Zaniness at the annual Hummers Parade in Middletown.
MIDDLETOWN: SOMETHING FOR ALL
Middletown has managed to retain its small-town appeal even as its population and boundaries have grown. Opportunities for recreation abound in Middletown’s many parks. There’s never a shortage of space for any activity imaginable. The Charles E. Price Memorial Park is a 100-acre space with pavilions, open fields, a separate fenced-in dog park and even a catch-and-release fishing pond. Silver Lake Park has ball fields, tennis courts and skateboarding ramps. Middletown even has a pocket park tucked into a formerly unused alley on Main Street. The 500 square-foot space contains seating and decorative planters and artwork.
The historic Everett Theater, also on Main Street, stages plays and runs movies for adults and children. Residents can enjoy productions of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “Beauty and the Beast” on the main stage. Families can take the kids to the Playground Series, which features shorter plays and family friendly ticket prices. And no place else in the state plays host to such a send-up as the annual Hummers Parade on New Year’s Day
Middletown is served by the Appoquinimink School District, which is consistently recognized as being one of the state’s highest performers and the only one in Delaware to be named to the National AP Honor Roll twice. Factor in a healthy rivalry between the Appoquinimink and Middletown high schools, which gives everyone in town a reason to turn out on game day.
The quality of the schools contributes to a stable housing market. “A family can live here until their children turn 18 and graduate from high school, then the parents can retire to wherever they desire,” says Realtor Dave Watlington of Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate in Middletown.
Real estate varies widely in price and availability. Buyers can choose from waterfront bungalows near Appoquinimink Creek to newly constructed townhomes, Colonial styles and estate homes with as many as six bedrooms situated on two or more acres of land.
Millsboro: Ever Growing
Millsboro is one of the fastest growing areas in Sussex County. Schools matter in home-buying decisions and Millsboro real estate sits in one of the state’s best districts, the Indian River School District. Its schools serve more than 10,000 students, and its workforce is among the largest in Delaware. Its students have excelled so much on standardized tests that it has received eight National Blue Ribbon Awards. Single-family homes are available in both new and established communities from the $250s to the $400s and up. Proximity to the beaches and Indian River Bay are a plus for outdoor enthusiasts.
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Photo by Joe del Tufo
THE TRIANGLE: KIDS AND DOGS EVERYWHERE
When you think of urban neighborhood life, The Triangle is probably the idyll you picture. What makes this Wilmington neighborhood, named for its triangular borders, so appealing to young families is its small-town vibe. The Triangle is a place where people sit on front porches, throw block parties and Halloween parades, and watch out for each other.
It’s also quiet. “The one thing I like about it is it’s sort of isolated. There’s no need to cut through it,” says Judith Kolodgie, a 30-year resident and Realtor with ERA Cole Realty in Wilmington. “The traffic for the most part is really just the residents.”
Families appreciate the fact that a short walk takes them to nearby Brandywine Park. The housing stock dates from the 1910s and 1920s. It includes solid, free-standing homes, as well as semi-detached dwellings and twins. Styles include Queen Anne, Shingle, Dutch Colonial and Colonial Revival. Single and twins are available from $200,000 to $450,000.
There is a strong sense of community among the residents. The Triangle Neighborhood Association actively works to preserve the beauty and integrity of the neighborhood and to establish traditions that foster a sense of community. In addition to the annual block party and Halloween Parade, the TNA sponsors an annual yard sale. It also maintains a garden at the intersection of Augustine Cut-Off and West 18th Street, which serves as a gateway to the neighborhood.
Those efforts seem to be working. Kolodgie says residents have such a strong sense of loyalty that they move within the neighborhood rather than move away.
“There are people who like it so much that they will buy a bigger—or smaller house if their needs change and only move a block or two away,” she says. “Others grow up here and then move back into the neighborhood.”