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Southern Delaware: Highlights for Culture Seekers

Southern Delaware offers a number of cultural and gourmand experiences… you just need to know where to look! Luckily, as part of my “digging deeper” exploration of the region, I searched for the best lesser known experiences to share. And the best part about it was that I didn’t have to look far…

I’ve found that so-called “beach food” can either be really good… or really bad. (Or, sometimes it’s so bad that it’s good. Case in point: funnel cakes.) Anyway, I prefer to stay on the “really good” side of the line, so I had lunch with Delaware’s very own Rehoboth Foodie to get the inside scoop on Southern Delaware’s restaurant scene. Over an extravagant lunch, he shared some of his current favorite spots – a(MUSE.) and Henlopen City Oyster House. His app “Rehoboth in my Pocket” offers on-the-spot recommendations for all the shops and restaurants in town.

Throughout our chat, I noshed on this über-indulgent crab melt from Victoria’s at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth. YUM!


Besides the restaurant-scene, Southern Delaware boasts two gourmand destinations that are worth a drive-by.

First, Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes… Delaware’s first and only award winning winery has been thriving for nearly 20 years. Owner Peg Raley actually changed Delaware legislature to be able to open her farm winery… and got a “you-go-girl” pep talk from the one and only Julia Child in the process! Today visitors can come and visit the lovely vineyard, sample the wines through free tastings and learn about the entire 8,000 year-old history of wine in their self-guided tour. Tip: My favorite wine was their Indian River Red.

Nassau Valley Vineyard grapes


The history of wine: a self-guided tour at Nassau Valley Vineyard


Free wine tastings are an extra bonus to visitors


A mere 10 miles from the winery is one of the region’s most prominent local success stories: the Dogfish Head Brewery. What started as a simple 12-gallon microbrewing operation in their local brewpub in downtown Rehoboth (and the smallest commercial brewery in the whole United States) has turned into a huge operation making over 20 types of beers and selling in more than 25 states. If you visit their 100,000 square foot brewery in Milton, you can sign up for one of their free brewery tours, which includes 4 generous samples so you can try their “off-centered ales for off-centered people” for yourself! TIP: My favorite was the Belgian-style Namaste white beer, that had notes of coriander, lemongrass and orange peel. 

A colorful chalkboard shows what’s in stock in the brewery


The tours take you into the heart of the bustling brewing operation


These 10,000 gallon casks are made from Palo Santo wood in Paraguay. These are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America since before Prohibition!


All of your favorites are there and available for purchase


After you’re done with the wining and dining, and you’re looking for something unique to do in the evening…

The Dicken’s Parlour Theatre offers a true magic show experience, and located less than 10 minutes inland from Bethany Beach it’s the epitome of a “hidden gem.” You start your evening in the “Theatre”, an intimate 50-seat space, watching world-class talent perform tricks with lots of audience assistance. (For my show, Walt Disney World magician Brian Staron was the star.) Then, once the 55-minute show is complete, the crowd heads over to the Parlour to hob-nob with the magician (and participate in some tableside tricks) over drinks and desserts. Take it from me: it was a blast. But get your tickets in advance. The popular shows often sell out.

It’s showtime at the Dickens Parlour Theatre

Inside the Parlour’s meet-and-greet space


Another local landmark is the historic Clayton Theatre in Dagsboro. Open since 1948, it’s the only first-run single screen theater in Delaware and it’s a movie-fan’s dream. The vintage neon sign (buzzing with that tell-tale electronic hum) is the first indication that you’re in for a special movie-watching experience. But the reasonably priced concessions and– my favorite –a balcony, keep locals coming back week after week to see the current release.


For more information about Southern Delaware’s cultural and foodie attractions, check out the Visit Southern Delaware tourism website.


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6 Responses to Southern Delaware: Highlights for Culture Seekers

  1. Stephanie - The Travel Chica November 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Would love to visit Dogfish Head one day.

    • James Diehl November 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Stephanie,

      If you want to come let me know, and I’ll set it up for you…:)

      James Diehl
      Media Relations Manager
      Southern Delaware Tourism

    • Chris November 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

      You should, Stephanie. It’s a fun activity… and there’s free beer! 🙂

  2. James Diehl November 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Great stuff Chris!!!

    • Chris November 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      Thanks, James! There was a lot of great stuff to write about!


  1. 5 HOT Summer Getaways from D.C. - June 17, 2014

    […] For some more things to do in Lewes, see: Southern Delaware: Highlights for History Buffs and Southern Delaware: Highlights for Culture Seekers […]

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