UD students are enjoying spring break, a short reprieve from exams, papers, and busy schedules.  My break is off to a good start, but it’s different from past spring breaks in that I am spending it in beautiful Wilmington, Delaware, rather than the Orange County, California town where I grew up. Last summer my parents finally fulfilled their desire of returning to the homeland – aka the East Coast – so I am now a Delawarean.

The author at Valley Garden Park in Greenville

With such established residency comes a bad driver’s license picture, a love for Capriotti’s “bobbie” sandwiches, and a deep appreciation for the state that detractors label, “Dela-where?”.  While a big draw of UD is its relative proximity to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City, Delaware itself has its own charms! Today I’m sharing some hot spots in Northern Delaware, (all pretty close to Newark), for when you desire an off-campus day trip.

  1. Parks:  I love East Coast nature, and find that taking a literal walk in the park is a great distraction from school stress.  Valley Garden Park is particularly quaint. Rockford Park hosts a “Flower Market” –a fun community event with vendors, state fair-style food and rides, and, of course, flowers – every year in early May. Alapocas Run State Park is great for runners, bikers, and even rock climbers, and White Clay Creek State Park is a Blue Hen favorite because of its proximity to campus.  My last botanical recommendation, Longwood Gardens, is actually in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, but the huge DuPont-founded establishment deserves mention because it features beautiful gardens year-round at a reasonable student price.

    Valley Garden Park in Greenville

    Cliffs for rock climbing in Wilmington’s Alpocas Run State Park

  2. Museums:  Delaware also offers places to enrich your mind out of the classroom.  For art lovers, there’s the Delaware Art Museum; the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library; and the Brandywine River Museum.  Business or economics majors would enjoy the Hagley Museum & Library, all about the “American enterprise”.  Those interested in anthropology, biology, or simply dinosaurs should check out the Delaware Museum of Natural History. And of course, I have to give a shout-out to the Museum of the Delaware Historical Society, where I interned this past winter!

    Wilmington’s Delaware History Museum

  3. Entertainment:  If you’ve seen one too many $3 movies in Trabant, consider something from this catchall category.  I like the Brandywine Zoo, which is fairly small but cheap and worth the trip.  I have yet to experience a Wilmington Blue Rocks (minor-league baseball) game or a show at the Grand Opera House, but have heard good things about both.  Finally, I can’t forget about the behemoth that is the Christiana Mall, because retail therapy is so much better when it’s tax-free!

It’s clear that one need not venture into Philly for a fun off-campus experience, as the state nicknamed “Small Wonder” offers a lot to explore.  Do you have any favorite Delaware locales?  Share in the comments below!

~Ruby Harrington

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Kelli Lynn Shermeyer

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