Milton is a tiny town 10 miles from the Delaware shoreline, situated at the head of the Broadkill River. This position made it an ideal location for the shipbuilding industry, which flourished in the 19th century. The town also contains almost 200 structures which are on the Federal Register Historic District. These and other aspects of the town's history can be explored with the help of the always-approachable Milton Historical Society.
Alongside its interesting history, Milton's location makes it an ideal base for expeditions into Delaware's vibrant natural world. Some of the best birdwatching in the eastern United States can be done in Primehook Nature Refuge, and there are plenty of other parks and beaches for swimming, wildlife watching, kayaking and hiking. The town, with a resident population of 1500 people, also has a remarkably good food and drink culture, with excellent restaurants and the home of the eccentric Dogfish Head brewing company. And it is within twenty minutes drive of idyllic Delaware beach towns such as Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.
Created as an "inviolate sanctuary" for migrating birds, Primehook Nature Refuge forms a temporary home for birds from all over the world. White swans fly in from the Arctic for the winter, joining endangered species such as the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. It is considered one of the most flourishing wetland habitats along the Atlantic coast and as such is an outstanding birding destination. But its 10,000 acres of marsh, woodland, grassland and ponds are great for hikers and general nature lovers, too.
The Dogfish Head Brewery is famous for its creative and inventive approach to craft beer. A visit to their brewery in Milton proves that this creativity spills out beyond just the bottle. Outside the front door is a twisting, metal-plated 'steampunk treehouse' where, apparently, management meetings are held. Inside, as well as the Dogfish Head's varied range of beers, there is an excellent food menu which mixes the beers themselves into the recipes.
This small and colorful Creole and Cajun restaurant opened in 2009 and is rapidly gaining a reputation in the Delaware Bay area. It has a lively atmosphere and the cooking is sublime. Offering fresh fish and fiery flavor in all their New Orleans classics (think crunchy fried oysters and award winning gumbo and lump crab cakes) as well as succulent desserts like traditional bread pudding, buttermilk pie and sugar-topped beignets, Po' Boys is the place to go for a taste of Louisiana in Delaware.
This coastal state park mixes family friendly beaches with wild and rugged stretches of sand dune, so body-bronzers and solitary hikers alike can satisfy their desires. It is about twelve miles from Milton, and borders the lovely beach town of Lewes. There is a paved walkway which is used for nature tours and lectures, and biking and bird watching are popular activities.
It's unlikely to be the primary reason for a trip to Milton, but passing an hour or two in this five-acre expanse of purple flowering lavender is a surprisingly serene experience. A quaint cottage acts as the farm's gift shop, selling an immense array of lavender-based products. You can also pluck your own bouquet from the lavender fields. An old barn has been converted into a demonstration centre, where you can learn about the myriad uses for this ever-popular herb.
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