'Tis the season for embracing the charm of yesteryear! As the echoes of ghost stories fade and the last remnants of Halloween candy disappear, the holiday season unfurls its magic. Take a step back in time to a simpler, more leisurely era in Greater Wilmington's historic towns, steeped in colonial heritage dating back to the 1600s. Historic New Castle and Historic Odessa are reclaiming the holidays with a spirited nod to their storied past.  

On December 9th, come experience The Spirit of Christmas in New Castle, filled with heartwarming festivities that promise to leave you enchanted. Explore the exquisite interiors of private homes, immerse yourself in soul-stirring musical performances and captivating street theater, and discover one-of-a-kind treasures at the bustling indoor & outdoor Winter Market. Little ones can meet Santa and his cheerful entourage, while culinary delights from local eateries and vendors are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Join in the merriment culminating in the much-anticipated annual Tree Lighting ceremony. Rain or shine, it's a day you won't want to miss, though a snowy scene might add an extra touch of magic! Plus, your generous donations will go towards supporting the incredible work of the Friendship House of Wilmington.  

But the merriment doesn't end there! Take a trip down to explore Historic Odessa, where a colonial townscape steeped in history invites you to celebrate Christmas in style. From November 14 to December 31, 2023, the Corbit-Sharp House, a 249-year-old National Historic Landmark, will serve as the centerpiece for The Historic Odessa Foundation's 2023 holiday exhibit and tours. To add an extra touch of authenticity, the exhibit will feature vintage Christmas decorations generously loaned by members of The Golden Glow of Christmas Past organization. On December 2nd, make your way to  Christmas in Odessa, the 50th Annual Women’s Club of Odessa Fundraiser. This event is a self-guided tour through the area's captivating 18th and 19th century buildings, that promises a delightful stroll through stately structures adorned with Christmas joy. Enjoy live musical performances, explore the Christmas Craft & Vendor Fair, and snag some fresh holiday greens and wreaths.  

The historic towns of New Castle and Odessa offer unforgettable experiences year-round, but the magic truly comes alive during the holiday season. Immerse your family in a Colonial Christmas adventure they'll cherish for years to come by stepping into history at Cantwell's Tavern, once known as the Cantwell's Bridge Hotel and Tavern. Constructed in 1822 by esteemed businessman William Polk, this establishment has been a cornerstone of the community for over a century. Enjoy town favorites such as the flavorful Pan Seared Duck Breast, Seasonal Oysters, and the renowned Cantwell's Crab Dip. And be sure not to miss the house favorite, Cantwell's Old-Fashioned Drink, for a truly immersive taste of Historic Odessa's rich heritage.  

Create memories with your family that will be cherished for years to come by exploring Historic New Castle and Historic Odessa. And while you're at it, share the magic with us! Tag your photos with #VisitWilm to let us be part of your journey through the Wilmington and Brandywine Valley area.