Was reading too fast and didn't look at the first part of your question closely. I took the outside from Delaware Bay (we stopped on the other side at Lewes DE, really nice, friendly town), anchored in the harbor of refuge at the edge of the bay and went outside. We went overnight and all the way to Norfolk. That route
is a lot shorter than going up DE Bay to the canal, crossing to the Chesapeake and all the way back down to Norfolk. Of course the weather has to be considered and was actually a little too calm on our trip and we motor-sailed all night.
I like the inside from Norfolk to at least Pamlico/Cape Fear as it is shorter than outside, a beautiful trip through some of the most unspoiled, undeveloped part of the ICW and 6' should not be a problem as long as you follow the guides and markers and stay in the channel. Plus you avoid Hatteras, the deadly "Graveyard of the Atlantic".
You probably wouldn't end up in the graveyard but I hear it can get a bit bumpy going around. Have only done it once myself and caught an Oct storm that made it a very exciting ride.