Historic Lewes Byway

In 1631, a small group of Dutch settlers established a whaling and trading post on the southern tip of what would later become the state of Delaware. Named Zwaanendael, this new colony lasted only one year. It took a few more attempts for a settlement to become a permanent fixture on the Delaware River, but in 1682, William Penn named the city after his mother-in-law’s hometown of Lewes, England. It would later hold the designation of the First Town in the First State of the new United States of America. A harbor and several lighthouses were quickly erected, and its location at the mouth of the Delaware Bay helped Lewes become the perfect spot for rescuing crews and passengers, developing a major shipping channel, and defending the Bay and adjacent communities during times of war and strife.

Today, this tiny community on the sea, absolutely laden with history, is best seen on the Historic Lewes Byway, a continuous road network that spans 12 miles and nearly 400 years of the town’s heritage. Echoing the constant flow of maritime traffic in and out of Lewes, the Byway offers historic homes, miles of preserved beaches, a working waterfront, and an abundance of wildlife and diverse natural ecosystems. Discover harbors where tall ship masts dot the sky, endless expanses of fields and salt marshes, towering beach dunes that gently drift in ocean breezes. The short route is packed and there is no better place to experience firsthand the development of the United States than on the Historic Lewes Byway, your gateway  to Delaware’s Bayshore.

Gateway to the Bayshore

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