HE may be known as “a scrappy kid from Scranton” (in neighbouring Pennsylvania) but US President-elect Joe Biden has spent almost all of his adult life in Delaware.
It was here, in the USA’s second smallest state, that Joe’s political career began in 1970.
He served the state’s senator for 36 years and still has two homes here — but what is there for visitors to see and do in what is officially the oldest state in the country?
Joe and Jill Biden’s weekend getaway is in Rehoboth Beach, where they bought a £2million house in 2017.
Cedar shingled cottages, pale yellow sands and swaying palm trees give Rehoboth a seductive vibe.
Funland is a slightly retro, but gloriously fun, theme park with more than 20 rides (see funlandrehoboth.com), and there are more sophisticated thrills at Eden (edenrestaurant.com) — whose upscale American menu includes pan-seared rockfish and antelope tenderloin.
The Boardwalk Plaza Hotel (boardwalkplaza.com, doubles from £63) is a pink-and-white-coloured Victorian throwback with modern comforts — be sure to say hello to Emro, the resident parrot who happily greets guests in the lobby.
The Bidens’ main home for the last 25 years has been in the suburbs of Wilmington, in the far north of Delaware.
The largest city in the state (though the population is still only 122,000), the main draw to this attractive town is Winterthur (winterthur.org), the closest America gets to Downton Abbey.
With 175 rooms, this was the former home of horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont in the early 20th century. As you’d expect, the gardens — all 1,000 acres of them — are a paradise of rolling hills, streams, meadows and forests.
While you’re in town, stop by Biden’s favourite sandwich shop, Capriotti’s (capriottis.com).
Here, they make immense hoagie rolls — Joe has been spotted ordering their Italian subs with peppers and onions. At just 96 miles long from north to south, it’s easy to do the whole of Delaware in one day in the car.
Last month, the tourism board unveiled its new Discoveries Trail (delawarediscoveries.com), a collection of nine interactive artworks scattered across the state.
Download the map and you can immerse yourself in Laura Erickson’s peacock painting outside the Delaware Art Museum. Standing in front of it, you become part of the peacock.
Then head to the Cape May-Lewes ferry terminal where you’ll spot Christian Kanienberg’s spiral-shaped mural that looks like a school of fish swimming in a wave-like tube.
Picturesque Cape Henlopen is where the Bidens (and many others) head to de-stress from urban life on the American east coast.
Covering 7,000 acres of all but endless beach, ancient observation towers you can climb (this was a military fort during World War Two) and quiet little beach towns like Lewes, you can stroll for hours along the mouth of Delaware Bay, which projects out into the vastness of the Atlantic.
Stay at The Savannah Inn B&B (savannahinnlewes.com, doubles from £125), a handsome, family-run home with just six bedrooms and free breakfasts (a rarity in the US) served out on the porch.
GETTING THERE: Delaware is a three-and-a-half hour drive from New York or two hours from Washington DC. Fly to Washington DC with BA (returns from £268 in the BA sale at ba.com) then take an AmTrak train (amtrak.com) to Wilmington from £60 return with a 75-minute journey time.
MORE INFO: See visitdelaware.com.
JOE heads to the White House and takes office on January 20. Here’s what to do on your next trip to his new home city of Washington DC . . .
Get to grips with the legacy of his new job with a trip to the National Portrait Gallery (npg.si.edu), which houses paintings of all 45 previous presidents, from the iconic (Lincoln, of course) to the obscure (Chester A Arthur, anyone?) to the unfortunate (William Henry Harrison, who died of typhoid only 31 days after entering office in 1841).
And you thought Trump got himself into hot water? It’s nothing compared to Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon, who was ousted from the White House part way through his second term in 1974 after being almost impeached for organising a secret burglary and planting listening devices inside the Democrats’ campaign office in the Watergate building.
The Watergate Hotel (thewatergatehotel.com, doubles from £170), located inside the building, was completely renovated four years ago and has embraced the building’s murky past – you can now stay in the Scandal Room, which comes with 70s-era record players, reel-to-reel tape machines, typewriters and framed newspaper headlines from the time of Nixon’s downfall.
The 2020 presidential election was the first in modern times in which both candidates were lifetime teetotallers. Hark back to less health-conscious times with The Rickey – declared the city’s official cocktail ten years ago.
It was first created in the long-gone Shoemakers Bar on Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1880s. The site of that old dive bar is now a JW Marriott hotel (marriott.com), where you can drink a potent version of the concoction (made with gin, lime juice and soda) in its bar.
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