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Delaware shopping/outlets/antiques

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Did You Know … ?

  • For Americans, shopping malls are the third most frequented location, after home and work.
  • Southern Delaware counts more than 500 antiques dealers.
  • DuPont built the world’s first nylon production plant in Seaford, Del. (1939).
  • Three-quarters of Americans visit a mall at least once a month.
  • American shoppers spend $105 per mall visit and average $3,910 in annual mall spending.

Shopaholicism without taxes

Delaware’s tourism promoters frequently trumpet — for the benefit of vacationers who like to shop — that the state has no sales tax. And, certainly, there are shoppers who converge on Delaware specifically to take advantage of the no-tax price benefit.

Others choose a short — or not-so-short — jaunt into the state for specific products, such as antiques or Amish-made goods. Southern Delaware is known for its antiques dealers and, for lots of goodies in one place, there is an annual antiques show in Wilmington. As for the Amish goods, they vary from homemade food items to well-crafted furniture, found in the Dover area.

More typically, the shopping is one facet of a beach vacation or a holiday built around multiple attractions or special events. Regardless of motivation, shoppers of all stripes descend on the same establishments, which range from relatively large shopping malls to farmers markets, boutiques and specialty shops.

One of the more unusual opportunities is the annual one-day Whale of a Sale, a charity event sponsored by the Wilmington Junior League. Called Delaware’s largest garage sale, it is so popular some buyers camp out overnight to gain first entry in the morning.

In the souvenir category, some shops offer or even specialize in Delaware products; Delaware Made General Store in Dover is the prime example. Furthermore, certain other Delaware goods enhance the shopping day, meaning local beers, wine and seafood.

The larger shopping centers offer restaurants and sometimes movies or entertainment events. They also offer varying ways to qualify for special shopping discounts and may have mobile apps for assistance with finding specific stores or products. The malls are:

  • Christiana Mall in Newark, Del., in the northern part of the state. Delaware’s largest mall, it has more than 130 stores.
  • Concord Mall, with more than 90 stores, located north of Wilmington.
  • Dover Mall in the state capital, with more than 85 stores.
  • Tanger Outlets, offering the winning combination of outlet prices and tax-free shopping in multiple sites near Rehoboth Beach.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Bid for a favored treasure at one of the auction houses on Loockerman Street in Dover.
  • For another type of shopping excursion, build an itinerary around Delaware Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail and sample the goods.
  • Wanna a break from your shopping (or someone else’s shopping)? The Dover International Speedway is not so far from the Dover Mall.
  • Join an autumn Amish Country Bike Tour that winds through Dover with stops at food shops. Refuel with homemade pie.
  • Visit New Castle Farmers Market for the region’s largest weekend flea market. Also, make the rounds at this and any other farmers market for foods to eat and to carry home.
  • Shop for rare collectibles in Bethany Beach, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. How about that Ben Franklin invention, the busybody — a set of three mirrors set up to warn of visitors at the front door? Lotsa fun, if you can find it or the like.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Shop for souvenirs or gifts that say Delaware. The Museum Store at Winterthur, the former home of Henry Francis du Pont, sells DuPont-inspired home decor, books and gifts. Or consider your options at the Delaware Made General Store in Dover.
  • Looking for artsy goods? Scour the shops on Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach or Walnut Street in downtown Milford.
  • In New Castle, let guided historic tours lead you to museum gift shop options.
  • For really satisfying bargain hunting, drop by upscale resale clothing stores in Centreville or Wilmington. Then, there is the November Whale of Sale presented by the Wilmington Junior League.
  • If serious about antiquing, put Wilmington’s autumn Delaware Antiques Show on your calendar.
  • Make the rounds of Amish shops, beginning with Byler’s Amish Country Store in Dover. Then, zero in on opportunities for Amish furniture. Order custom furnishings.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Knuckle down for a long shopping spree at one or more of the state’s largest malls, from Christiana in the north to the Tanger Outlets at Rehoboth Beach. Download the Cristiana Mall App to find your way around.
  • Check the dates and plan a shopping outing during annual Resort Area Spring and Fall Sidewalk Sales, held in Delaware’s beach towns.
  • Look for the stylish boutiques and specialty shops in Greenville, Lewes, Newark or Rehoboth Beach.
  • Go to the movies next door to the Christiana Mall or right on site at the Dover Mall.
  • Before making purchases at Tanger Outlets, look for special offers on the Web. Also, if an AAA member, pick up a free coupon book on site.
  • Mealtime is shopping time, too. Choose restaurants specializing in fresh Delaware seafood.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Delaware Tourism Office at www.visitdelaware.com