Why You Should Venture West of Route 1
Nearby inland towns have as much to offer as the beaches.
Lavender Fields in Milton features a large inventory of lavender plants, among other products.//Photo by Deny Howeth
Twenty years ago, visitors to coastal Sussex County rarely ventured west of Del. 1. That’s changing as they learn what longtime locals already know: There’s much to do and see past that side of the highway. Now that traffic is less congested, take a short road trip. Here are a few great things to do.
Settled by Europeans in 1672, Milton has been a hub for several industries, including shipbuilding, canning and button-making. At one point, it was a hub for holly wreaths. Today, it’s known for architecture, which is a subject of walking tours. Victorians and Colonials line the streets.
Milton is conveniently close to Lewes, yet far enough from the outlets and boardwalk to make you feel as though you’ve escaped into the country. Roads that meander through cornfields and farmland only enhance that sensation.
TO DO & SEE:
Stroll the Governor’s Walk along the Broadkill River. The path is dotted with markers honoring governors who were born or lived in Milton. Most served in Delaware. The exception is Joseph Carey, who became governor of Wyoming.
Visit the Milton Historical Society’s museum, which is housed in a former Methodist church. The society also offers walking tours. • 210 Union St., Milton, 684-1010
No visit to Milton is complete without visiting Dogfish Head
See a show at the Milton Theatre. Built in 1905, the theater is a popular venue for touring acts—including tribute bands—and local performers. The theater once showed silent movies, and films are still part of the entertainment lineup. • 110 Union St., Milton, 684-3038
Hike or run through the Edward H. McCabe Preserve. The 143-acre property is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy and includes upland forests, swamp forests, a tidal marsh and scrub-shrub wetlands. You can also experience the preserve from the water. • 8588 Road 257, Milton, 644-4707
Smell the lavender. Lavender Fields at Warrington Manor is worth the visit even when the star attraction isn’t blooming. The 5-acre farm has a large inventory of lavender plants, as well as bath, body and culinary products. The labyrinth is a replica of one found in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral near Paris. • 18864 Cool Spring Road, Milton, 684-1514
Sip the mead. Located in a warehouse structure with Nordic art, Brimming Horn sells various types of mead, otherwise known as honey wine. Buy a flight at the bar to taste the subtle nuances. There is also seating at tables. • 28615 Lewes-Georgetown Hwy., Milton, 664-1188
Try experimental brews at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. No visit to Milton is complete without a visit to the tasting room at Dogfish Head’s headquarters. To sweeten the pot, Dogfish Head has a bevy of new tours, including one that focuses on its distillery. Plus, there’s now a new restaurant adjacent to the tasting room. • 6 Cannery Village Center, Milton, 684-1000
One of the fastest-growing towns in inland Sussex County, Millsboro benefits from its proximity to Lewes and Rehoboth Beach on one end and Ocean View and Bethany Beach on the other. The area includes the Indian River and Indian River Bay.
TO DO & SEE:
Powwow at the Nanticoke Indian Museum. Up to 30,000 people attend the Nanticoke Indian Powwow on the museum grounds in September. The museum, however, is open all year. An Algonquin translation of the original Nantaquak, Nanticoke means “people of the tidewater,” and the museum details the history of the tribe in Delaware. • 27073 John J. Williams Hwy., Millsboro, 945-7022
Tee off at Baywood Greens Golf Course. The public course has been described as the Augusta of the North. It features an 18-hole championship golf course and The Clubhouse at Baywood, a restaurant and event venue operated by SoDel Concepts. • 32267 Clubhouse Way, Long Neck, 947-9800
Go antiquing. Millsboro is home to several antiques stores, including the the Antique Mall of Millsboro and Main Street Retail. For a map of these shops—plus antiques stores all along the coast—visit the website.
Holts Landing State Park features a 1.7-mile trail that runs from the bay into a mature pine forest.//Photo by Lee Cannon
Ocean View, Millville, Clarksville and Dagsboro
At the southern tip of Delaware’s coast, the resort towns reside on a slender strip of land between bays and ponds and the ocean. As a result, development has spread inland along Del. 26, which runs from Bethany Beach through Dagsboro. The towns west of Bethany are hardly new—Ocean View was incorporated in 1889—but the influx of condos and homes has brought new activity to the area.
TO DO & SEE:
Tour the Ocean View Historical Society grounds. Like the Lewes Historical Society, the Ocean View campus has a collection of buildings including the Tunnell-West House, the town’s original post office and a replica of Cecile Steele’s chicken house. (Steele, who lived in Ocean View, is widely credited with starting Sussex County’s broiler industry.) • 39 Central Ave., Ocean View, 539-5653
Explore the James Farm Ecological Preserve. Managed by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, the preserve is nestled against Indian River Bay, giving visitors access to sparkling water and a sandy beach. You’ll also find marsh flats, a high marsh, a maritime forest and a hardwood forest. • 30048 Cedar Neck Road, Ocean View, 226-8105
Fish or hike in Holts Landing State Park. Not far from Millville, the park has the only pier on Delaware’s inland bays built for crabbing. The 203-acre park also has a 1.7-mile trail that runs from the bay, up into meadows and into a mature pine forest. You can also sail or pitch tents. • Road 346, Millville, 227-2800
Shop or dine at Good Earth Market & Organic Farm. If your only experience with Good Earth Market is the shop in Rehoboth Beach, head south and check out the farm where it all began. The grocery store is right on the farm, and there’s also a café on site. (If you want to stay on the farm, there are Airbnb options.) • 31806 Good Earth Lane, Ocean View, 537-7100
Catch a movie at the Clayton Theatre. Looking like a blast from the past, the Clayton Theatre opened on Feb. 21, 1949 with the film “One Touch of Venus,” starring Ava Gardner and Robert Walker. Popcorn was just a dime. Today, the Clayton is the only single-screen theater still operating in Delaware, and it shows recently released films, with special nights. • 33246 Main St., Dagsboro, 732-3744