Delaware is a lovely destination year-round, especially when you plan for a Thanksgiving getaway — you’re in for a different kind of treat. Chateau Country is Delaware’s most exclusive region and home to generations of the DuPont family. Look forward to peeking into the long-lost world of splendor and beauty that surrounded this historic family. On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, you can shop at beautiful malls and along quaint Main Street in this tax-free state. Book a stay at one of many Delaware vacation rentals for an incredible Thanksgiving weekend.
Start Thanksgiving Day at the annual MS run that has special events for kids in addition to a 5K and 10K route for adults. You can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at the local Columbus Inn, a modern tavern in a historic building, eat on the Riverfront at Big Fish Grill, or get gussied up and head for the Green Room at the Hotel du Pont. Hit the Black Friday sales then head over to the Horizon Services Riverfront Park for some ice skating. Join the locals for holiday entertainment at the annual Christmas Parade that rolls through downtown on Saturday. For a show that rivals the high-kicking chorus girls at Radio City Music Hall, check out the Broadway Christmas Wonderland at The Playhouse on Rodney Square.
Become a Gabby Gobbler at the Lewes 5K on Thanksgiving morning, then have a relaxing dinner at the Gate House of Lewes, Striper Bites Bistro, or the Pickled Pig Pub while you watch the games on TV. Drive through the Cape Henlopen State Park for WinterFEST and enjoy more than 60 fabulous light displays along a two-mile stretch, then be sure to stop by the Christmas Village at the Mays-Lewes Ferry Terminal. This lively village has ice skating, live music, a strolling Santa, indoor holiday workshops, and carnival rides that include a gigantic Ferris wheel. As an alternative to crowded malls and local boutique shops, enjoy an OptOutside day hiking at the State Park where admission is free.
3. Rehoboth Beach
You can join the locals on Saturday at the beach for the Huffin’ for Pumpkin Pie 5K. The cozy Salt Air restaurant is serving farm-to-table Thanksgiving fare, or you can head over to the Big Fish Grill for a great meal. The tree-lighting ceremony, held at the Rehoboth Beach bandstand, gets you in the holiday mood with a sing-along that includes the classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” If you love locally produced entertainment, the Clear Space Theatre Company presents a Christmas-themed show every year beginning on Thanksgiving weekend.
4. Delaware City
This quaint riverfront community is a small port town on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Join local folks for a memorable Thanksgiving dinner at Cantwell’s Tavern where everything is prepared fresh on site or consider Crabby Dick’s or Kathy’s Crab House. You can enjoy hours of tax-free shopping in local malls or along Main Street, but if you want to get some exercise and fresh air, head to the Fort DuPont State Park for the Black Friday OptOutside event.
Trot yourself over to the 5K run before treating yourself to a Thanksgiving meal at Michele’s at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, then stick around for some slot-machine fun. Sports enthusiasts can eat a great meal at McGlynn’s Pub, while soaking up some football on the larger-than-life television screens. Begin your Black Friday shopping at the Dover Mall where you can shop from favorites such as Dick’s Sporting Goods or Old Navy, the hit up the local downtown businesses on Small Business Saturday. Not only can you save money on some great deals, Delaware has no sales tax. For a change of pace, head over to the Air Mobility Command Museum that features more than 30 vintage airplanes, including a presidential aircraft, a helicopter, a bomber, and cargo haulers.
If you arrive in Newark the Saturday before Thanksgiving, you can participate in the Turkey Trot 5K walk/run at Handloff Park or compete in the Run for Pie 5K on Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy a leisure feast at the Deerfield Country Club, then take a stroll on the path around the Newark Reservoir for some pretty city views. If you prefer hiking, fresh air, and quiet landscapes, forego Black Friday shopping at the Christiana Mall and head to the White Clay Creek or Lums Pond State Park for some hiking and wildlife viewing on Delaware’s OptOutside shopping alternative.
Step back in time at historic Odessa’s six-week holiday celebration, unusual in its approach, but very entertaining. This seasonal tradition interprets scenes from classic literature such as The Mouse King and The Nutcracker and transforms beloved characters and fantastic scenes into vignettes. You can celebrate Thanksgiving with a meal at Willey Farms, but don’t leave there without a bag stuffed with goodies such as handmade candy corn or old-fashioned horehound hard candies, a nostalgic holiday stocking stuffer. Take in a bit of history as you tour the Appoquinimink Friends Meeting House, an important Quaker meeting house located on the Underground Railroad.
8. New Castle
Participate in the Thanksgiving Day MS run a few minutes away in Wilmington, then mosey over to the Nemours Mansion and Gardens for a holiday tour of the most elegant and regal DuPont mansion. Return to New Castle for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner at the charming Jessop’s Tavern and Colonial Restaurant. New Castle is crammed with museums, so when you want to get some exercise, you can take a stroll through the Old Library, Dutch House, or Amstel House museums, among many others. If the kids need to burn off some extra energy and museums just aren’t doing it for them, head over to Middletown and let them do some bouncing at the Jump On Over Inflatable Play Center.
Head south to Lewes and join local families in the Gabby Gobbler 5K run, then return to Milford for a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast at the Georgia House, WestSide Restaurant, or Abbott’s Grill. Art galleries abound in this artsy town, and you can find lots of quaint shops along picturesque Walnut Street and Downtown Riverwalk, making Black Friday shopping a snap. Be sure to check out the Abbott’s Mill, the historic site of a grist mill. Following a tour, stroll through undeveloped land on a trail that passes by a pond, through meadows, and gives you a close-up view of local wildlife in the Nature Center.
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