A Walk Through History
The story of Lewes, Del.’s maritime past hasn’t been well known by visitors. A new self-guided tour will help change that.
By Pam George
From Lewes to Fenwick Island, you’ll find a bushel of crab houses.
So crack to your heart’s content. By Pam George
There’s a big ocean full of big fish. Via head boat, fishing charter or bare feet on the beach, you could land the memory of a lifetime—no experience necessary. By Reid Champagne Page 6
Fall on the Delaware Beaches Events Calendar
The hikers and beachcombers probably had no idea they were passing what was once a quarantine station for immigrants with epidemic diseases. Back then, many of the patients—yanked off their ships, far from their families—did not speak English. They felt afraid and alone.
Today’s strollers looking out at the breakwaters also had no clue that the rocky structures once provided a safe harbor for commercial ships in what are considered treacherous waters. Most people enjoying Lewes, Del.’s new Canalfront Park didn’t know that fisheries—and all their glorious aromas—once dominated the old town, which was founded in 1631.
Well, they know now.
Visitors and locals can learn about Lewes’ seafaring past on the new Lewes Maritime History Trail, a 4.3-mile, self-guided route that encompasses 10 sites, each with signs that detail information about the people, industries or events that impacted the town. Some markers, such as those for the lifesaving station and the lightship Overfalls, explore historical movements and trends, not just that single attraction.
“It’s a very nice addition to Lewes,” says Ted Becker, managing partner for Stewart-Becker Properties, which owns the Inn at Canal Square. “It’s self-directed. You’re not dependent on a museum being open. You can visit all 10 sites or do two at a time. It’s a real good fit—especially for the population in this community, which is interested in history.”
The project was funded in part by a grant from Preserve America, a federal initiative that supports community efforts to preserve cultural and natural heritage. To receive the grant, the city first had to become a designated Preserve America Community, which it did in 2006. “Once you’re a designated Preservation Community, you can apply for funds—which can be significant,” says Mike DiPaolo, executive director of the Lewes Historical Society.
Indeed, Lewes received $35,000 from the federal organization, which it had to match. And costs add up quickly. The Lewes Maritime History Trail includes heavy-duty, full-color signs complete with photographs or illustrations, a brochure and an audio tour.
The project started with eight locations but jumped to 10. The audio tour will eventually encompass more than the 10 sites, with sections on the cemeteries and churches of Lewes, architecture, colonial history, and natural history. “If you’re really interested, you could spend all day doing it,” DiPaolo says. “It’s the chance to delve in as deep or shallow as you want.”
Three of the sites are near the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal. The rest are closer to Lewes, except for the University of Delaware site just west of town. Moving west to east, here are the 10 locations:
University of Delaware (700 Pilottown Road)
Since 1950, the university has been involved in marine research. The sign here notes the university’s contribution to studies on marine science, oceans, the atmosphere and the environment.
Life-Saving Station Boathouse (110 Shipcarpenter St., along the canal)
Before there was the U.S. Coast Guard, there was the Life-Saving Service, which was organized to rescue shipwrecked mariners, ships and cargo. The Cape Henlopen station was founded in 1876. The white, peak-roofed Lewes station—which is spotlighted—opened in 1884. The marker makes note of the stations’ heroics during the Blizzard of 1888, a freak “white hurricane” that drove dozens of ships onto the breakwater. In 1914, the service merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard.
Overfalls Lightship (on the canal, next to the life-saving station)
The U.S. Overfalls, a local celebrity, is one of 179 floating lighthouses—complete with foghorns and beacons—that served on America’s three coasts and on the Great Lakes between 1820 and 1895. The ship, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1938. It’s been restored thanks to the efforts of volunteers. The Overfalls returned in June after having its hull restored in Norfolk, Va.
Shipbuilding (Canalfront Park on Front Street)
DiPaolo has traced Lewes’ once-thriving shipbuilding industry back to at least 1683. Among the most interesting tales is the story of the Lewis family. Cato Lewis, who learned the trade as a slave, founded one of the earliest African-American-owned shipyards. Documents from the early 1800s mention his family’s boatyard. The industry in Lewes produced mostly sloops and barques that could navigate the shallower water they were launched in. By the mid-19th century, shipbuilding had moved up to Milton, perhaps because lumber was more plentiful there.
The War of 1812 (1812 Memorial Park on Front Street)
During the war, the British blockaded the mouth of the Delaware Bay, pelting Lewes with heavy cannon fire in retaliation for being denied supplies. Across from the park, which was the site of a fort, stands the Cannonball House, which still has a cannonball from the fight embedded in its foundation.
Lighthouses (Lewes Beach parking lot at the end of Savannah Road)
Lighthouses, including the long-lost Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, once stood on the shores in and around Lewes. The East End Lighthouse and the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse still stand, and they’re viewable from this spot.
The 76-foot Harbor of Refuge, built in 1926, is among the most exposed lighthouses along the Atlantic Coast, so it is routinely pounded by punishing waves. The lighthouse that previously occupied that spot was so damaged by storms it had to be dismantled. The Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse housed light keepers from 1885 to 1950.
Menhaden Fisheries (Lewes Beach parking lot at the end of Savannah Road)
For a time, Lewes was literally and figuratively the center of the menhaden fishing industry, which ran from Canada to South America. Menhaden once swam here in schools that numbered hundreds of thousands. The fish are prized for their oil, but they’re also used for fertilizer. Not only did the fish factories employ the locals, but so did the industries that cropped up to serve the factories. Indeed, there were two brothels in town, including one run by “Miss Lil.” That scarlet lady, however, is absent from the tour.
Delaware Pilots (Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal, 43 Cape Henlopen Drive)
Customers waiting to ride the Cape May-Lewes Ferry may notice the boats that cruise from the neighboring pilot station to meet ships waiting at the mouth of the Delaware River. Members of the Pilots’ Association for the Bay & River Delaware, founded in 1896, guide ships up the river to Wilmington, Philadelphia and Trenton, dodging treacherous shoals, rocky ledges and other hazards. “It’s kind of neat that they’re still doing it,” DiPaolo says.
Breakwaters (Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal, 43 Cape Henlopen Drive)
You might wonder why the breakwaters weren’t included with the lighthouses that sit on them. It’s because they deserve their own recognition. “Too many people see the lighthouses, but not the breakwaters,” says DiPaolo.
The massive structures, made of rubble and stone blocks, shield Lewes Harbor from turbulent seas, which were especially dangerous during storms. Ships going upriver could take refuge behind the breakwaters to wait out bad weather. Even ships going up the seaboard stopped there to find safe haven.
The “inner” breakwater, built in 1828, is actually the Delaware Breakwater, which was designed by well-known architect and civil engineer William Strickland, who also did the Second Bank of the United States and the Merchants’ Exchange, both in Philadelphia, and the Sussex County Courthouse in Georgetown. His breakwater was deemed too small, especially when as many as 200 ships took refuge there in one storm alone. Plus, the gap between the icebreaker and breakwater encouraged dangerous currents. It was later closed. The outer breakwater is the Harbor of Refuge, authorized by Congress in 1896.
Quarantine Station (Cape Henlopen State Park Fishing Pier)
In the 19th century, millions of immigrants sailed for America with high hopes and few possessions. They also carried the threat of epidemic diseases like yellow fever, cholera, smallpox and typhus.
Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Station, which processed more than 200,000 immigrants, opened in 1884 as part of the National Quarantine System. Located on what is now Cape Henlopen State Park, the facility was also known as the Delaware Breakwater Quarantine Hospital or the Marine Hospital.
Ships heading up the Delaware River stopped at the station, which was marked by a quarantine flag. If there was no sign of disease among the passengers or crew, the ship proceeded to Philadelphia.
Those suspected of disease were taken to the hospital. Later, officials also removed anyone who had come in contact with the patients. The remaining passengers stayed aboard the anchored ship for two to 12 weeks for monitoring. The station became a Navy base during World War I, then closed in 1926. By 1932, buildings were demolished, moved or incorporated into other structures. Thanks to the Lewes Maritime History Trail, its story lives on.
To learn more about the Maritime History Trail, call the Lewes Historical Society at (320) 645-7670 or visit historiclewes.org.
Outside the Eastern Shore, the Delaware beaches provide one of the best settings for crab picking. Maybe it’s the salt air or the smell of the brackish bay. Regardless, there’s something about the sea that whets your appetite for a pile of scarlet steamed crabs.
“It’s really one of the things people do here,” says Tim Haley, owner of The Blue Crab in Bethany Beach. “They go to the beach and they pick crabs. It’s part of their vacation experience.”
Fall is one of the best times for blue crabs. The crustaceans have long left their beds in the water’s muddy bottom, where they burrow in the cool months. They’ve shed their shells to accommodate growth spurts, and they’ve filled out, making for a larger, meatier meal.
“September is a great time for the Chesapeake Bay crabs,” says Don Vechery, who opened The Surfing Crab (16723 Coastal Highway, Lewes, 302-644-4448) in late May. You might say crabs run in his family. His father, Henry, has owned the Bethesda Crab House in Maryland for more than 48 years. Vechery chose the beach so as not to compete with his father. “He has the D.C. market covered.”
Like his father, Vechery is devoted to doing crabs the right way. Instead of flash-cooking them, which takes 10-12 minutes, the crabs are steamed in a stock pot on the range for about 20 minutes. Either order lots of fries or call your order in ahead. The good news: These crabs won’t need reheating, and they don’t sit around getting soggy. “We’re old-school,” Vechery says.
John Donnelly, who was trained by a White House chef, handles the rest of the menu. “Sometimes there are specials that could be on a fine-dining menu,” Vechery says. “He’s just phenomenal.”
The menu might make the White House proud, but the atmosphere is decidedly casual. Picnic tables provide the seating both inside and on the screened porch.
The Surfing Crab is drawing plenty of locals, says Vechery, who is contemplating whether to remain open all year.
For 25 years, crab-happy tourists have scrambled to Lazy Susan’s Crabs (18289 Coastal Highway, Lewes, 302-645-5115), which in 2007 moved from its longtime location practically across the highway to its
current spot, more than doubling its seating. “We were able to purchase this property,” says owner Susan Fluharty. “Before, we just rented.”
But with the same picnic tables, the same crab-themed art and the same pipin’ hot crabs, old-timers still feel right at home. And there’s still outdoor seating. The difference is an expanded menu, with more seafood caught off the coast. “It’s fresh, fresh, fresh,” Fluharty says.
And so are the crabs, which are crusted with spices from Baltimore.
Claws Crab House (167 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 302-227-CLAW), which opened in 2006, is downtown Rehoboth’s first crab house. Frequent visitors may recall that this distinctive house, built in 1889, was formerly the home of Java Beach. Today, pickers have replaced the latté-lappers. The rustic dining room—a fitting home for a down-and-dirty crab feast—features architectural remnants from old barns, including a wood bar, tin ceilings and photographs that salute Sussex County’s maritime history.
The Crab Room at the Lighthouse Cove in Ruddertowne (124 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach, 302-227-4333) features all-you-can-eat blue crabs, snow crabs, shrimp, or a shrimp and snow crab combo. In case you haven’t been keeping up, the Lighthouse Cove is a blend of the old Crabber’s Cove and the Lighthouse. Downstairs is the more upscale dining element—just in case someone in your party longs for beef tenderloin. Or hop on over to the Lighthouse part—just the Lighthouse this time—for burgers and cheese fries. Don’t worry—you’ll figure where to go when you get there.
Ask Ed Riggin to describe the décor at Ed’s Chicken and Crabs (Highway One and Swedes Street, Dewey Beach, 302-227-9484) and you’ll get a hearty laugh. “It’s shack-ish,” he says.
No problem. Most of the 200 seats at the 32-year-old landmark are outside—simple picnic tables on the sidewalk, all shaded with umbrellas. Ed’s sells crabs by the dozen. “We’ve got medium, large and jumbo,” Riggin says. “We’re also heavy on crab cakes, shrimp and a lot of chicken.”
There’s no table service. Order at the window, wait to hear your name called, then carry your catch to any open seat.
The atmosphere aims higher at The Blue Crab (210 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach, 302-527-4700), where Tiffany-style lamps dangle above the telltale brown paper. Each table gets an Old Bay tin—for shrimp and fries, not crabs. “We use a rock-salt-based spice for crabs,” owner Tim Haley says.
The restaurant also boasts “crabby” artwork by Baltimore’s John Brown and oil paintings by local artist Jennifer Carter.
Naturally, crabs are the top seller. (Crab cakes, made with jumbo lump crabmeat, are a close second.) The all-you-can-eat special is a feast: blue crabs, corn, fried chicken and hush puppies. The restaurant’s menu also offers snow crab and Alaskan king crab.
Mickey’s Family Crab House (222 Jefferson Bridge Road, Bethany Beach, 302-539-5384) is named for owner Michael “Mickey” Walker. Located on Route 1, across from Sea Colony, the restaurant is outfitted with picnic tables covered with brown paper. Most people order crabs—the all-you-can-eat special includes corn on the cob—but crab cakes and peel-and-eat shrimp are hot on their claws.
Farther south, the Fenwick Crab House (100 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, 302-539-2500) has been packing them in since 1962. Owner Scott Fornwalt purchased the landmark in 1983. The restaurant’s reputation is built on the backs of jumbo and extra-large crabs, which are liberally dusted with a custom blend of spices. The eclectic décor, which includes antique signs and a model train, is also a draw.
The all-you-can-eat option includes crabs, corn on the cob, fried chicken, jambalaya and steamed shrimp. You might want to save room for the crab cakes, which are so celebrated that Fenwick Crab House ships them all over the country year-round. “They’re a big Christmas item,” Fornwalt says.
And they’ll tide you over until the next round of pickin’.
Looking to crack crabs in your beach cottage? Here’s where to buy them:
Tom and Terry’s Seafood Market is famous for its steamed shrimp, crabs and lobsters. You can buy crabs live or order them steamed. 30447 Cedar Neck Road, Ocean View, (302) 539-4311 or (302) 539-4403.
Ed & Terry’s Seafood Shack offers steamed crabs, which you can carry out or eat on their deck. 26098 John J. Williams Hwy., Millsboro, (302) 947-1826.
Jimmy Lynn’s Seafood steams 40-50 bushels a day during summer. Get ’em while they’re hot.
18226 Coastal Highway, Lewes, (302) 644-9329.
Comedian Steven Wright once observed that there is a fine line between fishing and standing on a riverbank like an idiot. For many out-of-towners at the Delaware Shore, that fine line may extend to the beach, head boat or charter craft. When it comes to saltwater fishing, however, there are not only a lot of choices. There is definitely a lot more required with respect to technique, balance, strength and equipment.
Perhaps the best way for first-timers to experience fishing on open water is to simply buy a head-boat ticket. A head boat is really just a juiced-up party barge that can carry 60 fishermen and more. Ted Moulinier of Anglers Fishing Center (2611 York Road, Lewes; anglersfishingcenter.com, 302-644-4533) in Lewes says there are many advantages associated with head boating, especially for newcomers to the sport.
“You don’t need a reservation, you don’t need a license, and you don’t need any equipment of your own,” Moulinier says. “Our head-boat capacity is 77, and you simply show up prior to sailing and buy a ticket.”
Rates are just north of $50 for an adult ticket, around $35 for children. Head boats cling closer to shore than charters and wander in Delaware Bay as well, though some head-boat trips will go as far as 12 miles out into the ocean. Equipment and bait will run another $5. Striped bass, tautog, sea bass and flounder are the catches of the day for most head-boat expeditions.
“We also offer a three-hour shark-fishing expedition that’s especially geared to young children,” says Moulinier. “We get them as young as 2, and they get hooked for life.”
For the more athletic and adventurous, there’s the charter boat. Two years ago, Charlie Helmer closed his restaurants to follow his dream of running charters. He operates the Tranquila Sport Fishing deep-sea charter (Slip #17, Lewes; tranquilasportfishing.com, 302-745-1503).
Charters are private boats with crews hired by small parties. Itineraries are flexible, based on the group’s desires. “I have a 53-foot Ricky Scarborough Sport Fisherman model with a 10-cylinder, 820-horsepower engine that can cruise at up to 34 knots,” Helmer says.
That means he can get you where the big fish are—and get you there fast. “It’s built to handle the rougher weather, too,” he says.
That’s good to know. Weather at sea can change dramatically. What you experience dockside may not be the same weather you’ll have on the ocean. “Depending on just how rough it might be out there, I’ll either cancel at the dock or at least advise what the conditions are likely to be, and let the clients decide,” says Helmer.
His boat has all the comforts of home, too, including a television, stereo and air conditioning. He generally takes up to six per outing, and runs trips from May to October for offshore fishing and through December inshore. “For white marlin, yellowfin tuna, dolphin and sharks, we’ll generally head out for what’s known as Baltimore Canyon,” Helmer says.
That amounts to about four hours of travel round trip, and about eight hours of fishing. The time seems to be worth it. Helmer’s groups have caught white marlin weighing in at 100 pounds. In early and mid-summer, Helmer says bluefin tuna will tip the scales at about 150 pounds.
If you’re just starting out and a 150-pound fish may be a little more than you care to bite off, Helmer does run inshore, family-oriented trips for rockfish and flounder in Delaware Bay.
As for limits, all bill fish (marlin, etc.) are catch-and-release, though you can usually keep up to three yellowfin per fisherman. Inshore limits are also restricted, with up to two striped bass of at least 28 inches and up to four flounder of at least 19.5 inches per fisherman.
Helmer’s rates range from $900 for an inshore trip to $2,000 for an offshore day trip, to $3,000 overnight. Helmer likes the overnights, and not just for the money. “There are more fish, including sharks,” he says. “I’m equipped with special night lights that allow you to see the fish in the water as they come for the bait.”
Finally, if you’re the type to get queasy from merely looking at a painting of the ocean, you can still pull lip with some thrill and excitement from the terra firma of the shore.
“For about $60, you can get a decent rod, reel and frozen mullet, and you’re all set,” says Captain Bill Baker, owner of Bill’s Sport Shop in Lewes (18388 Coastal Highway, 302-645-7654, billssportshop.com). As you progress, you may find yourself spending a bit more—perhaps up to $250—which will result in greater success.
“More expensive rods provide a lighter tip for better feel and sensitivity for the bite,” Baker says. “You can hold a lighter rig for a longer time, and you get a better fight as well.”
More knowledge goes into shoreline fishing, increasing your sense of the hunt. “You need to know how to read the waves and know the tide charts,” Baker says. “Fish bite better one hour before the tide changes. And incoming tides bring the bait fish, which attracts the game fish.”
You may still need to deal with significantly large fish. Striped bass (or rockfish), for example, are among the most popular catches in and around Indian River Inlet. The state record for striped bass is 51 pounds, 8 ounces. Compare that to the 10-pound, 5-ounce record for the freshwater large-mouth bass, and you begin to get the picture in terms of the kind of strength you may need to land some of these beasts.
The best shoreline fish—in addition to stripers—include flounder, bluefish and sea trout. Also keep in mind that Indian River Inlet offers opportunities not always available to saltwater fishermen, especially in terms of access. You can fish right from the shore and still get a cast of 150 yards out, where the fish will be bigger and more sporting to land.
There’s technique involved in good casting. Baker recommends “loading up” for the cast by laying the bait and the tip of the rod on the sand, to avoid whipping. Braided line casts better and farther than monofilament.
The right bait is as varied as fish in the sea. Typical baits include bloodworm, frozen mullet and fresh bunker. With these baits, you can cast and then set the pole in a harness or holster and wait for the bite. Artificial baits are good, but require the angler to constantly cast and retrieve, which can cause fatigue.
The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife publishes a fishing report with all regulations, license requirements and more. To get one, visit dnrec.state.de.us/fw/fishing.htm.
Getting a little tired of Big Al always chirping about the big one that got away? His tales may not be as tall as you think. Check out some of these Delaware state records for saltwater species.
• White Marlin, 120 pounds, Baltimore Canyon, 1972
• Blue Marlin, 820 pounds, Poorman’s Canyon, 1986
• Mako Shark, 975 pounds, Poorman’s Canyon, 1981
• Flounder, 17 pounds, 15 ounces; Indian River Inlet, 1974
• Tuna, 322 pounds, Baltimore Canyon, 1992
• Striped Bass, 51 pounds, 8 ounces; Indian River Inlet, 1978
Delaware Coast Antiques Show: Check out 35 exhibitors at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. 229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach. Call (302) 542-3286 or (302) 226-5456.
Gary P. Lister Bottle & Cork Race: Run or watch a 10-mile or 5K race at the season finale of the Seven Sisters of Dewey Beach series. Visit races2run.com.
Bethany Boardwalk Arts Festival: The 30th annual festival presents more than 100 fine artists. Call (800) 962-SURF or visit bethanybeachartsfestival.com.
Auction and Garden Party: Enjoy live music, food and drink, and the chance to bid on amazing prizes—all for the Milton Historical Society. Call (302) 684-1010 or visit historicmilton.org.
Parade of Ponds: Tour the garden ponds of Lewes to benefit Children’s Beach House. Call (302) 645-7841 or visit gardenpondsandlandscaping.com.
Milton’s Fall Town-Wide Yard Sale: This flea marketer’s fave lets you wander the historic town while looking for treasure. Call (320) 684-1101 or visit historicmilton.com.
Chocolate Tasting: Indulge at the Biden Center in Cape Henlopen State Park. 42 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes. Call (302) 644-5005 or visit destateparks.com.
Nanticoke Indian Powwow: Dancing, drumming, history and storytelling are all part of this annual event. Call (302) 945-7022 or visit nanticokeindians.org.
Cannonball Race: Discover Lewes on a 5K run or 1-mile walk. Call (302) 645-7670 or visit historiclewes.org.
Delaware Pride Festival: Celebrate at Gordon’s Pond in Cape Henlopen State Park. 42 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes. Call (302) 378-6524 or visit delawarepride.org.
Dewey Beach Sprint Triathlon: Athletes swim, bike and run through Delaware Seashore State Park. Visit deweybeachtriathlon.com or call (302) 227-8018.
Lewes Artists’ Studio Tour: See artists at work. Call (302) 645-5473.
Milton Historical Society Antiques Show: More than 25 dealers display a variety of local objects and artifacts. $2 admission benefits the society. Call (302) 684-1010 or visit historicmilton.org.
Make-A-Wish Triathlon: Individuals and relay teams compete in various divisions of this Olympic-length event. Call (301) 962-9474 or visit midatlantic.wish.org.
Beach Classic Golf Tournament: Support the Lower Delaware Autism Foundation at Baywood Greens in Long Neck. Call (302) 644-3410 or visit ldaf.com.
Delaware By Hand Members’ Show: View quality works in glass, baskets, ceramics, photography, painting and more outdoors at the studio. 24 John Williams Hwy., Lewes. Call (302) 644-4424.
Bike to the Bay: Take a ride with a few hundred of your closest friends during the annual ride from Smyrna to Dewey Beach, which benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Call (302) 655-5610 or visit biketothebay.org.
Fall Surf Fishing Classic: More than $15,000 in cash and prizes are awarded for most points, largest fish and largest bluefish. Call (302) 227-7974 or visit oldinlet.com.
Dewey Beach Music Conference: Rock out to the sounds of hundreds of bands. Call (302) 227-3888 or visit deweybeachfest.com.
Merchants’ Fall Sidewalk Sale: Spendthrifts love the sidewalk sale in Lewes’ shopping district. Call (302) 645-8073 or visit leweschamber.com.
Boast the Coast: Lewes’ big coastal weekend includes highlights like the lighted boat parade. Call (302) 645-8073 or visit leweschamber.com.
Lewes in Bloom Plant Sale: Gardeners can stock up on plants and supplies at this sale. Second and Bank streets. Call (302) 745-7383.
Lewes Historical Society Craft Fair: Crafters show off their wares. 110 Shipcarpenter St., Lewes. Call (302) 645-7670 or visit historiclewes.org.
Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch: Beach restaurants unite for an afternoon of culinary excellence at the Baycenter. 113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach. Call (302) 656-3257 or visit mealsfromthemasters.com.
University of Delaware’s Coast Day: Learn about marine life at the College of Marine Studies. 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. Visit ocean.udel.edu.
Greyhounds Reach the Beach: The beach goes to the dogs when retired racers and their owners visit this annual festival. Call (617) 774-0230 or visit adopt-a-greyhound.org.
Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival: Hot tunes and cool jazz play all over town. Call (800) 29-MUSIC or visit rehobothjazz.com.
Quiet Resorts Birding Weekend: Hiking, paddling, boating and other activities offer guests the chance to see indigenous and migratory birds. Call (302) 539-2100 or visit bethany-fenwick.org.
Light the Night Walk: Stroll the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Call (800) 220-1617, ext. 21, or visit lightthenight.org.
Wine, Beer and Cheese Tasting: Enjoy a taste of the finer things at the Officer’s Club in Cape Henlopen State Park. Proceeds benefit the maintenance of the Osprey Cam. 42 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes. Call (302) 644-5005 or visit destateparks.com.
Blue Jean Ball & Fall Art Show: Buy original artwork, dine, and dance to Love Seed Mama Jump at Nassau Valley Vineyards—all for the Lower Delaware Autism Foundation. Call (302) 644-3410 or visit ldaf.com.
Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddlers Festival: Halloween fun fills the streets of Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. Call (800) 441-1329 or visit beach-fun.com.
Punkin Chunkin: This world championship event is a classic in Bridgeville. Call (302) 684-8196 or visit punkinchunkin.com.
Thanksgiving Ball: Dress up for the Beebe Medical Foundation’s annual fundraising gala at the Baycenter. 113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach. Visit beebemedicalfoundation.org or call (302) 644-2900.
Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival: Check out 100 American and foreign films. Call (302) 645-9095 or visit rehobothfilm.com.
Red Balloon Hoedown: The party begins at night, with a family harvest festival during the day—all in celebration of the Wellness Community. Call (302) 645-9150 or visit wellnessdelaware.org.
Birdseed and Book Sale: A semi-annual event at Cape Henlopen Seaside Nature Center. Call (302) 644-4923.
Holiday Auction: Tastes of Milford: Sample the best of Milford’s restaurants and bid on great items at the Milford Senior Center. Call (302) 422-3344 or visit milfordchamber.com.
Holiday Tree Lighting and Sing-a-Long: Kick off the holidays at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand. Rehoboth Avenue and the Boardwalk. Call (302) 227-2772.