I’m a Delaware native. I managed to escape the state twice but they found me and brought me back. Just kidding, although I did leave the state twice for long periods.
For such a small state, Delaware, on the East Coast right below Pennsylvania, has a rich history and some well-known residents.
One of the thirteen original colonies, Delaware was settled by the Dutch. The original settlers were killed by the Indians who were here first and Delaware wasn’t settled again until 1638 by the Swedes.
There’s a lot of history here, beginning with pre-colonial times, through the Revolutionary War, to Delaware’s role in the Civil War. As a slave state that sided with the Union and a true border state, before the Civil War, the southern part of Delaware had slaves and a culture akin to Maryland and the other southern states. Northern Delaware’s economy was more industrial and aligned with Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The North and South location gives us our own unique flavor.
Delaware, the second smallest state in the Union, is called The First State because it was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It is also called The Diamond State because it’s small but rich, referring to the natural resources though there are also some very wealthy, famous people who call Delaware home.
The most famous Delawareans, the duPont family, immigrated to the United States from France to escape the French revolution. DuPont is correct spelling of the company name but the family name is spelled duPont. They settled in Delaware and started their gunpowder business in 1802. This family has had a profound influence on everything in the state from education to finance, even giving Delaware the dubious title, Chemical Capital of the World giving way to an influx of new corporations. Attractive tax rules encourage companies from all over the world to incorporate here.
At present our most famous resident is Vice President Joe Biden. Before Mr. Biden put Delaware on the map, as it were, many people in this country didn’t know where Delaware was or even that we had a state by that name. On more than one occasion while traveling, when my husband and I said we were from Delaware, we’d get either blank stares or the question, “Is that in Ohio?” I’m serious. We began telling people we were from the Philadelphia area. I’m glad to say that attitude has changed, and now when we say we’re from Delaware, we get knowing nods.
Another famous Delawarean, at least to beer connoisseurs, is Sam Caligione, the owner of Dogfish Head Brewery. The company got its name from Dogfish Head, Maine, where Caligione spent his summers as a child. Opened in 1995, Dogfish Head beer is known and recognized as a premium beer all over the country producing 75,000 barrels of beer annually.
Delaware is a coastal state with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. This southern area is more laid-back, more like the deep south and when you come, visit Rehoboth Beach, probably the most famous beach. Rehoboth has been called the playground of Washington, DC, because of its closeness to our nation’s capital and because of all the high-powered DC movers and shakers who have second homes at the beach. A note: In Delaware if you’re going to the beach area, you say you’re going to the beach. In New Jersey, when you go to the beach area, you say you’re going down the shore.
The northern part of Delaware, where I live, is more industrial, more urbanized.
In Wilmington, the major city, there are several very wealthy neighborhoods filled with mansions. The most fabulous of these is what we call Chateau Country. There you’ll find homes belonging to Vice President Biden, various duPont family members, and the CEO’s of major banks and corporations.
As they say in real estate, “location, location, location.” Delaware is in a great location—Wilmington is only thirty minutes from Philadelphia; less than three hours from New York City and two hours from Washington, DC. You can traverse the whole length of the state in little over two hours. Be aware, during the peak of the summer beach season, that trip can take four hours.
When I started writing romance, I wanted a book set in an exotic location. My first book was set on a ranch in Wyoming. I’d never been on a ranch and only been through Wyoming once by train. I thought Wyoming was exotic and I thought readers may find Delaware boring. That Wyoming book didn’t sell. The next book I wrote, A Catered Affair, was set in Wilmington, Delaware. Avalon Books bought it proving the old adage, “Write what you know.” As someone once said to me, I might find Delaware boring but someone from Idaho might find it exotic. Since, with a few exceptions, most of my books and short stories have been set in Delaware, Pennsylvania, or the Jersey shore. I own the digital rights for A Catered Affair, added a love scene and also published it under the title A Catered Romance.
Next time you’re driving up or down the I-95 corridor on the East Coast, don’t bypass Delaware on your way to New York, Philadelphia or Florida. Stop and visit. Tour the Hagley Museum, site of the original DuPont Company plant. Visit the various duPont family mansions that are open to the public. Spend time at our beautiful beaches.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip through The Diamond State. For more about Delaware, visit http://www.visitdelaware.com
Thanks to my friend and former classmate Ruth Govatos, who took the lovely Delaware pictures posted here.
Visit my website: www.caramarsi.com to read about all my books. Contact me through the contact link to be entered in a drawing for one of two hardback, autographed copies of A Catered Affair.
As for my latest, it’s Franco’s Fortune, a romantic suspense sequel to Logan’s Redemption. Both books are set in Philadelphia.
(Pictures provided by Author and Ruth Govatos- http://www.pattersonschwartz.com/agent/0520)