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Governor Letters

State of Delaware



State of Delaware

October 2, 1997

Dear Mrs. Sarsfield:

I thank you for including Delaware in your year-long journey to Discover America. Delaware is indeed a beautiful state -- and I am confident that you will discover many treasures to share with your many "viewers" on the World Wide Web.

Enclosed, please find an outline of some of the historical and cultural sites that I would recommend you see during your visit to Delaware. Being that Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in l 787 -- earning us the nickname "The First State" -- I have based my travel suggestions around the theme of other "firsts" here in Delaware.

Again, thank you for your interest in Delaware, and best wishes on your year-long journey.


Ruth Ann Minner
Lieutenant Governor



The First Town Of The First State:

Known for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry connecting the "Twin Capes" of New Jersey and Delaware, Lewes provides a look at a charming and elegant town, with a wealth of unique and historic architecture. Experience the history of the first Dutch settlement at the Zwaanendael Museum, a replica of the Town Hall in Hoorn, Holland and home to findings of the HMS de Braak, a British brig-of-war which sank off the coast in 1798 and was discovered and raised in 1984. Also -- if you get the chance -- I urge you to explore over 4,000 acres of surf, sand, pines, unusual flora and seabirds at the Cape Henl open State Park. Sample a taste of wine at Nassau Valley Vineyards as you learn about the history of grape harvesting and old tales and legends of wine.

The Start of the Nation:

When you tour Dover's Capitol Green, planned by William Penn and lined with historic buildings, you'll stand on the very soil where the ratification of the Constitution occurred in 1787. Visit a rare collection of historic attractions featuring the second-oldest state house in America. Nipper The Dog presents men, machines and music of the golden age of the American phonograph at the Johnson Victrola Museum. Visit the John Dickinson Plantation and the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village and re-live farm living during the colonial years in Delaware. Finally, treat yourself to the elegant collection of American Decorative Art at the Sewell Biggs Museum.

Pea Patch Island & Port Penn:

Just minutes south of Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley lies Delaware City. Here you will board Delafort for a 10 minute ride on a ferry across the Delaware River to "Pea Patch Island" Fort Delaware, where visitors pose as civilian inspectors or tourists to satisfy their curiosity. Ms. Jefferson & Captain Mlotkowski and other characters guide
you through an experience of early prison life during the Civil War. A self-guided nature trail is also available. Nowhere else will nature, environment and history be brought together better than at Port Penn -- where a special local guide will show you the early lives that revolved around the water.

Brandywine Valley:

Visit Hagley Museum & Library,
the site of the original black powder mills of the DuPont Company. A narrated tram ride takes you past water wheels, workshops, stone mills and a restored workers' community to Eleutheri an Mills, built by E. I. duPont in 1803. This gracious Georgian-style residence is furnished to reflect the tastes of the five generations of duPonts who called it home. The French-style garden at Hagley features espaliered fruit trees and other novelties. Later travel to Winterthur Museum & Gardens, the nation's premier museum of American Decorative art. Winterthur's 200 rooms trace colonial craftsmanship, ethnic diversity and the flourishing nations' spirit through the mid-19th century. Take time to visit Winterthur's fabulous Galleries, where visitors receive and introductory exhibition of the American decorative arts.

Historic Olde New Castle:

New Castle is a colonial town along the Delaware River. Charming cobblestone streets and proud homes that date from the colonial era await your next tour. Featured on the tour are: the New Castle Court House, which is an interpretive tour highlighting the creation of Delaware's northern boundary, colonial government and the impact of the judicial practices on the lives of men, women, slaves and free blacks. The George Read II House and Garden has 12 period rooms and elaborate gardens open to groups.

Historic Houses of Odessa:

The Historic Houses of Odessa offers groups a unique treat when touring this beautiful American village on the national Register. The tours of both the Corbit Sharp House and the Wilson Warner House are complimented by a catered lunch complete with white linen, silverware and fresh flowers in an open air, fieldstone barn or fireside with open hearth cooking in an historic home.

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