FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wilmington, Delaware (March 7, 2018) – With the recent finish of Black History Month and the start of Women’s History Month, early March is the perfect time to plan a trip through history along Delaware’s Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. On the Byway, travelers can explore Delaware’s fascinating back roads while visiting places that contributed to one of the 19th century’s most crucial times.
The Underground Railroad was established as a secret system made up of free and enslaved blacks, white abolitionists and other social activists. Before the Civil War, the Delaware landscape was a key route for movement out of slave states to freedom. Delaware, a strict slave state, was the last step before reaching Pennsylvania, a free state.
Delaware’s Byway is inspired by Harriet Tubman, who in 1849 escaped slavery from Maryland and made a temporary home in Philadelphia until she could return for her family. In the 1850s, with the help of a Wilmington Quaker named Thomas Garrett and other “conductors,” Tubman led countless African American Freedom Seekers through Delaware to safer locations. Many private homes and buildings in Delaware provided safe havens for those who were traveling this secret route.
Today the trip is much less harrowing, and history buffs and adventure seekers alike can explore a 98-mile route around Delaware, stopping at several historic sites that the Freedom Seekers passed through. The trip also features places of abolitionist activities and legal actions during the 19th century, so modern-day travelers can get a complete sense of what was happening in this region at that time.
Hosted by the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware, the Tubman Byway is a way to remember the heroic efforts of Harriet Tubman, other abolitionists and all Freedom Seekers. This north-to-south trip takes two to three days for a true visit with stops at each of the sites, but the total drive time is only about three hours. The Byway begins directly after the Maryland Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway ends on Willow Grove Road or Route 10 in Kent County. It passes through sites in Camden and Dover, then moves north on Route 13 through Smyrna, Wilmington and 12 other Underground Railroad locations. It follows Kennett Pike and ends at the Delaware-Pennsylvania state line and then continues into Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. A full itinerary of stops is laid out for travelers, and additional destinations can be determined for particular interests.
Sites along the Byway offer “Byway Bucks” that can be redeemed for discounts at local shops and businesses along the trail, creating a clever way to take a historical adventure while also taking advantage of Delaware’s tax-free shopping. The official Byway Buck Flyer is available at stops along the Byway and on the website.
For more information about the Byway and Delaware’s unique history, or to begin planning your own trip to Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley, check out VisitWilmingtonDE.com.
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Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley is in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region and less than a two-hour drive from both New York City and Washington. Steeped in American history and the legacy of the famed du Pont family, Greater Wilmington is a destination marked by sharp contrasts – town and garden, past and present, historic and hip. From renowned gardens, world-class museums, colonial towns, outdoor adventure, festivals, and an ever-growing craft beer and restaurant scene, each experience is more vibrant, more unique and more authentic than the last. Learn more at VisitWilmingtonDE.com. And to see the beauty of the Brandywine Valley now, watch this: https://youtu.be/KyPWLnciO0E.
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