Delaware, Where We've Been

New Castle, Delaware, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania & Kayaking in Maryland

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When visiting the states in the Northeast, however, there’s bound to be a lot of overlap as the states become smaller and day trips can mean traveling to 2 or 3 states on the same day. That’s something that rarely happens when you’re in the west or in a larger state like Texas where you can spend your whole day traveling across the vast landscape and never reach the opposing border.

This week our adventures took us to the first state to join the Union, Delaware… and Pennsylvania and Maryland. 

New Castle, Delaware

If we look back in history, for a brief time, New Castle was once the capital of Delaware and if we go back even further, Delaware was once a part of Pennsylvania.

In colonial America, immigrants from Sweden and the Netherlands both settled in the area. The land changed hands back and forth as the ruling authority was disputed between the two groups of settlers. Eventually the British moved in to put an end to the fighting and claimed the land for themselves. 

The land of Delaware, named after the first governor of Jamestown Lord De La Warr, was given to William Penn by the Duke of York in 1704. William Penn was also granted other land which he named after himself. Can you guess what he called it?

The lower lands of Delaware and the upper region of Philadelphia became more separated as time went along, with each willing to agree to conduct their own affairs in their own regional locations. Eventually Delaware became a separate and independent state when it adopted its own state constitution in 1776 and became the first to sign the U.S. Constitution in 1788.

This building below is the old state courthouse. At one time the British sat in the courthouse with a painting of the King of England above their heads dictating British law to the colonists. 

The accused would sit in the box on the right, sometimes as young as 7 years old, to receive the ruling from the court. Punishments that were carried out were as severe as whippings or death sentences or as trivial as fines.

If you look at a map of Delaware, you will notice that the northern border of the state is an arc. It was believed that the cupula of the courthouse was used as the center point of the arc, drawn at a radius of 12 miles, while in fact it was an arbitrary point that was used instead as the courthouse hadn’t yet been constructed. 

The arc drawn by surveyor Isaac Taylor and Thomas Piersons did not end up intersecting the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania at a point of tangency. This ended up creating a wedge that became a point of dispute between the states with no one allowed to own or inhabit the land until the issue was resolved in 1921, granting the land to Delaware. 

These are surveyor chains. Before Geodimeters, GPS, and autolevels, surveyors laid out the land using theodolites and chains. Theodolites helped to measure angles, while chains were used to measure distance. 

It was a painstaking process, and not incredibly accurate, but the section corners and the pins laid by the early surveyors of the colonial era is the gold standard we hold to today to locate property lines and boundary corners.  


Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania

Having been to several botanic gardens and being awed by the beauty, I can tell you that Longwood Gardens far surpassed any expectations I may have had. The landscape from flowers to fountains was incredible! 

My pictures don’t do it justice as we went mid-day with rather bright and sunny skies which washed out some of the colors. It’s just something you’ll have to see in person to capture the full beauty. 

The Spring flowers were abundant with blooms I had never seen before.

This blue flower bush was among my favorite of the bunch. The little yellow flower in the middle is highlighted among the sea of beautiful, blue blooms.

The colors in the conservatory were overwhelming with a well curated selection of flowers lining the walkways and open areas.

This flower made the whole area smell like perfume. 

Bluebells are in season!

I don’t know how long the gardeners have spent to prepare the gardens every year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a rather large team of gardeners doing all this work.

Just after a sprinkling of water, this little flower shows off its colors.

A special section in the conservatory has been designed just for kids. With fountains they can play around, mazes to wander through and flowers decorating the space, it’s a magical space just for them.

A great garden hall of potted trees and flowers.

This is definitely a place I’d put on my list to visit again.


Kayaking in Maryland

We spent a few days visiting with family in Maryland. The kids took the kayak and canoe out on the river and paddled to their heart’s content. 

They made their way to the middle of he river, under and around piers, and built a small boat dock for themselves on the shore.

When not kayaking, they played on the beach before the tide came in.

Not far away stood another little pier called Fisherman’s Wharf. I am told that ships would sail up the river, coming to this dock and dropping off slaves to sell to the locals for work on their plantations and estates. 

Maryland was a border state, just south of the Mason-Dixon line and had legal slavery until the end of the Civil War. Even Delaware and New Jersey, across the Mason-Dixon line was not immune to slavery at that time, even though they were north of the Mason-Dixon line. 

And for reference, this road is on the Mason-Dixon line. This road separates Delaware from Maryland.


Lums Pond State Park Campground

The campsites at Lums Pond can be reserved online up to a year in advance. The sites are spaced out with plenty of open space and greenery around. 

Not far away, in the same park, is a playground for the kids. We saw plenty of older kids and teens riding around the roads on bikes and families walking their dogs. 

There wasn’t a check-in office, we just pulled up to our site and the paperwork for the site and the truck was there waiting for us when we arrived. 

It’s a very quiet and spacious state park. It seemed like many of the locals come here on weekends for weekend vacation time. My kids made a number of friends at the playground, played soccer, and had nerf gun wars.

Starlink gave us decent speeds of 15 up 2 down, even with the tall trees around. Verizon on the phone was 3 bars. With the cell antenna, we got 4 bars of Verizon and 3 on AT&T.