the winery’s logo, it’s a family winery and its roots run deep. Also due to the climate in Delaware, their wines are known to be very fragrant. I especially loved their crisp Pinot Gris and 2013 Reserve Malbec.
Harvest Ridge is the perfect place to stop and enjoy the scenery for a while. We brought our cheeses from the Amish Market, fresh fruit from Fifer Orchards Country Store, and sandwiches and other foods from Byler’s (a local Amish grocery store) for a lunch picnic at the winery. It was the perfect “light lunch” before we headed back into town for dinner at McGlynns Pub.
Downtown Dover was oh-so charming! Here you can visit the Biggs Museum of American Art (which is SO cool) and First State Heritage Park, featuring the John Bell House, Johnson Victrola Museum, and Old State House. Other art attractions include Park Green Galleries, featuring local art and first state flag painting. Or, just take stroll down State Street and gawk at the gorgeous homes like we did. 🙂
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A special thanks to Delaware’s Quaint Villages for hosting us for the weekend & please feel free to email us for help with planning your next visit!