Interspersed with rolling hills, meandering woods, and rippling water obstacles, each of these featured courses provides a challenging round for golfers of any skill level. Rock Manor's winding 6,405-yard layout of subtle fairways and pristine greens—designed by renowned course architect Lester George—was named Best Public Course in Delaware by Delaware Today. Putting-placement wizard Edmund B. Ault designed a previous winner of the same award, Delcastle Golf Course, in 1971. The course welcomes players to three separate tee boxes, from which clubbers can drive balls toward rolling hills, wide fairways, and caddies performing cartwheels. Then park your course-tour caravan at the Ed Oliver Golf Club, which rests on the original site of the Wilmington Country Club. Golfers digging their spikes into the manicured 18th hole will notch views of a 100-year-old chimney, which puffs out a smoky likeness of Jack Nicklaus eating a hero sandwich during each birdie.
The cracks of baseball bats, the slaps of softballs meeting mitts, and the advice of an experienced team of instructors resound within Thunder Stix Baseball & Softball Academy's cavernous 11,000-square-foot facility. Baseball and softball players alike hone their cuts inside eight pitching machines that can be adjusted from 40 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour, and brush up on their fielding technique inside four netted astroturf tunnels. Robert Banner—the academy's owner and the head softball coach at Alexis I. DuPont High School—and his instructors use the well-appointed digs to help players of all abilities develop their skills in every facet of the game, including batting, fielding, base running, and agility.
Atlantic Edge Dive Center's dive-masters might technically be classified as land mammals, but they spend enough time under water to earn the honorary title of amphibian. They spend days and nights teaching and leading dives, whether they're arming curious beginners with basic skills in one of their on-site swimming pools, or conducting open water certification tests off the coast. They go beyond simply certifying students for adventure: they provide rescue diving, dive master, and instructor training as well.
Their passion for the aquatic pastime draws them to all kinds of watery outposts. They lead excursions to the Florida keys to help rehabilitate the coral reefs surrounding the islands, and dive into the relatively calm waters of the tanks in the Baltimore National Aquarium, where they have a chance to see 53 species of fish feed in the secret underwater cafeteria.
At Delaware Aviation Center, fledgling aeronauts get a one-hour one-on-one instructional session with a certified flight instructor. Pilots-in-training spend 15 minutes being prepped before their flight, gleaning all the information necessary to become a safe and skilled Wright Brother incarnate. Shed the shackles of gravity in a Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP from the aviation center's fleet. During a 30-minute flight, students can choose to take over the controls, or just kick back and enjoy the view soaring over an endless variety of envious land-bound mammals before the winged journey's conclusion. Afterward, spend another 15 minutes getting a postflight briefing from the instructor, and get credit in your logbook, if you have one.
St. Anthony's Italian Festival, a weeklong, Renaissance-style party, celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Italy. Each year, the streets that surround St. Anthony of Padua Parish teem with events ranging from concerts and wine competitions to church tours and a full midway of rides and games. Participants include local merchants such as DiSabatino Landscaping, which has created a garden that evokes the Italian countryside. Vending booths supply food prepared by volunteers and some of the area's Italian restaurants. All proceeds from the festival benefit the St. Anthony of Padua Grade School.