Photos by Joe Del Tufo
These seven neighborhoods throughout Delaware are known for their unparalleled amenities, luxury homes and community spirit.
As the real estate market continues to percolate for home sellers, new construction both upstate and down focuses on creating spaces where residents can have it all. From live music shows and Halloween parades to beautiful homes galore, here are just a few of Delaware’s hottest neighborhoods.
Sedgley Farms, Greenville
It’s hard to stay hidden among the bustling stretch of commerce and innovation along Lancaster Pike that includes CSC headquarters, Agilent Technologies, Caper & Lemons and more. But neighbors say secluded Sedgley Farms, with its blend of old and new homes, is their little secret.
Why? For starters, there’s no sign out front. “People don’t know we’re here, but we’ve been here forever,” says Jen Lee, a Sedgley Farms resident and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.
“We’re very old-school. We have Block Watch captains. We greet our new neighbors. We have Halloween parties with gingersnaps and apple cider and a parade for the kids.”
But this neighborhood is no Mayberry. While there are historic homes and structures—including the circa 1805 James Armor tollhouse—and residents who have been around since the neighborhood was developed in the ’60s, it also includes luxurious new builds. Brand-new construction on spacious family homes includes breezy, open floor plans, bayed windows and pro-level kitchens.
Draped in farmland and mature trees, Sedgley Farms is picturesque, especially with nearby Barley Mill and Mt. Cuba Center serving as a backdrop. A longstanding relationship with the Tatnall School allows residents to mosey through preserved walking paths on a secluded, 90-year-old, 100-acre private land trust.
“I’ve been here since 1998 and I’m actually in my second house in the neighborhood,” Lee says. “I love Sedgley Farms because the houses here tend to have bigger lots. We have space, but we’re still close as a community. There’s definitely a strong family-type feel that you just don’t get at most places.”
And when the neighborhood welcomes its highly anticipated new neighbor— Wegman’s—later in 2022, “we’re going to feel like we’ve died and gone to heaven,” she says.
Want the vibe and culture of city living without the rush hour traffic and soulless office buildings? Check out the neighborhoods just northwest of Wilmington—that includes the 9th Ward, Harlan and Brandywine Village. Here, find affordable family homes with character (some a century old), flanked by Haynes Park and quiet shopping centers.
In recent years, the neighborhood has birthed some of the area’s buzziest spots for pizza (La Pizzeria Metro), coffee and pastries (Sleeping Bird Coffee) and beer (Wilmington Brew Works). “It doesn’t get any better for me,” says Wilmington artist and educator Jea Street Jr. “I’m a coffee snob, a beer guy, and Pizzeria Metro is the best pizza in the city as far as I’m concerned.”
But as Street points out, this neighborhood’s legacy runs deeper.
“People don’t understand how cool this part of town is,” he says. “It’s just a super dense area filled with many talented creative people.” These neighborhoods, rich in history as an area where middle-class whites and Blacks commingled through the generations, have also been ripe with musicians and artists.
This stretch of a dozen or so streets brought us perhaps Delaware’s best known hip-hop emcee, Richard Raw, as well as renowned vocalist Nadjah Nicole (NBC’s The Voice). Philip and Kimberly Doucette, leaders behind the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, hail from the area, as does the mastermind behind Pieces of a Dream dance studio, Ashley SK Davis, and Afro-surrealist artist Alim Smith. Nicole is even known to perform free, intimate porch concerts for neighborhoods when the mood and weather strike.
Columbia Place, Wilmington
The crew in charge of creating Columbia Place saw their share of lookie-loos over the months—gawkers who simply wanted to see new home construction in the densely populated North Wilmington and Talleyville areas.
It’s true: Columbia Place offers luxury single-family homes and townhomes that are brand-new and totally customizable. The “base” homes are single-level living estates with French-style architecture and copper detailing, gourmet kitchen layout with Grabill cabinets and KitchenAid stainless steel appliances.
The fully gated 55-plus community offers a sense of safety with 24-hour security, plus landscaping and snow removal—and a sense of community with The Clubhouse, featuring a fully functioning kitchen, fitness center and great room.
But the real fun is in choosing from a plethora of interior options with Reybold Group’s design manager Candice Ober. “Once someone purchases a home, they meet with me for cabinets, flooring, kitchens—all the pretty stuff.”
Ober urges new buyers to send her Pinterest posts, magazine clippings or photos from kitchens from their pasts. “I spend a ton of time with them trying to achieve personalized touches in their home,” she says. And while templates and packages exist, buyers often go off-menu to secure the luxuries of their dreams. Given that single-family homes here start at just over $1 million, that can include everything from heated floors for bathrooms to matching heated shower floors and shower bench.
“That one just hit the market,” Ober says with a laugh. “We try to accommodate our buyers. We do go outside of program sometimes, but they’ll end up with something they’ll love to come home to at the end of the day. Hey, it’s your house, right?”
Got It Growing On
Windward on the River, Milford
Cranes and construction crews have been busy in Milford over the last few years.
In 2016, the town council approved 10,000 new units for construction; today, it’s down to about 6,000.
As the population climbs (a 33.68% increase since the 2010 census) and major employers like Bayhealth continue to set roots, Milford is responding in kind. An influx of retirees, young families and new workers needed ease, amenities and modern conveniences. Nowhere is that more evident than the high-end apartment community Windward on the River.
The 256 units in southeast Milford carry affordable rents for one-to three-bedroom options, all with granite countertops and walk-in closets. But the real draw here, beyond the brand-new construction, is the planned-community feel. Think: private clubhouse, a resort-style pool, bocce courts and a fitness center—the all-in-one feel of a 55-plus community without the age restrictions.
“It’s a new concept in Milford,” says Sara Bluhm, an economic development and community engagement administrator for the city of Milford. “It’s the first time Milford’s had that higher-end apartment concept with a leasing office. With the hospital being there, they started their residency program. Those residents and nurses are looking for some housing.
“It’s not super far from our downtown and they’re really nice,” she adds. “It looks nice, they have balconies, it’s well lit and safe.”
Big Fish in a Small Pond
Chestnut Ridge, Magnolia
“Downtown Magnolia itself is only, I think, a mile by a mile wide. It’s not very big,” Bluhm says. “Our neighborhood is on the far west side, and literally the road next to us, you cross into Felton. So, it’s a sleepy little town.”
But don’t sleep on it. Especially not in-demand Chestnut Ridge, a 500-home enclave with a mix of newer and newish homes that range from around $250,000 to above $550,000. This recently concluded 15-year project features homes with bright, open-concept living and kitchen areas and built-in styled bookshelves.
“The amenities are great,” Bluhm says. “We have the clubhouse and the pool and the walking paths and the tennis courts. I like the feeling of having this sidewalked little community there. We’re about 10 minutes from Camden and I’m 15 minutes from work.”
In addition to scenic walking trails, neighbors here bond at various playgrounds with basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts.
Cannery Village, Milton
On the doorsteps of the famous Dogfish Head Brewery, Cannery Village is a pristine snapshot of modern suburbia, right down to the white picket fences.
The new community, with its affordable Colonial-style family homes, has add-ons aplenty: a clubhouse lounge, a fitness center, both indoor and outdoor pool areas, plus small park features throughout the neighborhood. It’s a short walk to downtown Milton and its restaurants, the library and theater. And did we mention the brewery next door? It’s almost like residents don’t ever have to leave.
“Let’s say it’s Memorial Day weekend; it’s sunny and 80 [degrees]. Everybody wants to go to the beach, but I don’t want to sit in traffic. What do I do? The trend right now, especially with new construction, is that planned community feel. So, they have cool resort-style pools, facilities, sidewalks, walking trails—where you don’t have to leave your community,” explains Jaime Hurlock, a real estate agent for Long & Foster in Rehoboth Beach.
The mix of single-family homes and duplex townhomes here can be found fully equipped with furnished basements, hardwood floors, gourmet kitchens and more. Those picket fences open up to landscaped backyards and outdoor entertaining space. “Very dog-friendly, kid-friendly, walking-friendly,” Hurlock says. “That’s one of my favorites, and I always said if I didn’t live where I did now, I would live in the Cannery.”
Staycation All Year Long
Coastal Club, Lewes
Resort-style living 365 days a year? In one of the area’s most celebrated beach towns? Coastal Club in Lewes swung for the fences when it launched in 2015. Inspired by some of the most successful private communities in Florida, and featuring gorgeous homes built by Schell Brothers and NV Homes, today it’s one of Delaware’s most desired new neighborhoods.
Just west of Route 1, Coastal Club serves as its own mini Disneyland-style park, with indoor and outdoor pools (and the only swim-up pool bar in Delaware), a kids splash park with interactive fountains and a pirate ship, plus a Southern-style clubhouse resplendent with waterfalls.
With scenic inland Lewes as its backdrop, the neighborhood comes with miles of wooded walking trails, tennis and pickleball courts, a coffee shop, fitness center, a woodshop, an arts and crafts center, a community garden, a farmstand and dog parks.
“They have probably one of the best pool and amenities that are kid-friendly in our area,” says Hurlock. “And their HOA fee isn’t too bad to have those things. (Luxury ain’t cheap: neighborhoods like Coastal Club carry additional sets of fees and buy-ins for neighborhood infrastructure and landscaping, and another one for club membership.)
Between all the amenities, buyers have rushed to grab up the single-family and cottage homes with wooded, cul-de-sac, and pond lots among the many customizable options.