Thanks to our guest author Karen Schwarz of Essaymom.net for sending us this story about her family’s trip to Lewes, Delaware.
Rain at the Beach: Lewes, Delaware
There’s no getting around it: rain at the beach puts parents on the spot. They have to manufacture fun and pass the soggy hours as if precipitation were the ideal weather for a seashore visit.
A recent rainy weekend in the seaside town of Lewes, Delaware, put us to the test. Lewes is a tiny town (pop 3,000), and is the northernmost beach community on the Delaware shore. Its neighbor, Rehoboth, has the traditional beach boardwalk with wash-off tattoo shops, french fry stands, and block after block of bikini dealers. Lewes, on the other hand, cleaves to its history, dating back to 1631.
There are lovely beaches to explore in Lewes, but if you’re there on a rainy day, they will hold little to no attraction for you or your kids. But if you know how to spin a yarn you can lead your kids across the centuries, and have a great time.
Pirates! Death! Destruction!
Head out Savannah road which dead ends at the beach. (And, oh yeah, there’s a Dairy Queen there). Picture 32 Dutch settlers coming ashore here in 1631 to hunt whales, only to be massacred by a local tribe a year later.
Next, tell your kids to imagine bloodthirsty pirates like Captain Kidd and Blueskin sailing past Lewes, terrifying the townspeople who had heard stories of their violent ways.
Turn back towards the pretty town and imagine it engulfed in flames. British soldiers burned it to the ground in 1664, just a year after the Dutch had come back and built a settlement.
Flowers! Safety! Security!
Now take a quick walk to Zwaanendael Park, where kids can roam free among gorgeous flowerbeds and visit the 18th Century cabin known as the Fisher-Martin House. On your way there, ask them to picture a single candle burning in the top floor windows of these old houses. That was the sign for runaway slaves that they would be safe and cared for there.
Get in the car for the six-minute drive to Herring Point in Henlopen State Park. Kids can explore Battery Herring, built in World War II to protect the coast from German subs that never arrived.
Quirky and Fun!
More cool stuff in Lewes: There’s a pirate’s treasure chest in the Maritime Museum, a creepy merman in the Zwaanendael Museum, and half a dozen enormous cannons (suitable for climbing) in Memorial Park that were used to defend the town from the British ships that pummeled the town with 800 projectiles for 22 hours during the War of 1812.
Ice Cream! Coffee! Puzzles!
Need a break? There’s King’s homemade ice cream, Nectar’s for lattes and smoothies and a really great puzzle shop on Front Street for some hard-earned quiet time out of the rain.