I’ve driven through Delaware on my way to New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, but I’ve never stopped there before. Dover is less than three hours away, so over the long weekend, we decided to check it out.
We started off on Saturday with a detour to Rehoboth Beach for a quick ocean fix. There’s a kitschy little main street lined with clothing stores, candy shops, and restaurants, and capped off by a gazebo with a dolphin statue.
Rehoboth has the requisite tall grass and sand fences that I expect on the east coast, and a long, clean beach that was surprisingly busy for a weekend in October. Though it was a balmy 81 degrees, so maybe everyone was out for a last hurrah. (Sunday was about 30 degrees cooler!)
On Sunday, we headed for historic downtown Dover after breakfast. The area is a quaint section of older government buildings and homes, and a few streets of restaurants and boutiques, which don’t open on Sundays until 1:30.
We seem to have a knack for showing up when everything’s closed (Bermuda anyone?), but we just drove around. We’re not big on food and shopping as tourism anyway.
Instead we had lunch and then checked out Dover Air Force Base, and the Air Mobility Command (AMC) museum. You can’t be married to an aerospace engineer who’s in the Air Force and not enjoy a good airplane museum. 😉 My youngest has the flight bug too, so he was excited to check out the planes, even though AMC is all about transport, not the sexy fighters.
Dover is home to the massive C-5, the largest cargo plane the Air Force has, but those aren’t on display at the museum. You can see them in action taking off and landing on the runway. We did get to walk through a C-130 and a C-141. I’ve been inside many planes at museums (see previous paragraph), but this was probably the first time I’ve toured those two back to back.
I was surprised how much smaller the C-130 is, but it makes sense considering it’s used for tactical airlift (intra-theater). The museum had a section of the tarmac with rectangular outlines depicting the cargo footprint for each type of plane. The C-5’s cargo capacity is an incredible 144 feet long by 19 feet wide, and 220,000 pounds! By comparison, the C-130 has a meager 41 by 10 feet, and can carry 52,000 pounds.
On our way home yesterday, we stopped in Annapolis for another quick shot of water scenery. It’s such a cute town, but the residential streets near the water are incredibly narrow and lined with cars on both sides. It reminded me of driving in Georgetown. Thankfully, there was no Navy game traffic to contend with this time, just a boat show.
All of the things we saw were nice—I love to explore—but the best part was three days of family time. If we’d stayed home, we would have each been wrapped up in our own activities most of the day. Instead, we hung out together.
That alone made the whole trip worth it.
Steve & Sally Wharton