Jean and Matt recently moved from Montgomery Township to Lewes, Delaware, to build their dream home. Lewes is a coastal city, with a rich history and an abundance of attractions and beaches. It is for these empty nesters the perfect location to start their next chapter of life. They are excited to put down roots in this community and become a part of its culture. They are renting a home until the construction of their new home is completed, and last summer, they invited us to Lewes for a relaxing weekend getaway and to show us their new home town.
Lewes is a charming coastal city in the mid-Atlantic state of Delaware. It is known for its rich history dating back to the colonial era. Before Europeans settled in Delaware, the area was home to the Lenni Lenape (also known as Delaware), Susquehanna, Nanticoke, and other first nation cultures. With a history dating back to 1631, it is not surprising to find many homes in Lewes of historical and architectural interest. Lewes is a popular tourist destination attracting visitors to its historical landmarks, Victorian-style homes, beautiful beaches, and seafood restaurants. The city is on Delaware Bay which offers various water activities like fishing, boating, and kayaking. Lewes is also home to the historic Lewes Lightship, a museum ship that reminds us of the city's maritime heritage.
Lewes is direct across Delaware Bay from Cape May, New Jersey. There is no bridge or tunnel between the two coastal towns. A ferry service between Lewes and Cape May is the only form of transportation for those who want to cross Delaware Bay. The ferry provides a convenient way to travel between the two destinations, with frequent daily departures and arrivals eliminating the need to drive around the bay or take a longer route. Our original plan was to stay in Cape May Friday night, enjoy dinner on the waterfront, and then take our car onto the ferry Saturday morning. The ferry would have offered us a scenic and historic journey across the bay, offering gorgeous views of the coast and the surrounding waterways. But when I learned that it would add two hours to our trip, we decided to drive through Philadephia. That was a mistake.
We left our home in New Jersey on Saturday morning, arriving in the early afternoon, a bit later than planned. We encountered what we later learned was the weekend Delaware and Maryland shore traffic. Matt and Jean had prepared a delicious meal to enjoy on their backyard patio. We chatted for awhile about their move to Lewes and the people they had met. Bhvna and I learned how to manoeuvre around their two large dogs, who didn't seem too keen on having visitors.
After lunch, Matt and Jean took us downtown to show us some of their favourite spots. I packed my digital and analogue street photography kit, my Fuji X-T3 and XF27mmF2.8 R WR lens, and my 40-year-old Minolta XD-11 loaded with Kodak Portra 160 and attached my MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 lens. As I've mentioned, the XF27mmF2.8 R WR lens, with its APS-C "perfect normal" field of view, is my favourite. A close second is the 35mm perfect normal MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2.
I alternated between capturing my day with the digital or analogue camera1. There were several historical places of interest (e.g. Zwaanendael Museum, Colonel David Hall House) on my photography shot list. Still, I wanted to be considerate of our hosts' plans for the afternoon. We didn't visit the inside of any of the historical attractions.
The streets of Lewes were crammed with people shopping at local boutiques, enjoying ice cream cones, and strolling the waterfront. The harbour was filled with boats of all sizes, from kayaks to yachts and speedboats, and the cries of the seagulls could be heard overhead. Matt and Jean wanted to show us Lewes Beach, so we walked across the bridge to Lewes Beach. As we crossed the bridge, I photographed the Keen Lady IV.
The Keen Lady IV, a well-known luxury motor yacht, is docked on the Lewes side of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal near Fisherman's Wharf. I was told that the Keen Lady IV symbolises Lewes' commitment to preserving its maritime heritage while embracing modern luxury and style. The presence of the Keen Lady IV, surrounded by historical landmarks and seafood restaurants, adds to the city's feeling of leisure and luxury.
Walking east along Savannah Road, we arrived at the Bayview Avenue entrance to Lewes Beach, packed with people. It was a primarily cloudless and sunny day in July, and I think the beach was ideal for some people to enjoy the weather. The beach is surrounded by several local shops and restaurants, making it a convenient spot for a full day of fun.
We then walked back to her car, and Jean drove us through Cape Henlopen State Park over to Cape Henlopen Beach. We were driving through Cape Henlopen State Park, and the road winds through lush greenery and towering trees. I saw several lookout points which must provide incredible glimpses of wildlife and nature. Jean told us that Cape Henlopen State Park offers visitors a diverse range of hiking trails. From easy, flat walks along the beach to challenging, rocky climbs through dense forests. Jean mentioned that the Seaside Nature Trail is favoured by photographers seeking to experience the park's unique coastal ecosystem. The trail winds through dunes and wetlands, providing opportunities to spot various bird species and other wildlife. As we drove along, I kept thinking, "I need to come back for a longer visit and exploration".
As we approached Cape Henlopen Beach near the end of Post Road, the scenery changed to dunes and ocean vistas. Jean parked, and we stepped out of the car to soak in the beauty of this pristine beach. The smell of saltwater and the sound of crashing waves filled the air, inviting us to go for a swim. I wanted to spend some time relaxing on the sand and enjoying a peaceful moment, but the weather was too hot for Bhavna, especially since we walked around quite a bit. We returned with Jean and Matt to shower, take a short nap, and freshen up before dinner.
We dined near the dock at the Harbour Restaurant at Canal Square, a fine dining restaurant located on the southwestern bank of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. The restaurant offers a unique dining experience with views of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, which runs through Canal Square. The menu featured fresh seafood, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. The atmosphere is elegant and warm, and the staff are welcoming. I am sure the restaurant is a popular choice for special occasions, romantic dinners, and intimate gatherings. Jean and Matt are regulars.
The next day, Matt and Jean had planned something special. After breakfast, we met with Matt's sister, her husband, and some locals Matt and Jean had befriended. We started the day's adventure with a Birding By Boat scenic boat ride on Cape Water Tours for a tour along the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. The boat left the dock, slowly moving past the docked Keen Lady IV before passing under the Savannah Road Bridge.
The boat moved even slower as we approached a control device that helps regulate the flow of water in the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal. This device is designed to control the water level in the canal, ensuring that it remains at a safe and stable level for boats. Our captain explained that the device consists of several components, including gates, valves, and pumps, which work together to regulate water flow. The gates are opened or closed to allow water to flow in or out of the canal while the valves and pumps control the water's pressure and volume. Passing through the gate required our boat to accelerate rapidly as we passed through. Our experience captain got it through unscathed.
I wish I had known what Jean and Matt were planning for the weekend. I would have rented a super telephoto. We could see the picturesque landscapes of the historic waterway and surrounding wetlands and marshes. The canal, which runs through the heart of Delaware Bay, is a haven for a diverse range of bird species, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and migratory birds.
Our captain, Captain Madie Voshell, was also our tour guide. Her friendly and personable demeanour made the experience even more enjoyable. She provided insights and information about the history and ecology of the area. She pointed out various birds and conveyed insights into the birds' behaviour, habitats, and migration patterns. The boat ride was enjoyable, but I wish I had known. I would have rented a super telephoto. I want to come back and do this again.
The Lewes and Rehoboth Canal is lined with a mix of historical and modern waterfront homes, each with its unique character and style, offering a glimpse into the lifestyle of the people of the Delaware coast. I assume that, like Princeton, many homes have been passed down through generations and have been well-maintained, preserving their classic architectural styles and vintage charm. Some homes have been updated with modern amenities, while others retain their original details, such as shingle siding, wraparound porches, and stained glass windows.
Bhavna and I talked about what it must be like living along the canal surrounded by lush greenery with scenic views of the wetlands and marshes, creating a peaceful and serene environment. Many homes have private docks and boathouses, allowing residents to enjoy the water and all it offers.
Our tour took us down to the area near the Henlopen Acres Marina on the border with Rehoboth. Our captain turned the boat around, and we got to experience the canal for a second time.
Bhavna and I want to go back to Lewes at some point. While driving around, we saw several condos that may be available for early and late summer rentals on Airbnb. Bhavna doesn't like being outdoors in the summer heat.
After our boat ride, we walked to Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant for lunch. We sat outside despite the heat, enjoying conversation and the sounds of the gulls overhead.
We would have stayed into the evening, but I ran into an urgent medical challenge. I had miscalculated the amount of insulin I would need for the weekend. The cartridge in my "t:slim" insulin pump was nearly empty, and I estimated I would run out of insulin in a few hours. I explained the situation to Matt and Jean, and we hurriedly packed our things and left for home. Bhavna drove as fast as possible, but the insulin cartridge was empty before we were halfway home. My blood sugar started to spike, but luckily we made it home before it entered dangerous territory.
- The X-T3 made sharper and more colour-accurate photographs than the analogue kit. ?