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Kalmar Nyckel Tall Ship of Delaware, Visits Solomons Island

Photo by Andrew Hanna

The Calvert Marine Museum is hosting the Kalmar Nyckel, The Tall Ship of Delaware, on June 22 – 24 in Solomons, Maryland. This queen of the tall ship fleet will offer public sails and tours.

The Kalmar Nyckel is an authentic re-creation of a 17th century Dutch built vessel, one of America’s pioneering “Tall Ships” that brought some of the earliest permanent settlers to the colonies. The ship’s historical accuracy reflects the sailing methodology of the early 1600’s, which passengers can experience for themselves.  The ship has 8 sails, 8 miles of rigging, and a crew of dedicated volunteer sailors to make the trip exciting for all. 

The original Kalmar Nyckel sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638, leaving her passengers to establish the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, at Fort Christina in present-day Wilmington, Delaware. Because of her historical accuracy, Kalmar Nyckel was featured last year in National Geographic Television’s “Return of the Ghost Ship,” which aired in 124 countries around the world.   This documentary explored a “ghost ship” from the 1630’s found intact at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. 

The Kalmar Nyckel will dock at Watermen’s Wharf, Solomons, located next to the Chesapeake Biological Lab Visitors Center and will offer pirate sails on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and sunset sails from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Kalmar Nyckel will host free ship tours open to the public from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and a pirate sail from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. All sails are $60 for adults and $40 for ages 17 and younger. For tickets and more information, please contact the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation office at (302) 429-7447 (toll free at 866-659-7447) or 

Calvert Marine Museum

Solomons, MD

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In the spring of 2001, one multi-millionaire made national headlines by becoming the first space tourist.  Hundreds of Delawareans can do something even more fantastic-they can “travel” through time while never leaving the State.  Local historical museums and sites invite you to participate in a wide range of activities.  Visit a Native American longhouse, climb into the cockpit of a C-141 Starlifter, learn to make candles, soap and care for livestock.  All this can be yours, as you become a Delaware Time Traveler.

First Stop: Greenbank Mill

Located on Red Clay Creek in Wilmington, Greenbank Mill has a rich and varied history.  At one time there were many mills along the once abundant stream; today, only the Greenbank Mill remains. The original mill dates back to the 17th century and according to local legend, George Washington’s army used flour and baked goods from the mill. In the 1800’s a second stone building was added to process wool.

Greenbank Mill

Wilmington, DE


Talk to Union and Confederate Soldiers

Fort Delaware State Park, a Union fortress was originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia.  At one time it served as a prison for Confederate prisoners of War.  From the parking area in Delaware City, visitors take a one-half mile ferry ride to Pea Patch Island aboard the Three Fort Ferry.  A jitney provides transportation from the dock to the fort, where authentically –clad historic interpreters begin your journey back to the summer of 1863.

The day is filled with hands-in history, which might include helping the blacksmith hammer out parts for a cannon or working with the laundress. Visitors can become “civilian inspectors” reporting on conditions at the post.  Cooks, Laundresses, Blacksmiths, sutlers, soldiers, and politicians may be in attendance.

Fort Delaware State Park

Delaware City, Delaware

Visit the Nineteenth Century at Hagley

Hagley Museum is where the du Pont story begins in the Brandywine Valley, and features the original du Pont mills, estate, and gardens on 235 acres along the Brandywine River.

Indoors, you can explore the first du Pont home built in America in 1803.  The Residence reflects the tastes of the five du Pont generations that lived there.

On Blacksmith Hill, part of the workers’ community has been restored.  The din of old power tools in operation can be heard in the restored 1880s machine shop. Learn about the 19th century industrial age by visiting the working roll mill and steam engine.

Hagley Museum and Library

Wilmington, Delaware

Climb Into the Massive C-141 Starlifter

The Air Mobility Command Museum at the Dover Air Force Base houses a growing collection of planes and artifacts.  Many visitors don’t realize Delaware was the home of the first operational WASP (Woman Airforce Service Pilots) during WWII.  One exhibit details what it took to become a female pilot for the military during those early years.  Two original uniforms, designed by the WASPs themselves, are on display.  These were the first blue Air Force uniforms.    

The Air Mobility Command Museum

Dover, Delaware


Portions of this story were first published in the News Journal in 2001 under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.