Located on the banks of Delaware River, Delaware City provides a unique snapshot of Delaware’s nautical roots and is very popular with boaters, bicyclists, kayakers, canoeists, hikers and bird watchers. Its rich architectural heritage is evident in homes and shops situated along wide, tree-lined streets and its historic district with more than 250 authentic buildings is one of the largest in the state. The riverfront city is also home to Fort Delaware, located a half-mile off its shore on Pea Patch Island and accessible by a short ferry ride which departs from Delaware City during the warmer months of the year. The massive fort was constructed in 1859 to protect Wilmington and Philadelphia from English marauders. During the Civil War it was used to incarcerate Confederate soldiers captured during the Battle of Gettysburg. Today, the moated fort has been converted to a State Park where costumed re-enactors recreate life on the island during the Civil War period complete with blacksmith and hearth cooking demonstrations, cannon firings and even periodic ghost hunts. Coincidentally, one of the largest heron rookeries on the East Coast is located at the northern tip of Pea Patch Island.