Making the decision to relocate you and your family is always a MAJOR decision. I understand that, I have relocated at least 5 times in the last 10 years. Finally, I decided to settle down in Lewes, DE. There are many things I wish I knew when I got here… So, this is now YOUR guide to relocating to the very first town in the very first state. People from all walks of life relocate here for so many reasons. Mostly, for the tax-free living, and the easy going beach life. But there is more to Lewes than meets the eye.
Some History about Lewes…
Lewes is 375 years old, and sits 6 miles from Rehoboth beach. A lot of history has happened here (so much that it is almost impossible for me to list everything here!). Lewes was the first European settlement in Delaware. Dutch settlers founded Lewes as a whaling and trading post on June 3, 1631. It was originally named Zwaanendael which translates to “Swan Valley”. This colony only existed for one year. The local Lenape tribe wiped the 32 settlers out in 1632.
In 1682 the Delaware colonies were given to William Penn by the King in payment of debt. When Penn arrived later that year, he renamed the county as Sussex and the Hoernkills Settlement as Lewes. In England, there is a town called Lewes, in a county called Sussex. Crazy right? Now, here we are.
Some History about Rehoboth Beach…
Our earliest settlers were Native Americans who traveled to and stayed at the beach during the summer months for the abundance in seafood and cool breezes. In the years between 1650 and 1675 English and Dutch Settlers rooted themselves here, and the area became a wonderful home for farmers and members of William Penns earliest legislature.
In 1872, Reverend Robert W. Todd of St. Paul’s M.E. Church in Wilmington visited a Camp Meeting area on the Jersey Shore. In 1873 he pursued the idea of starting a camp area here on the Delaware coast. He purchased 414 acres from the local farmers and the Rehoboth Camp Meeting Association was formed. The grounds were laid out in a fan shaped design with wide streets, parks, and building lots. The design is largely intact to this day.
In 1891, Delaware’s General Assembly established a municipality for the territory, naming it Henlopen City. Later that year, it was renamed Rehoboth beach. The boardwalk was originally built in 1873 on the high ground between the beach and Surf Ave, which ran the full length of the oceanfront. Many storms have changed what this looks like, and now it is a mile long.
In 1925, we got our first paved highway. It ran from Georgetown to Rehoboth Beach. It helped link the resorts with the paved roads that went towards D.C. Not too long after that, we became the nations’ Summer Capital. Downtown Rehoboth Beach came of age in the era of Victorian influences and evolved throughout the 20th century to change with the times. Both the residential and commercial areas of this town have kept their warm and friendly charm that reflects our historic past.
Here are some good things to know for relocating to this particular area…
The Lewes / Rehoboth Beach area is a great place to retire! This area offers the third lowest real estate tax area in the U.S.A.! It is under $1000 a year for an average 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. Compare that to taxes in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania! We have no estate tax. Additionally, Senior Citizens receive a 35% discount on their property taxes. Isn’t that fantastic? Not to mention between Delaware and Maryland, both boast some of the best beachfront property available in the mid-Atlantic region. Even in the winter, there are many places to hike, relax, and just stroll and enjoy the scenery. One of the many selling points about Delaware in general, is the lack of sales tax! Rehoboth has an abundance of outlet stores, and unique boutiques to browse.
If you are looking to have a custom home built here, even better! For book lovers and shop-a-holics, Lewes Beach has you covered from over 150 factory outlet stores, in our very large Tanger outlet complex (there has to be AT LEAST 5 of them on Route 1 alone, it would take a few days just to get through every store); to the brand new library that is being built in the town of Lewes. We have a great library system here in Sussex county! But the great thing is, unlike most places, once you obtain a library card here you can use it at any county library. That is A LOT of books!
Also, if you are from those states I previously mentioned and looking for a summer retreat, you’re in luck because you are within 200 miles of those state lines! It is about 150 miles from here to Richmond, VA, and about 125 miles to Philadelphia, PA – which are both quick and easy rides. Our crime rate is sort of non-existent. Property taxes for non-seniors on average are around $1200 a month. Most of our tiny town, is small business peppered with corporate chains all over.
Like I have mentioned before, there are so many awesome reasons about re-locating here. Building Custom Homes, and renovating your existing home, is what we specialize in. When you do decide to relocate, you have Toback Builders here to build your beachfront dream home, or renovate your kitchen or bathroom. Come visit us when you are ready, and we will help you begin your journey!
Until Next Time Friends…
Nicole D. Toback’s Resident Blogger