Good Libations

Mispillion River Brewing, Harvest Ridge Winery, Painted Stave Distilling, Pizzadili and Fordham and Dominion Brewing deliver local flavor worth a sip in Kent County.



Published:

The Mispillion River Brewing Company filled its first pints at the Milford brewery in November, just about the same time that Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel uncorked its first bottles and Painted Stave Distillery in Smyrna mixed its first cocktails. This recent outpouring of craft alcohol makers in Kent County, which join Pizzadili Winery in Felton as well as Fordham and Dominion Brewing in Dover, should put central Delaware on the radar of people willing to travel for handcrafted wines, brews and spirits, says Cindy Small, executive director of the Kent County and Greater Dover Convention and Visitors Bureau. To help get the word out, the visitors bureau recently kicked off the self-guided Good Libations Tour website (GoodLibationsTour.com) and passport program, which makes visitors to all five of the alcohol-makers’ sites eligible for prizes. 


Left: Eric and Megan Williams own Mispillion River Brewing in Milford. 
Right: Mispillion River Brewing operates a 15-barrel system, making nine different beers every two weeks.

Mispillion: New Brews, New Life

When Eric Williams decided at age 40 to leave the corporate life and open a brewery, he charged full steam ahead, writing a business plan with his wife and business partner, Megan; attending Hop Union’s Hop and Brew School in Yakima, Wash.; seeking out investors; hiring an experienced, award-winning brewer; and networking with owners of other craft breweries, including Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione, the first craft brewer in Delaware. 

Mispillion River Brewing, which Williams calls “Milford’s brewery,” truly is homegrown and community-supported. A Facebook shout-out last May brought volunteers, both friends and strangers, to help shovel dirt, haul concrete and install the brewery’s floor drains. The local newspaper chronicled the company’s progress throughout its year-long set-up phase. And when the brewery opened its doors in November, 400 people showed up—so many that the brewery couldn’t keep up with demand.

Back then, Mispillion was still operating with a one-barrel pilot brewing system, but in less than two months it had grown to a 15-barrel system, making nine different beers every two weeks. IPAs, French-style Saison, Berliner Weiss, lagers, pilsners, brown ales—they’re all on tap. “We don’t want to get stuck in one area because we like them all,” Williams says. “We view brewing as an art, the same way as sculpting or painting or writing a song, and we have the same desire to maintain the quality and integrity of the product.”

Beer aficionados will love the vibe of the large tasting room/bar that fronts the brewery, which is located in a business park warehouse.


 Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel plans to release 21 varieties of wine by the end of the year.

Harvest Ridge: From the Basement to the Big Time

Harvest Ridge Winery was the brainchild of Chuck Nunan, a longtime basement winemaker who decided that his farm in Marydel would be the perfect locale for a destination winery. Although made by experienced vintner Milan Mladjan, the style of the wines is very similar to those that Nunan has been making for years. Harvest Ridge currently has 12 acres of Chardonnay, Merlot, Viognier, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and other grape varieties with 3½ acres to be planted this spring and many more acres available for the future.

Harvest Ridge got its start with wines made from grapes bought from other farmers and custom-crushed to the winery’s specifications, but by this spring the winery expects to be releasing bottles made from its own grapes, says Nunan’s son, general manager Chip Nunan. The winery plans to release 21 varieties by the end of the year.


Left: Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna currently makes gin and vodka, but plans to expand its line
Right: The distillers at Painted Stave plan to use as many local ingredients as they can.

Painted Stave: A Spirited Duo

Painted Stave Distilling in the heart of downtown Smyrna is part of a growing nationwide movement toward craft distilleries that has seen the number of U.S. distilleries grow from a few dozen to as many as 600 over the past decade. Painted Stave owners Ron Gomes, a former scientist, and Mike Rasmussen, an educational policy wonk, introduced their line of spirits beginning with Silver Screen Vodka and Candy Manor Gin, a gin decidedly different from the London dry style most people are accustomed to. 

It’s the goal of Gomes and Rasmussen to begin distilling all manner of liquors, from bourbon to brandy to aged whiskey. They plan to use as many local ingredients as they can, including herbs from a small farm in Townsend, coffee from Clayton roaster The Young Bean for espresso vodka, and pressed red grapes from Harvest Ridge for grappa.

“There are so many unique ways to build flavors and partnerships that we haven’t even thought of yet,” Rasmussen says. But they’re working on it in the lab behind their large brass-and-copper production still and a smaller still for test batches that they’ve nicknamed “Frankenstill.”

For now, Painted Stave products are available only at the distillery, located in an old movie theater in downtown Smyrna, but Rasmussen and Gomes hope they will soon be available at liquor stores throughout Delaware.


Pizzadili Vineyard and Winery lends a touch of Tuscany to Felton.

Rounding Out the Tour

A tour of Kent County wineries and breweries would not be complete, of course, without stops at Pizzadili, which has been in operation since 2004, and Fordham and Dominion Brewing, which relocated its two lines of brews to Delaware in 2009. 

Long before he and his late brother, Tony, started the winery, Pete Pizzadili was famous in Kent County for the family catering business. A winery and event space in the fertile farmlands of central Delaware was a natural complement to the catering business, he says.

The Pizzadili brothers had worked in the family vineyard and winery back in Tuscany before the family emigrated to the U.S., so they knew all the ins and outs of producing quality wines, Pizzadili says. The Felton vineyards even remind him of the Tuscan countryside.

Compared to the smaller craft producers in Kent, Fordham and Dominion is almost a big guy. Brewing 24,000 barrels in 2013, it’s ranked among the top 100 craft breweries in the U.S. The Fordham line, which started at the Ram’s Head in Annapolis in the mid-1990s, is an “easier drinking beer” that appeals to people crossing over into craft beers, says company spokeswoman Lauren Bigelow. Dominion brews, on the other hand, “are a more assertive type of beer” favored by those accustomed to the different tastes and stronger alcohol content of craft beers. Both lines can be sampled at the brewery.


Good Libations

“We’re hoping that those who go on the Good Libations tour will tell their friends and neighbors and come back again, and little by little we’ll put ourselves on the map,” Small says. “The website and passport are just the beginning. We see events related to the Good Vibrations tour building over time, perhaps with monthly events to keep it top of mind.” 

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May 2018

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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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More information

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Telephone: 800.448.3883
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Cost: free

Where:
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

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Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
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5105 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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820 N. French St.
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View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
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View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

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Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
2nd Floor, Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10

Where:
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5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

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Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
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View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

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Crooked Hammock Brewery is celebrating the unofficial start of summer all Memorial Day weekend! The festivities kick off on Thursday, May 24th with the release of their two summer seasonal beers,...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon
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Join us on The Patio, voted Best Outdoor Dining by Delaware Today readers! Happy hour 4PM - 6:30PM, live entertainment 6PM - 9PM, local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails, creative gastropub menu,...

Cost: menu items vary

Where:
Hilton Christiana
100 Continental Dr.
Newark, DE  19713
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Relax and unwind after a long day with the Museum’s popular Happy Hour series. Enjoy live music on the terrace with friends or tour the galleries indoors. Special themed nights will be scheduled...

Cost: Museum galleries are open with free admission every Thursday from 4–8 pm

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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  Join Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant as they open their doors to the public on May 24, 2018!  

Cost: Free

Where:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
19815 Coastal Hwy
Rehoboth Beach, DE  19971
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Sponsor: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Alexi Natchev: Prints and Drawings will be on view in the Mezzanine Gallery from May 4-25, 2018. A free opening reception to meet the artist will be held on Friday, May 4 from 5-7 p.m. Alexi...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
2nd Floor, Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Mary Pritchard is an award winning pastel artist from Chestertown, Maryland. Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, Mary returned to painting full-time....

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
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A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-656-6466
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Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Crooked Hammock Brewery is celebrating the unofficial start of summer all Memorial Day weekend! The festivities kick off on Thursday, May 24th with the release of their two summer seasonal beers,...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon
Website »

More information

  Join Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant as they open their doors to the public on May 24, 2018!  

Cost: Free

Where:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
19815 Coastal Hwy
Rehoboth Beach, DE  19971
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Sponsor: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Sixth annual St. Catherine of Siena Community Garage Sale held in Church parking lot. One-stop shopping! Approximately 25 homes gather in one location to make your garage sale shopping...

Cost: $25/Consignors ONLY

Where:
St. Catherine of Siena Parish Parking Lot
2503 Centerville Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: St. Catherine of Siena
Telephone: 302-239-1699
Contact Name: Mary Gispert
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The 11th annual Artisans Fair, featuring unique handcrafted art objects, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Lord Baltimore Elementary School on Route 26 in Ocean View, DE. ...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lord Baltimore Elementary School
Route 26
Ocean View, DE  19970
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Sponsor: South Coastal DE AARP Chapter
Telephone: 302-732-6336
Contact Name: Ida Crist
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A needle's eye in a pond, a Greek temple in the garden, an Ottoman tent sitting on a hill—these are just a few of the inspirations for our upcoming, first-ever outdoor exhibition Follies:...

Cost: Included with general admission ($5-20)

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
Website »

More information

GUARDIANS OF THE IMAGE MAKER Group Exhibition & Programs Commemorating The 1968 Riots April 6 - June 29, 2018 Opening reception: Friday, April 6, 2018                      5 - 9 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

THE FIGURE: THE INDICATIVE AND THE ALLUSIVE Group Exhibition  April 1 - August 26, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 2018 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop with Panel Discussion: 6 - 7 PM...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 302-656-6466
Website »

More information

Crooked Hammock Brewery is celebrating the unofficial start of summer all Memorial Day weekend! The festivities kick off on Thursday, May 24th with the release of their two summer seasonal beers,...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon
Website »

More information

Science Saturday – River Rangers River Rangers learn how to gauge the health of our local waterways by observing the variety of critters living in it. Visitors of all ages are invited to...

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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