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Delaware, the second smallest and the first state to ratify the Constitution, is known for much more than its size and history. Known as the “Diamond State” or the “First State,” Delaware is renowned for its business-friendly atmosphere and less stringent corporate laws, making it a popular choice for many Fortune 500 companies. It is also famous for its pristine beaches like Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach, the Firefly Music Festival, and scrumptious cuisine, particularly the blue crabs and creamy crab soup. Furthermore, Delaware is home to several historical sites, such as the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, and the historic site of the first European colony in Delaware, Fort Christina. Lastly, the annual Return Day, a tradition of burying a ceremonial hatchet to mark the end of the election season, is a unique event that sets Delaware apart.
Food and Drink Delaware is Known For
Dogfish Head Beer
Dogfish Head, Delaware, is a brewery localized in the coastal town of Milton, known for its innovative craft beers and spirits. Founded by Sam Calagione in 1995, Dogfish Head brought forward unique concoctions, successfully creating a niche in the global brewing industry. The brewery’s eco-friendly philosophy, engaging tours, experimental recipes, and lively setting transform a visit to the brewery into an unforgettable experience.
Scrapple, a staple food of Delaware, is a beloved traditional dish in the local cuisine. Developed by Pennsylvania Dutch farmers to maximize their yield, scrapple is a hearty breakfast meatloaf crafted from pork scraps, cornmeal, and a distinct blend of spices. Sliced and often pan-fried until crispy, this regional delicacy provides a unique taste and texture that truly embodies the soul of Delaware’s culinary heritage.
Peaches and peach pie hold a special place in Delaware’s history as the state was once a leading peach producer in the 19th century, earning it the nickname “Peach State.” Peach pie, a classic American dessert, celebrates Delaware’s agricultural legacy through its sweet, juicy filling nestled within a flaky, golden crust. The combination of ripe, locally sourced peaches and homemade dough entices locals and visitors alike, making peach pie a cherished symbol of Delaware’s culinary history and tradition.
The Bobbie, a famous Delaware sandwich, is a local favorite and often touted as the “Thanksgiving on a roll.” Created by Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, this mouthwatering delicacy consists of slow-roasted turkey, tangy cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, and creamy mayonnaise on a soft roll. The Bobbie epitomizes the spirit of a homemade holiday meal and is a year-round reminder of hearty family feasts, making it a scrumptious and nostalgic food experience in Delaware.
Grotto Pizza, a beloved Delaware institution since 1960, is renowned for its signature cheese blend and unique swirls of sauce atop a perfectly baked crust. Founded in Rehoboth Beach by Dominick Pulieri, this legendary pizzeria expanded throughout Delaware, becoming a defining symbol of the state’s culinary landscape. Grotto Pizza transcends ordinary pizzerias by providing delicious pies, a memorable dining experience, and a taste of Delaware’s history that locals and visitors to the First State cherish for years to come.
Delaware Hot Dogs
Delaware hot dogs, a savory local treat, have a distinct flavor profile that sets them apart from other regional hot dog varieties. Typically loaded with toppings like mustard, sautéed onions, and tangy-sweet relish, what truly distinguishes a Delaware hot dog is the mouthwatering addition of split and grilled sausages. The combination of juicy sausages, fresh condiments, and a warm bun creates a satisfying meal that perfectly integrates local tastes and traditions into a scrumptious, handheld delight.
Blue Crab Claws
Blue crab is a beloved staple in Delaware, widely recognized for its succulent, sweet meat. Harvested from the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, the Blue crab is enjoyed in manifold ways—steamed, made into crab cakes, or featured in soups. Its rich, nuanced flavor ubiquitously represents the state’s maritime traditions and coastal culture. From waterfront crab shacks to upscale seafood establishments, the blue crab experience in Delaware is a memorable exploration of local cuisine and community.
Landmarks and Attractions Delaware is Known For
Brandywine Creek State Park
Brandywine Creek State Park, encompassing over 930 acres of picturesque landscapes, offers numerous recreational opportunities for nature enthusiasts in northern Delaware. Established in 1965, the park features lush meadows, majestic tulip poplar trees, and the winding Brandywine Creek. Visitors can enjoy hiking, birdwatching, and observing native wildlife like white-tailed deer and red foxes. Alongside its natural beauty, the park holds a rich history, from being a hub for mills to a battleground during the Revolutionary War, making it a cherished treasure of Delaware’s heritage.
The Winterthur Museum, located in Delaware, is a remarkable preservation of American history and culture. Initially a Du Pont family country retreat, it now houses one of the most significant collections of Americana, with nearly 90,000 objects dating from 1640 to 1860. Set amidst a sprawling 1,000-acre estate with stunning naturalistic gardens, Winterthur provides a unique blend of art, history, and nature. Through its curated exhibits, educational programs, and research library, the museum invites visitors to explore and appreciate the richness of America’s artistic and cultural past.
Funland, a family-owned amusement park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, has been entertaining visitors since 1962. This iconic attraction features over 20 exciting rides and games, including thrilling roller coasters, classic ferris wheels, and engaging arcade games, catering to all age groups. Nestled between the boardwalk and the sandy beaches, Funland provides an ideal destination for family fun during warm summer evenings. With affordable prices and a charming atmosphere, generations of families have made unforgettable memories at this nostalgic seaside gem.
Air Mobility Command Museum
The Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Delaware, serves as a tribute to U.S. military aviation. The museum, located at Dover Air Force Base, displays a wide array of vintage aircraft, artifacts, and exhibits that chronicled the evolution of air mobility. Visitors gain insight into military history through rare bombers, cargo planes, and air refueling aircraft while also learning about the personnel who served. The museum’s outreach extends further, offering educational programs and restoration projects, helping to preserve and share the rich history of U.S military aviation.
Dover Motor Speedway
The Dover Motor Speedway, also known as the “Monster Mile”, is a renowned NASCAR race track in Dover, Delaware. Established in 1969, it has a reputation for its high-banked, one-mile concrete oval that adds to the thrill and complexity of races. The arena can accommodate over 80,000 spectators, fostering a vibrant atmosphere during events. Known for hosting some of the most exciting races in motorsport, Dover Motor Speedway is celebrated for its blend of speed, competition, and classic American sportsmanship.
Delaware Art Museum
The Delaware Art Museum, situated in Wilmington, showcases a diverse collection of American and European art, with a focus on 19th- and 20th-century masterpieces. Boasting over 12,000 works, including the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite art outside the United Kingdom, the museum celebrates both regional and international artistic heritage. The museum’s 9-acre sculpture garden and opportunities for educational programs further immerse visitors in the exploration and appreciation of artistic expression. The Delaware Art Museum remains a vital institution for cultivating a love for the arts within the community and beyond.
Hagley Museum, located on the banks of the Brandywine River in Wilmington, Delaware, explores the intersection of industry, technology, and society. It includes the original site of the DuPont Company’s gunpowder mills, historic buildings and residences, a research library and various exhibitions. The 235-acre area invites visitors to step into America’s industrial past, understanding the du Pont family legacy and its wide-reaching impacts on society. With guided tours and educational programs, the Hagley Museum is a fascinating chronicle of American entrepreneurship, innovation, and life during the industrial revolution.
Cities and Places Delaware is Known For
Fenwick Island State Park
Fenwick Island State Park, a serene barrier island located in Delaware, offers a tranquil retreat with its sandy beaches and sparkling surf. The park is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and Little Assawoman Bay, offering numerous water-related activities such as swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and fishing. Wildlife enthusiasts may spot various bird species and enjoy the natural beauty. Facilities like lifeguarded beaches and concession stands enhance visitor’s experience. Fenwick Island State Park promises a memorable outdoor excursion within its undisturbed coastal environment.
Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware, showcases a rich blend of history, art, culture, and natural beauty. On the banks of the Christina River, it offers attractions like the dynamic Riverfront Wilmington and historic districts with colonial-era architecture. The city is famous for arts and culture with landmarks like the Grand Opera House, Delaware Art Museum, and the annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Furthermore, its proximity to the stunning Brandywine Valley and numerous parks highlights a commitment to outdoor leisure. Wilmington truly delivers a diverse urban experience.
Lewes, the “First Town in the First State”, is a charming coastal town in Delaware, known for its rich history, ocean beaches, and preserved natural areas. The town’s Historic District showcases several museums and well-preserved colonial architecture. The pristine Cape Henlopen State Park nearby offers recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and exploring marine wildlife. The town’s harbor, culinary scene, and boutique shopping further add to its appeal. Lewes encapsulates a quaint coastal lifestyle, historical allure, and natural beauty.
Bethany Beach, a serene seaside town located in Delaware, offers a tranquil retreat from city bustle. Known as one of the state’s “Quiet Resorts,” it’s characterized by expansive sandy beaches, a charming boardwalk, and a family-friendly atmosphere. The town provides opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Visitors can explore the Bethany Beach Nature Center or delve into local history at the Indian River Life-Saving Station. With its relaxed vibe and natural beauty, Bethany Beach is an idyllic coastal getaway.
Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park, located in Lewes, Delaware, offers a diverse blend of recreational and natural attractions. The park features stunning beaches, towering dunes, and forested hiking trails, providing ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, bird-watching, and nature exploration. The Seaside Nature Center presents interactive exhibits and programs on local marine wildlife. History enthusiasts can tour the Fort Miles Historic Area, a World War II-era defense establishment. Cape Henlopen State Park, with its variety of habitats and activities, is a highlight of Delaware’s coast.
Dewey Beach is a vibrant coastal town in Delaware known for its picturesque sandy beaches and lively entertainment scene. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Rehoboth Bay, it offers a range of water-based activities such as surfing, boating, and fishing. Despite its small land area, Dewey Beach hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, catered to visitors of all ages. With welcoming restaurants, clubs, and accommodations, it is a popular summer vacation destination, showcasing Delaware’s inviting shoreline charm.
Dover, the capital city of Delaware, boasts a rich history, vibrant culture, and a diverse economy. Established in 1683, the city is known for its well-preserved historical sites such as the First State Heritage Park and the iconic Legislative Hall. In addition to its role as a political hub, Dover is home to the Dover Air Force Base and several manufacturing industries. The city also offers numerous recreational opportunities, featuring an array of parks, shopping centers, and the popular Dover International Speedway, which hosts prestigious NASCAR races.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is a beloved coastal destination, known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant boardwalk, and charming small-town atmosphere. The city offers an array of outdoor activities, such as swimming, biking, and boating, making it a popular summer getaway. While the beach and ocean are star attractions, Rehoboth Beach is also home to numerous shops, restaurants, and family-friendly attractions. Additionally, the city hosts many annual events, including the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival and sea witch-themed Halloween festivities, that attract visitors from near and far each year.
History, Culture and Traditions Delaware is Known For
Delaware holds a prominent place in American history as the first state to join the union. Ratifying the Constitution on December 7, 1787, Delaware demonstrated its forward-thinking spirit, leading the charge in the formation of the United States. This significant moment is commemorated in the state’s nickname, “The First State”. Today, Delaware’s commitment to innovation and progress continues to be visible in its diverse industries, rich culture, and dynamic communities, reflecting its foundational role in America’s history.
Second Smallest State
Despite its diminutive size, Delaware holds a significant place in the United States. Measuring just 96 miles long and approximately 30 miles wide, with a total area of 2,489 square miles, it is the second smallest state after Rhode Island. While small in size, Delaware is densely populated, noted for its role as “The First State” to ratify the Constitution. Its vibrant economy, rich history, and progressive policies continue to exemplify its key role in the nation, proving that size does not always determine impact or influence.
Delaware stands out in the United States as being one of the few states offering tax-free shopping. The state has no sales tax, offering significant savings for shoppers on everything from clothing to electronics. This policy not only attracts consumers from neighboring states seeking to save money, but it also stimulates local business and contributes to the state’s vibrant economy. While tax-free shopping is undoubtedly a perk for consumers, it’s also an important element of how Delaware manages its finances strategically.
Fortune 500 Companies
Delaware is renowned as a hub of American corporate life, with over 66% of Fortune 500 companies incorporated in the state. This is due, in part, to Delaware’s flexible, pro-business corporate laws, respected Court of Chancery, and tax-friendly policies. These companies, while operating globally, choose Delaware as their legal home due to the state’s commitment to corporate governance and financial management. Despite its small size, Delaware’s significant role in the business world showcases its influence on the national and global commercial landscape.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is one of the most popular sports in the United States, admired for its high-speed, adrenaline-fueled races. Founded in 1948, NASCAR organizes a variety of racing events across the country, featuring modified production cars. Its top series include the Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series, each having its unique charm and following. Aside from the excitement on the track, NASCAR’s rich heritage, commitment to safety, and relentless pursuit of innovation make it an integral part of American sports culture.
Oldest Protestant Church
Delaware houses Old Swedes Church, also known as Holy Trinity Church, the oldest Protestant Church in the U.S. that has been continuously used for worship, founded by early Swedish settlers in 1698. Located in Wilmington, this church represents a significant chapter in Delaware’s early history, highlighting its multicultural roots and enduring traditions. Maintaining its original structure, with features like a graveyard and Swedish inscriptions on the walls, it serves as a lens into the past. Despite several renovations over centuries, it continues to be an active parish and a place of historical significance.
Famous People from Delaware
Aubrey Plaza, a multitalented actress and comedian, hails from Wilmington, Delaware. Born on June 26, 1984, she began her career performing improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City before gaining widespread recognition for her role as April Ludgate on the hit series “Parks and Recreation.” With multiple film and television credits to her name, including “Safety Not Guaranteed,” “Legion,” and “Ingrid Goes West,” Aubrey Plaza’s Delaware roots contributed to shaping her distinct comedic style and successful career in Hollywood.
Teri Polo, a versatile American actress, was born on June 1, 1969, in Dover, Delaware. She rose to prominence with her portrayals in both television and film, earning high praise for her work. Polo is best known for her role as Pam Byrnes-Focker in the successful “Meet the Parents” film franchise alongside Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. Additionally, she has made a significant impact on television, starring in shows such as “The Fosters” and “Good Trouble.” Teri Polo’s Delaware origins played a vital role in shaping her successful and accomplished career in the entertainment industry.
Ryan Phillippe, born September 10, 1974, in New Castle, Delaware, is a talented American actor and filmmaker with a diverse career spanning over two decades. He gained early recognition for his role as Billy Douglas on the soap opera “One Life to Live” and furthered his stardom with standout performances in popular films such as “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Cruel Intentions,” and “Crash.” More recent work includes leading roles in television series like “Shooter” and “Big Sky.” Ryan Phillippe’s enduring career showcases his adaptability and strong connection to his Delaware roots.
Companies Founded in Delaware
The DuPont Company, one of the world’s leading chemical corporations, was founded in Delaware in 1802 by Éleuthère Irénée du Pont. Established initially as a gunpowder mill on the Brandywine River, DuPont grew to become a global powerhouse in the chemical industry, creating products in diverse sectors such as agriculture, electronics, and constructions. The company has contributed significantly to scientific progress and innovation while shaping Delaware’s economic and social landscape. DuPont’s deep-rooted history and pioneering spirit reflect the strength and resilience of Delaware’s industrial heritage.
Dogfish Head Brewing
Founded in 1995 by Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Brewery is a celebrated craft brewery situated in Milton, Delaware. Known for pushing boundaries, Dogfish Head is renowned for its experimental beers that often incorporate unusual ingredients. Examples include its flagship brew 60 Minute IPA, and rarities like Midas Touch, made from an ancient Turkish recipe involving grapes, honey and saffron. Dogfish Head, offering high-quality, innovative beers, has significantly influenced the American craft brewing scene and has become a staple for beer enthusiasts nationwide.
What is Delaware Known for Producing?
Chemical production holds a significant position in Delaware’s economy, largely due to the presence of DuPont, a globally recognized chemical giant founded in the state in 1802. Delaware’s chemical industry produces a wide range of products, including agriculture fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals. Additionally, the state offers robust research and development capabilities, with significant innovations in chemical science. The chemical sector’s prominence reflects Delaware’s rich industrial heritage and its ongoing influence in shaping the state’s economic and social landscape.
Corn and Soybeans
Agriculture plays a significant part in Delaware’s economy, with corn and soybeans being two key crops. Delaware’s fertile land and favorable climate conditions facilitate the growth of these crops, leading to considerable output levels. Corn, grown on thousands of acres, is used largely for grain for livestock feed. Soybeans, on the other hand, are often rotated with corn crops to maintain soil health and used in both animal feed and various human food products. These crops substantially contribute to Delaware’s agricultural industry.