How to Spend a Day in Old New Castle
From exploring quaint shops and restaurants to enjoying views of Battery Park, here's how to make the most of this historic town.
The New Castle Courthouse was first built in 1732.//Flickr/Eric Fidler
Just seven miles south of Wilmington, Historic New Castle is a not-so-hidden gem of Delaware’s attractions. Settled by the Dutch in the 1650s, the town is brimming with fascinating history. The cobblestone roads, quaint shops and restaurants and historic museums make this Delaware destination more than worth a day trip. Read on for an itinerary for your future visit to Old New Castle.
9 a.m.—Breakfast at Café New Castle
Start off your day by treating yourself to a tasty breakfast at Café New Castle. Though this quaint dining spot is easy to miss from the outside, its atmosphere is spacious, warm and inviting within. Pick a table on the spacious patio on those warmer days and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and the raved-about crab omelet.
414 Delaware St., New Castle • 763-3134
10:30 a.m.—Go for a stroll along New Castle’s riverfront Battery Park
Once you’ve sufficiently stuffed yourself with a delicious breakfast, New Castle’s beautiful Battery Park is just a short stroll away. Walk or bike off some of those calories along the park’s riverside walking trails. If kids are in tow, the playground area is sure to keep them occupied while you take in the beautiful river views.
12:00 p.m.—Antique-till-you-drop at 2nd Act Antiques
2nd Act Antiques has more to offer than just furniture items—find beautiful jewelry, art, stained glass and more at this more-than-meets-the-eye shopping spot.
306 Delaware St., Historic New Castle • 328-3506
12:30 p.m.—Lunch at Jessop’s Tavern
Jessop’s Tavern in the heart of Old New Castle is a true blast from the past. Nested in a 1724 colonial-era building, this New Castle institution features servers in period costumes and a tasty pub fare menu. Patrons keep coming back for the shepherd’s pie, meatloaf and fish and chips.
114 Delaware St., New Castle • 322-6111
2:00 p.m.—Enjoy Delaware’s rich history at New Castle’s museums
Spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the “old” in Old New Castle. The small town is brimming with incredible history—it was settled by the Dutch in the 1650s, and its historic district became a national landmark in 1967. The New Castle Court House Museum is part of the First State National Historical Park, and visitors can receive a free informative tour of the museum. The 1732 court house is where Delaware declared its independence from Pennsylvania and where trials of abolitionists Thomas Garrett and Jon Hunn took place, as well as other nationally important events. Make sure to stop by the Dutch House, Old Library Museum, Amstel House and George Read II House as well for fascinating history and stunning 17th and 18th century architecture. Many of these museums offer free admission—why not check out as many as you can?
6:30 p.m.—Enjoy dinner at Nora Lee’s French Quarter Bistro
Nora Lee’s French Quarter Bistro boasts some of the finest Cajun cuisine in the state of Delaware, with a Bourbon Street vibe that feels authentic and inviting. The cocktail selection, spicy jambalaya and crawfish tails are not to be missed.
124 Delaware St., New Castle • 322-7675
8:00 p.m.—Ice Cream at Dairy Palace
Dairy Palace is one of those places that takes you right back to your childhood—the place has hardly changed in its 50 years since opening. Located a short drive from downtown Historic New Castle, the shop's extensive flavor selections and options like soft-serve, milkshakes, sundaes and slushies ensure that there something for every sweet-toothed customer.
2 Jay Drive, New Castle • 328-9740