DescriptionWest of Cape Henlopen, Lewes (LOO-is) was founded in 1631 by a group of settlers from Hoorn, Holland. Originally called Zwaanendael, Valley of the Swans, the little colony intended to establish an agricultural and whaling industry, but the Siconese Indians destroyed it within a year. The interruption was brief, however. Promptly rebuilt, the town flourished, surviving pirate attacks, British bombardment in the War of 1812 and the profusion of summer vacationers to its beaches.
The DeVries Monument on Pilottown Road commemorates the 1631 Dutch settlement. Constructed before the exact position of the Dutch fort was determined, the monument later was discovered to be on the site of the fortification's north bastion.
Lewes is the traditional home of the pilots who guide ships up Delaware Bay. This maritime orientation also makes the town a natural site for the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of Delaware.
Ferries connect Lewes with Cape May, N.J., daily. The 17-mile trip takes 85 minutes. For information write Cape May-Lewes Ferry, Cape May Terminal, 1200 Lincoln Blvd., Cape May, NJ 08204; phone (800) 643-3779. Cape May-Lewes ferry information also is available at AAA Mid-Atlantic, 55 Greentree Dr., in Dover; phone (302) 674-8020.
Visitor InfoLewes Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau 120 Kings Hwy. LEWES, DE 19958. Phone:(302)645-8073 or (877)465-3937
Self-guiding toursBrochures and maps, including a self-guiding maritime trail covering 12 sites, are available from the chamber of commerce and visitor bureau.
Things to SeeFisherman's Wharf Cruises