This Book by a Clayton Couple Contains the Ultimate Delaware Bucket List

Trap Pond State Park by Abby Shepard

Camden husband-and-wife duo Rachel Kipp and Dan Shortridge captivated their audeince with their release of “100 Things to Do in Delaware Before You Die.”

There are a lot of hidden gems in the First State. Shedding light on the most quintessential and unexpected Delaware experiences are two longtime residents, Rachel Kipp and Dan Shortridge. The Camden couple, who met while working as journalists for The News Journal, teamed up to pen 100 Things to Do in Delaware Before You Die (Reedy Press, 192 pages), released this October. While each was already a published author, this is their first joint book.

Delaware Today: What inspired the book?

Rachel Kipp: I had a friend who had written the book about Indianapolis. You travel to all these places and you really want to see a place like the locals do, and sometimes it’s hard to do that. Or, if you are local, you don’t always know about all of the interesting, off-the-beaten path things.

Dan Shortridge: We fell in love with Delaware—we really wanted to share it with other people. There really wasn’t anything similar out there.

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A new Delaware-specific bucket list highlights the authors’ First State favorites, from the iconic Hagley Museum and Library to the wild cypress trees at Trap Pond State Park and prehistoric horseshoe crabs to classic bites at iconic 302 spots.

DT: How do readers navigate the book?

DS: It is split into different sections. We’ve got food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, culture and history, and then shopping and fashion. (The category we had the most fun putting together was definitely the food section!)

DT: What’s your favorite place to eat?

RK: Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli, between Rehoboth Beach and Lewes. I just love a good corned beef or pastrami sandwich, and it’s not as easy to find around here as you would think. I’m also a big fan of potato pancakes, and they have really good latkes. We had a lot of initial dates at Lucky’s in Wilmington, so that’s always been a special place for us.

DS: The caramel popcorn at Dolle’s in Rehoboth. That’s been a family tradition of ours for ages.

Rosenfeld’s latkes.
Horseshoe crab.

DT: What about activities and entertainment?

DS: Some are just such quintessentially Delaware, like going to the state fair or Funland, but one of the more obscure things is the Clayton Theatre in Dagsboro—a one-screen old-fashioned movie house.

RK: One thing that we’ve been rediscovering during this time is just how many interesting things there are to do in state, county and local parks. Trap Pond State Park is a really special place, and it’s worth seeing any time of year. Another thing that’s quintessentially Delaware is how easy it is to run into one of our local politicians. It’s not unusual to be in line at the grocery store or at the pharmacy with a U.S. senator or to spot former Vice President Joe Biden.

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DT: How’d you choose the 100 things to do?

RK: We thought about our favorite things to do and the places we love, and then things we’ve always wanted to do and haven’t. We have three kids—a teenager and two toddlers—so we also thought about what things they like. For instance, something we’d never done but always wanted to was take our two little boys to the Wilmington & Western Railroad.

Delaware Botanic Gardens.
Mt. Cuba Center.

DT: What’s a must-do for every Delawarean?

DS: See the horseshoe crabs in action when they’re laying their eggs. The sheer mass of these prehistoric creatures still roving around today is pretty incredible.

RK: When I first moved to Wilmington, my apartment was within walking distance of Brandywine Park. I would go there just about every day to walk or people-watch. It’s a really special place and beautiful no matter what the season. It was designed in consultation with Frederick Law Olmsted, who was also the designer of Central Park in New York.

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Published as “Bucket Book” in the November 2020 issue of Delaware Today.

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