So my time in Delaware is quickly coming to an end with just about 4 weeks here left. I thought it would be appropriate to post some photos of DE and write up a little blog on my thoughts about the year I've spent here. The obvious bonus for me, as a Midwesterner, has been the weather. It's been completely delightful. There's absolutely no humidity or wind. When I first arrived everyone said "Oh just wait for the fall and winter- it gets so windy!" So I waited and waited. I guess when you're used to lake effect wind, the occasional Atlantic breeze isn't noticeable. The temperatures were extremely mild, but I'll be honest, I also think it spoiled me. I found myself freezing during the cool early morning temps when I visited my family in Indiana in early June. The old Alisha would have been outside in a tshirt, not a sweatshirt.
Let's talk about "scrapple". HUGE RED FLAGS, PEOPLE! I tried to like it, but I just couldn't get past the fact that it's basically the grossest parts of meat you can imagine (head, heart, liver, etc.) compressed into a patty. But for some strange reason, it's like a symbol of Delaware...eaten with eggs and toast at every diner in the state.
This is a view from my absolute favorite part of the state, Bowers Beach. It's bay side, so there aren't big, beautiful, crashing waves like at Rehoboth Beach. It's pretty empty most of the time, I'm guessing because it's mostly only locals that go there. What I really like about it is that it's safe for my kids. I could go lay out in the sand and let them splash around in shallow water without having to worry that they'd get swept away by the undertow. Rehoboth Beach was only nice to experience once in a while; the boardwalk has great food and souvenirs but it gets pricey and is always extremely crowded. So Bowers was our go-to. There's free parking at Bowers and it's not a far walk. Plus there's The Bayview Tavern, an inexpensive little place that's great for ordering beach food to go. They have the absolute best greasy hot dogs and cheese fries; they will put everything in a nice to-go container which makes it easier to sit on the beach and eat.
When it comes to doing local things, Delaware is pretty disappointing. Now granted, I'm speaking from a mom's perspective mostly. There isn't a state zoo or children's play areas (besides one chic-fil-a and one small bouncy house place). I was really surprised even the mall didn't have any kind of playplace. There is one children's museum but it's all the way up in Wilmington, so it isn't something we went to very often.
The bonus for this state is that it's only a day drive away from a plethora of awesome places out of state. While we were here we visited Philly several times (Philly zoo, Legoland, historic Philly, and Sesame World), the New Jersey aquarium, and Assateague Island twice (where the wild ponies roam). Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania was also a beautiful day trip. I regret not making it out to explore Baltimore, Washington D.C., or New York City, which are all relatively easy to explore from Delaware.
There are some neat nature areas locally that are lovely for hiking and observing wildlife; my favorites include Little Creek Wildlife Area, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Delaware has others that I wasn't able to explore (White Clay Creek State Park, Fenwick Island State Park, and Killens Pond State Park) but I've heard they provide excellent outdoor activities. There isn't rigorous hiking like you'd find in the Smoky Mountains or other rugged terrain, but it's still a fun place to enjoy nature. (Or just take photos!)
Delaware was a hard state to break in, I'll be honest. But there is a lot of hidden beauty within it if you're willing to search for it. Over the course of this last year I've learned to be flexible in many different situations, to take what life gives me and be content, and to turn many rough circumstances into something fun with my children. The truth is that sometimes the hardest seasons of life are the ones that have actually turned me into a stronger person in the long run. I'm so excited to be moving on to my next adventure in the Florida panhandle, but I'm quite thankful for the time I've had on the East Coast first. It's been swell, Delaware.