Every time someone asked where I was going on vacation this summer and I answered excitedly "Delaware", I got weird stares and lots of questions: Why Delaware? What is there to do in Delaware? Isn't that a long drive from Quebec? Why don't you go to Maine instead? Apparently, visiting a state that people don't usually visit confuses a lot of people and our trip actually has a pretty interesting back story, so here it is!
This story begins in March 2017, while my friend Amy and I were getting ready to leave Vancouver Island to visit California on a two-week road trip. Driving to California would take us two days and about 22 hours of driving on pretty boring interstates: we needed to think of games to keep us entertained! So I started researching and found plenty of car games that you can find here. One of those activities was to print a map of the United States and try to find a license plate from every state. Let's just say this little game quickly became an obsession after being stuck in traffic for 5 hours in Seattle and, not only did we play during the whole two weeks in California, but kept the game going on every road trip we went on that year.
After our two weeks in California, we were missing 18 states, but by the end of the year, we were missing only four.
Now, 5 years later, I have played this game way too many times to count, including on a two-week road trip in Utah, Arizona and Nevada in 2018 where we were missing only one : Delaware. So in almost 6 years of playing, the only state that we have never found is Delaware. There are only two conclusions that can come from this: either Delaware is a myth and only exists on paper, but no one actually lives there, or, it is so incredibly beautiful that once people arrive, they never want to visit any other place ever again. Let's just say, we were curious to find out!
So fast forward to the summer of 2022, Covid rules are starting to ease up, the borders are finally open, we have a long weekend in Canada for July 1st and a few extra vacation days, it seems like the right time to finally discover what's up with Delaware. We stopped on the way for a night in New York City where we had the chance to see The Lion King on Broadway, a day in Philadelphia where I had never been before, and then made our way to Delaware.
And wouldn't you know, after two whole days, in New York and Philadelphia, of looking, once again, for a Delaware license plate, we finally found it on a walk near our Airbnb in Philadelphia. Just a few hours before actually visiting the state! I don't know whose car that is, but thanks for visiting Phily!
We arrived in Delaware on July 3rd with no expectations. We knew there would be beaches as we were staying at the Delaware Seashore State Park campground, but we didn't know much else and we were excited to visit during 4th of July weekend as it was Amy's first time in the States for the 4th and my first time outside of Disney World (which I don't think is a fair representation of the holiday).
Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised! The beaches in Delaware stretch for miles, the sand is soft beneath your feet and the coastline is really beautiful. The waves were pretty intense though, and the beach towns are clearly not meant for so many people to visit at the same time as the street lights are set for little to no traffic.
We spent the afternoon at the beach just enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, but in the evening is when it got interesting. Obviously, we knew there would be fireworks for July 4th and I guess it makes sense if people go back to work on the 5th that they would need to leave in the afternoon of the 4th to go back home, but we weren't expecting fireworks on July 3rd too! Starting at about 8 PM, all around Rehoboth Bay and Indian Bay and even in New Jersey, on the other side of the Bay of Delaware, there were fireworks going off until at least 10 PM when we went back to our campground and stopped watching. I had never seen so many firework displays going off at the same time, it was just incredible! Americans clearly have a big fireworks budget for 4th of July!
The next day, we explored Rehoboth Beach, went souvenir shopping and spend the afternoon at the beach near our campground before driving to Dewey Beach where we knew there would be official fireworks for 4th of July. And once again, for the second night in a row, we were treated to a 360 degrees fireworks show. Before and after the official fireworks, people were lighting them on the beach beside us, on the other side of the bay, on boats over the water, literally everywhere! But this time, although we didn't bring our own fireworks, at least we were part of the celebration as we had 4th of July cupcakes and red, white and blue glow stick bracelets. It was fun seeing the excitement and the pride that the American people show for this holiday, even though I think it's a little too political and it's kind of ironic to be so proud of their freedom when they are trying to control half of the population, but that is just my opinion as a Canadian looking at it from the outside. I personally don't even celebrate Canada Day so it was a bit of a shock to see how big a deal Independence Day was in the USA, even if we see it in movies and on TV.
I really hope one day I get to visit Delaware again as these few days barely scratched the surface of what there is to see. Even driving through the state on our way back to Canada, I wish we had time to stop at Cape Henlopen State Park to bird watch or go pick some peaches and cherries in one of the many orchards. I also wish we had time to learn some of the history of this first state that I'll just have to Google. For being the second smallest state and one that nobody seems to visit, I found a lot to love in Delaware.
Although it definitely exists and it is truly beautiful, I don't think people stay there forever without visiting other states so we'll need to look for another reason why we never found this license plate on our travels ;)
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