A new six-hour Sussex County history and eco tour will give guests a look at the Dupont Nature Center, the Milford Museum, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center and the history of the Mispillion River, which connects them all.
Delmarva Discovery Tours of Milford has teamed up with those groups and Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford to offer a unique tour that allows guests a view of the Delaware’s southernmost county.
The tour includes transportation from/to the beach and within a 20-mile radius of Milford, with stops at the three venues for guided experiences.
It’s designed for families, small groups, people who love history, birders, small town lovers, those with a shipbuilding interest, day trippers, kids, grandparents — and even people new to the Sussex County area, which is one of Delaware’s fastest-growing population centers.
Janis Markopolous of Delmarva Discovery Tours said the eco-tour is partly a collaborative effort to drive more tourism to Milford by focusing on the Mispillion River.
“Each venue will have their own talking points,” she said. “We have two Ford Transit shuttles, one seats 14 and one 11. We will meet at the museum for a guided tour and talk along the Riverwalk and around the museum. There will be free time for lunch before we drive to the Dupont Nature Center and, last but not least, to Abbott’s Mill for a mill tour.”
At the Milford Museum, guests will hear about the river and how it has changed over the years.
“We will talk about the importance of the river in the town’s commerce and industry over time, especially the shipbuilding industry,” said Nicole Rogers, Operations Manager at the Milford Museum. “We also talk about the Native Americans who called the area home before the first settlers arrived in Milford.
“This is a fun, casual tour that will not only be informative, but will give those on the tour a new appreciation of the Mispillion River.”
After lunch, which is not included in the tour price, guests will go to the DuPont Nature Center, where Lynne Pusey said it is exciting to be part of the new tour.
“The DuPont Nature Center is located at the mouth of the Mispillion River, where it empties into the Delaware Bay,” she said. “Many of the ships that were historically built in downtown Milford were brought out to the bay using the Mispillion River.”
Participants will learn additional information about the historical importance of the Mispillion River and the unique natural ecology of the Mispillion Harbor, which is known for the large numbers of spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds that visit each spring, she said.
“The nature center provides an excellent view of the Mispillion Harbor from its observation deck and includes exhibits dedicated to the natural history and ecology of the Mispillion Harbor and the Delaware Bay,” she said.
Guests will be given a brief presentation when they arrive and then be allowed to explore the exhibits and aquariums in the center and take some time to view the Mispillion Harbor.
The final stop on the tour will be Abbott’s Mill Nature Center. According to Stephen Childers, the experience there will be similar to what the organization offers monthly to the public.
“I’ll explain how a mill like Abbott’s would have operated and its historical significance and I’ll operate the millstones using the water powered turbine as we don’t actually grind any grain,” Childers said.
“We will do our best to also have our huge Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine running and operating the roller mills. Because I depend on volunteers to run the engine, this may not be possible on every tour. Every family will get a handout that further explains how the mill operated.”
The tour price varies depending on the pickup site. It’s $49 for those meeting guides in Milford; $59 for those being transported from Lewes, Rehoboth and Dewey; and $69 for those being transported from Bethany, Millville, Oceanview and Fenwick. That price does not include tips or lunch.
The tour now is offered on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during June, July, August and September. The minimum group size for the tour will be seven to eight people. The maximum will be 25. Children younger than 5 are not allowed in the grain mill. Comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen are recommended.
Delmarva Discovery Tours also offers brewery tours, winery tours, farm tours, antiquing tours and more. For additional information, call 302-260-9008 or go to www.delmarvadiscoverytours.com.
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