Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Now that you know about Wilmington, it doesn't really matter if you don't even know where Delaware is. Don't feel bad. 99.75% of the population of the U.S. has no idea where Delaware is. The other .25% live in Delaware. When I first moved here someone from Chicago said, "Where is Delaware? It's in Rhode Island, isn't it?" Ah, yes, do not feel bad.
Delaware is like the hanging chad of Pennsylvania. In fact, it used to be the lower states of Pennsylvania until the Revolutionary War. It is the "First State," in reference to its being the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It is the "Diamond State," because it is a jewel? I have no idea. Delaware is also known as the "Blue Hen State," referring to Blue Hen Chickens, the official state bird which some general carried around during the Revolution to entertain the troops with cockfighting. The tradition of cockfighting is still carried on in Rehoboth Beach. *wink* Also, the University of Delaware is known as the Fighting Blue Hens. Its state flower is the peach blossom because before Georgia, Delaware was known for its peaches until a blight killed off all the trees.
Delaware is divided into three counties: New Castle, Kent and Sussex. New Castle county is where I live. Kent is the middle of the state and Sussex is in slower, lower and includes the beaches. Delaware was originally settled by Dutch traders in Zwaanendael, which I understand to now be Lewes.
Delaware is located on the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) peninsula in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is only 100 miles or so from tip to toe with a state population of approximately 850,000. No city has over 100,000 people.
Delaware is home to the famous annual Punkin' Chunkin' event which occurs the weekend after Halloween. People build catapaults, trebuchets and canons designed to launch their leftovers (pumpkins) to a win. Canons tend to be so powerful they turn pumpkins into pie. And ain't nobody winnin' no punkin' chunkin' with no damn pie. This event went from being a couple of drunken friends to an annual (drunken) event that this year drew 20,000 spectators and dozens of participants from all over the world. It grossed around $100,000 in ticket sales, the majority of which is given away as scholarships. The winners the year I went - oh, yes, I went - were from Britain. Classes of schoolchildren enter as well as adults from various walks of life. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
Rehoboth Beach hosts an annual jazz festival in October and the Independent Film Festival in November each year. And, as you know, Rehoboth is my other hang. Both Rehoboth and Lewes have beautiful beaches and state parks, swimming and shopping. Oh, and there is no sales tax in Delaware.
Chateau Country up north is home to the beauty that Andrew Wyeth captured in his paintings, some of which are exhibited at the Brandywine River Museum (actually in nearby Chadds Ford, PA), along with N. C. and Jamie Wyeth's art.
Now, just as you are starting to get comfortable with Delaware and thinking that you might like to visit or take a vacation here, I present you with this gem, found on the internet: Delaware. The Most Expendable State in the Union? An example of the hilarity: "Delaware blocks Maryland's view of the ocean." Have a look and a laugh. And come visit sometime. We'll keep a lighthouse on for ya.