A History Trail has been created to allow visitors and Delawareans to experience part of what made Delaware “The First State.”
The announcement took place in Dover on Delaware Day, the 224th anniversary of Delaware’s ratification of the Constitution.
“It’s a unique collection of places with historical significance throughout the state,” Delaware Tourism Office Director Linda Parkowski said. She cited studies which indicate that 78% of leisure travelers take part in activities involving culture and heritage during their visits.
Delaware Economic Development Office Director Alan Levin said that’s a lot of potential, with Delaware attracting about 7.1-million tourists a year. Tourism, he said, “employs 39,000 people, and is by far the largest-growing industry in the state at this time.”
The trail includes 36 sites in all three counties that highlight the state’s heritage. Participants get started by downloading a Trail Passport from the website visitdelaware.com/History. While visiting locations along the trail, they record the site code from each location into their passport. Trail-goers who visit a minimum of 18 sites, including six from each county, may turn in their completed passport for a copy of a limited-edition book, “Landmarks and Legacies.” The book contains photos by Kevin Fleming of 50 Delaware historic locations, a forward from Vice President Joe Biden, and is authored by Pam George of Delaware.
Parkowski said the trail provides an easy-to-follow guide to historical attractions, similar to the existing Delaware Wine and Ale Trail that attracts wine enthusiasts and fans of small craft breweries.
Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock said some well-known attractions are part of the trail, including the area around the Old State House and Legislative Hall in Dover, Old New Castle, and historic Lewes. There is also the John Dickinson Plantation, the Auburn Heights Preserve, the Pencader Heritage Museum and Cooch-Dayett Mills, and many more.
“This Delaware History Trail is going to allow us to bring that stuff even more to life, and to give access to a lot of folks who maybe take it for granted, or maybe don’t really even know about them,” Bullock said.
“We have a powerful story to tell about ‘our state that started a nation,'” Governor Jack Markell said. “Delawareans and visitors will both benefit from following the Delaware History Trail to learn stories about the roots of our great nation and our special state.”