Photos: A view of downtown Milton (top), on one of the few actual hills in Sussex County. Fishing on the downtown pier (middle) on the Broadkill River. The Milton park (bottom) features a boat ramp, benches, a walking trial, and playground equipment.
Special to Sussex County Online
MILTON -- Once a community of shipbuilders in the 18th and 19th centuries, Milton's resourceful citizens continue to carve out a niche for themselves in the 21st Century.
You might be tempted to sail right through the small town on the banks of the Broadkill River, but stop ... and look ... and you'll find treasures galore in the town originally known as Osborne's Landing and Head-of-the-Broadkill.
Officially named Milton in 1807, the town is home to a wide variety of businesses including Rogers Sign, a major sign designer and manufacturer.
But the heart of the business district of this quaint, historic community is downtown, which traverses both sides of one of the few actual hills in Sussex County.
To start your outing in Milton, go to one of the public parking areas at the corner of Union and Magnolia Streets or Union and Federal Streets. On-street parking is available downtown, but those time-limited spaces won't give you enough time to enjoy everything here.
Beginning on Union Street, there are three antique stores with items as individual as the people who sell them.
The Milton Antique Mall, owned by Bill Medford, sells a variety of items including old clocks, dolls, tobacco memorabilia and vintage clothing. He even offers restoration products for do-it-yourselfers.
Some of the most unusual elements in his store are housewarming gifts from the early 1900s and an S & H Greenstamps sign.
Medford rents space to dealers in the Antique Mall. His hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily year-round.
Governor's Antique Mall has wicker furniture, glassware, dolls, and furniture. Beanie Babies, clocks, books and a large selection of old cameras are also available.
Some of the most interesting items found here include an old gas stove with pipes leading into the stove as opposed to copper tubing, and an American flag with 48 stars.
Jailhouse Antiques is owned by Don and Patricia Post. They sell everything from glassware to furniture, mostly in Victorian and Country styles. For something a little different, they offer tapered candles that are easily a foot tall.
The Posts accept major credit cards and offer layaways. They are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Other hours are available by appointment.
One truly unique business along Union Street promises great fun in the near future. The Milton Theater is being authentically restored by the Milton Development Corporation and will be a silent movie theater featuring silent stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, according to the corporation's brochure.
There is only one similar theater in the nation and it's on the West Coast. In addition to silent movies, the theater will feature art, literature, and other memorabilia of the early 1900s.
The Milton Development Corporation plans to open the theater for local theater groups, live performances and other community activities.
At the end of Union Street, Federal Street begins. Federal Street has businesses that are more traditional.
The Gordy Insurance Agency has operated on Federal Street for the last 20 years. Frank Gordy, who is now semi-retired, has passed on the business to Renee Fjelsted. Gordy said the business still has the same mission -- representing its customers, not companies. He said 99.9 percent of its customers come through referrals.
The Gordy Insurance Agency offers home, automobile and life insurance policies and has three full-time and one part-time agents.
Cruising down your list of things to do, you have visited some great antique stores and have insurance brokers working to find you the best policies. Now it's time to treat yourself.
You can either slip next door to the John Milton Bookstore, open on weekends, or go up the few hill to Hillside Flowers.
At Hillside Flowers, owner Linda Geise can help you find the right fresh or silk arrangement for yourself or someone else. However, Geise feels fresh flowers are a little more special.
Geise also sells balloons and gifts. She is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Now comes the time to do a little something for yourself and your family. It's time to get physical -- at Rick's Fitness and Health, Inc.
With a membership at Rick's Fitness and Health, Inc., your physical conditioning is assessed and a realistic fitness plan is designed with your goals and health in mind.
Besides state-of-the-art equipment, owner Rick Moore says he is committed to his patrons and has an experienced, certified personal training staff available to answer questions and "spot" patrons when needed.
Rick's Fitness and Health is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. until noon.
After shopping and a workout, it's time to get something to eat. For a delicious meal, you can sail around the corner to Norma's Restaurant on Mulberry Street.
Norma's Restaurant is a family owned and operated business that has served Miltonians for more than a decade.
You can order subs or a complete meal. Some of the locals' favorite dishes include crab cakes that are made on site using a family recipe that dates back 75 years. You are guaranteed 10 percent breading, 70 percent backfin, and 20 percent special Maryland crab meat.
If you prefer steaks, Norma's has two favorites. The first is its hand-cut Delmonico steaks personally selected by Norma's family and cut by Norma's husband and son, both journeymen butchers. The second, T bone steaks, are also hand-cut fresh every two to three days.
All the beef is personally selected from Dover area farms. Norma's hours are Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You can have dessert here or go back to Union Street to enjoy the homemade ice cream from King's Ice Cream.
King's Ice Cream opened in 1972. Earl King started making ice cream on the premises of one of the oldest continuous commercial buildings in the county, according to Tom King, Earl's son. Tom now owns the ice cream business, which includes a second location in Lewes.
You can enjoy many different ice cream flavors, but vanilla is still the number one seller, according to Tom.
If a cone is not what you are looking for, go full steam ahead for a sundae, banana split or an ice cream soda. King's also has frozen yogurt for those determined to stick to their fitness program.
King's Ice Cream is opened from April to October seven days a week.
Well, your day in Milton is just about complete. After dinner and ice cream, you can top off your Milton outing with a walk in the community park, which lines the banks of the Broadkill River. You can also fish off one of the town's or state's river fishing piers or just relax on a park bench on the river.
As you can see, Milton is the perfect area for floating the day away.
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