Wednesday, June 16, 2021 / by Jay Lesko
The Federal Writers’ Project published one of 47 federally-commissioned state guidebooks back in 1938. These guide books were full of history and folklore and one particular inscription raises eyebrows in question about Lewes. It reads as follows: “Lewes has been plundered by privateers and has bargained with Captain Kidd for his loot; it has (been) bombarded in war, and knows all about shipwreck and sunken treasure.”
Founded in 1631 by the Dutch, Lewes is home to a number of museums and historically significant structures. The quiet, peaceful town that is modern day Lewes is a far cry from the dramatic events that helped to shape the coastal community. It is steeped in history and is a popular retirement destination. Whether you choose to lounge the day away on Rehoboth Beach or enjoy the dining experience Fisherman's Wharf has on offer, Lewes has something to satisfy most tastes.
Charming with fewer crowds
For those who want to immerse themselves in the charms of a coastal town sans the crowds, Lewes would be a perfect fit! This town is meant for walking, and most of the quaint attractions can be appreciated on foot. Wander the Historic District and admire the unique architecture. Browse a few downtown shops, such as The Vintage Underground. This basement-level store is stocked with vinyl and other rare finds. After working up an appetite from touring the antique shops and souvenir stores a sweet treat from Edie Bee’s Confection Shop will round off any shopping excursion satisfactorily.
It is not unreasonable to assume that the sunset at Cape Henlopen inspired many romantic proposals. Covering over 4,000 acres of preserved land, the Cape Henlopen State Park has attractions for the whole family. Twitchers can make use of The Point Overlook at Cape Henlopen as the great vantage point is ideal for birdwatching. In spring and fall shorebirds, songbirds and raptors can be seen in impressive numbers. A hawk watch runs from April to May and again from September to October during the year. Winter brings the opportunity to observe snow bunting, common eider and snowy owl.
Those interested in a biking adventure can borrow a bike for free and take a loop around the park. Gordons Pond Trail, spanning 3.2 miles, tours the various ecosystems found in the park. A variety from sand dunes to wetlands can be found here and is well worth exploring.
As Delaware reopens, remember to plan ahead and adhere to safety precautions. It is suggested to travel at non-peak times as this will aid in social distancing. Weekdays or the fall season are ideal quiet times to visit the beaches.
Apart from the Fort Miles Historical Area that provides kids and adults alike with an educational experience, some of the best schools in the county can be found in Lewes. With a graduation rate of around 91%, Cape Henlopen High School is ranked 13th within Delaware according to the national rankings determined by US News. Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement coursework. With an AP participation rate at 39%, Cape Henlopen High School has a total minority enrollment of about 33%.
The Cape Henlopen School District is planning to build a middle school with a capacity for 600 students on the existing site of Shields Elementary. If approved, the new three-storey school will open in fall 2024.
Delaware has the seventh lowest property tax rate in the US. With an average property tax rate of 0.56%, a home with a market value of $200,000 would have taxes hovering around $1,120 annually.
With more than 1,500 dwellings available in Lewes, the greater majority of which is single family homes with 3 bedrooms, the average monthly rental floats around $1342 per month. A large number of homes in Lewes are required to have flood insurance which can set you back anything from $200 to $2,000.
A mix of modern homes (buildings from 2000 and newer) as well as older homes (1970 - 1999) make up the majority of homes in Lewes. A few special buildings, under the protection of the Lewes Historical Society, date back to the 1700s. The selection of homes in Lewes is quite impressive. From oceanfront houses supported by piles alongside the beach, to charming cottages and modern condos, your dream home could quite possibly be waiting in Lewes.
Homes range in price from $150,000 for starter homes and investment properties to well over $2 million that includes sprawling acreage and a well-equipped home.
It is well-known that Delaware features tax-free shopping, but there are a host of other tax benefits present in Delaware’s southernmost county that we will take a closer look at.
No sales tax
This well-known benefit is a major advantage to living in Delaware. Many people in the surrounding areas visit the First State and take advantage of tax-free shopping. Who doesn’t love sale prices virtually every day of the year?
No Social Security tax
You read that right. When it comes to Social Security income, there is no state tax in Delaware, which explains why a significant portion of the residents are aged over 55. Those extra dollars available, due to not being taxed on these funds, can amount to a significant number.
No Inheritance tax
On 1 Jan, 2018, Delaware repealed its estate tax, based on the recommendations from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Revenues. This is a huge benefit to older families, who can bequeath their estates without drawing the hungry eye of the tax man. Pension exclusions, school tax credits and an absence of personal property taxes nicely adds to the tax perks Lewes has on offer.
Located on the sparkling shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, this quaint coastal bursts with life and community spirit. A wide variety of real estate options adorns the Lewes area, and while the city limit is quite small, the host of communities and suburbs and farmlands that fall within the real estate boundaries contributes to the selection of housing styles and prices. In short there is something for everyone in this charming all-American town.