Some of us love the cold winter months because of the feeling that life is slowing down long enough for us to reflect and recharge. That said, it’s easy to get a bit stir-crazy on cold days and to wish you could get out and do something new.
If you live anywhere in Delaware, you’re in luck. Our vibrant cultural scene lasts all year, with so many opportunities to enjoy the arts and recreational and continuing education activities.
In an effort to make your planning easier, I’m going to spotlight a few notable activities for February. This week I’m focusing on New Castle County.
Check out some lesser-known but no-less wonderful Andrew Wyeth works at the Brandywine Museum of Art
Rooted to our state by more than 100 years of history of their lives and work, the Wyeths continue to cast a spell over so many Delawareans. Andrew Wyeth in particular is treasured for his atmospheric landscapes and portraits of people he knew during his time in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and in coastal Maine.
He’s lesser known for what the Brandywine Museum of Art views as speculative influences to his painted storylines. The vague shape of what might be a dead bird on the branch of a leafless tree on a brutally cold winter day. A view of a pool that would be frozen over on that same day but is depicted to show the mysterious depths beneath its surface. A snow-covered road in the forest that winds its way toward a bend cast in a subtly sinister light.
As Wyeth saw it, “my struggle is to preserve that abstract flash, like something you caught out of the corner of your eye.”
Between now and February 18th you have the opportunity to view 38 watercolors with this abstract vibe. It’s a moody and wonderful collection perfect for your deep winter moods. Learn more about the collection and tickets at https://www.visitwilmingtonde.com/things-to-do/abstract-flash-unseen-andrew-wyeth/
Step back in time in historic New Castle
The historic district of New Castle is one of Delaware’s most beautiful places. Sited on the Delaware River, a crucial shipping lane from the country’s early years to today, it’s filled with perfectly preserved colonial and Victorian architecture and centered by a vibrant downtown offering quaint shops and restaurants.
Your first stop could be the New Castle Historical Society, which operates three historic house museums – the circa 1690 Dutch House, the 1738 Amstel House, and the 1892 Old Library Museum. All three are open for tours, programs and exhibitions all year. Learn about the offerings and tickets at https://www.newcastlehistory.org/. At that same link you’ll find a Calendar of Events https://www.newcastlehistory.org/events to consider in the coming months.
Enjoy comfort foods with a colonial vibe
While you’re in New Castle, take time out for lunch or dinner at Jessop’s Tavern. It’s a beautiful colonial-themed restaurant with wide plank wood floors, a beamed ceiling and a gorgeous working fireplace. The menu is perfect for a cold winter day, with its famous mussels and other seafood dishes and oven-baked pot pies https://jessops-tavern.com/#
If you tour other historic places, check out Buckley’s Tavern in Centreville https://buckleystavern.com/. It’s another architecturally preserved marvel that was built in 1817 as a private residence on Kennett Pike, where it later became a stagecoach and tollgate stop. You can enjoy fireside dining, a festive bar, and a menu with all kinds of comfort food presented with elegant flair.
Newark is another well-preserved historic town and site of the University of Delaware. There’s lots to see during a day trip, and when it’s time for lunch or dinner you’ll have a wonderful experience at The Deer Park Tavern https://www.deerparktavern.com/. It’s a landmarked hot spot dating back to 1851 and also offers a fine pub-style menu.
There are many more historic taverns that are especially appealing during the colder, darker months – places where you can enjoy quiet conversation with your family and friends or find lots of camaraderie around the bar. Check out this list https://delawaretoday.com/food/historic-taverns/ from Delaware Today, and this very robust list of things to do all around the Wilmington and Brandywine Valley https://www.visitwilmingtonde.com/ so you can plan your trip.