Category Archives: Coastal Delaware

Lewes Picnics in the Park

Picnic in the park_2014

What a lovely Sunday it was. Breezy, not to hot and low humidity. I call those kinds of days California days.

It was the annual “Picnic in the Park” in the Lewes Canal Front Park.  Local residents, weekenders and a few tourists descended upon the park, chatted with friends and found the foods they liked.

Local restaurants had set up their booths and for just two tickets, the equivalent of $4, you could buy most samples of their unique offerings. Some were pretty big samples too, such as the Key West Curry Chicken Salad sandwich from Striper Bites and the Pulled Pork Sliders from Irish Eyes.  A few delicacies went for three tickets, or $6, such as the Savannah’s Deli and Grille’s Beef Brisket and Touch of Italy’s DaVinci sandwich. The most expensive item for sale was Kindle’s Lobster Salad sandwich for $8. Heavenly. The variety of foods reflected the variety of restaurants that are now found in Lewes, a historic town situated where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.  It didn’t start out as a tourist spot but it sure is now.

I moved to Lewes in 2002 and “downtown” was a restaurant scene but not as much as it is now. The Buttery was here then and still is a premier spot where you always get a gourmet meal. Second Street Grille was here, too, but left a few years ago. Its spot is filled with a candy story on one side and a healthy café called Nectar on the other that is open for breakfast and lunch.  There also was the original Rose and Crown, which had the best lamb chops ever. It left too. However, there is another Rose and Crown now, though not the same owners. Gilligan’s was here and still is. It’s got the best spot on the water with part of the restaurant actually in a beached boat.  Striper Bites also was here then, but much smaller. It was expanded with a new building right next door. You can’t tell, though, the architecture matches perfectly. Its fish dishes and casual atmosphere has made it a real destination.

Those restaurants now share customers and parking spaces with Kindle, Half Full, Agave, Jerry’s, and Touch of Italy. Very recently, a new restaurant opened. It is called The Gate House. It is where Café Azafran used to be. It is elegant and described as a French bistro.  I don’t think I have forgotten anyone. The great thing about the Lewes restaurants is that they are all privately own, real entrepreneur ventures and if you visit them you have a good chance of meeting the owner.  And, now that there are so many, more people are coming to try them. With the medical center nearby, there is never a scarcity of customers.

“Picnic in the Park” is a great annual event. It gives us all a chance to taste samples of the foods from these restaurants. It gives us a chance to run into friends and enjoy a beautiful day. It also reminds us of what a wonderful place Lewes is, and how lucky we are to have this park right in the middle of town. The park, by the way, is another story.

 

As sure as the sunrise and sunset

horseshoe crabs on Lewes Beach morningWe may not know what is going to happen in our lives. But come May and one thing is always reliable — The horseshoe crabs arrive to lay their eggs on the beaches of the Delaware Bay. They arrive with the moon and the high tides. The males cling to the females. They fight the waves and the sand, the seagulls and the people. They make their way as high up on the sand as they can. And then they travel back into the water.  Their circular paths mark the sand.

I’ve read that they are an ancient animal and actually not a crab at all. For me, they are as reliable as the sunrise and the sunset. They signal that the weather is going to be warm again, that the sun is going to be out and that the days are longer.

They tell me that it is time for me to get my kayak back into the water.

Summer is here – Almost

 

Bicycle shopIts Memorial Day Weekend – the official start to the Summer Season.  A few weeks ago I took my bicycle over to Lewes Cycle Sports on Lewes Beach and got it all tuned up. It was a bit rusty and there were a couple of broken spokes so I figured I better get it in shape. Also, I was afraid to try and change the gears, in case I would get stuck somewhere.

 

I picked it up from the shop and took a ride on the bike path between Lewes and Rehoboth. I’m not one of those speedy people, just easy going. I did stop to take some photos. The path is gorgeous and takes you through some bits of lovely coastal woods and across a bridge overlooking the salt marsh. I’m hoping that this weekend has good weather. There is a lot going on. Check out the Cape Gazette, it’s the local paper and has everything in it. 

 

 

Funsters take you where you want to go

Funsters

The Funsters performed at Irish Eyes in Lewes. These musicians create a magic that only those who know each other so well can do. They mesmerized the audience with sounds of the Doors, Motown, the Beatles, Neil Diamond and so many others. They took us back in time. They brought alive buried dreams and forgotten memories, those of young adulthood before life took us in another direction.

Warning cries of sailors lost

Nor’easter October 2013

I looked out the window and saw brightness not visible for seven days. Green and gold tones in the low-lying salt marsh lightened.
The cloud swirl began to dissipate. The storm slowly passed.

I could leave behind the rain boots, rain jacket and hat as I descended the stairs that day.

The Nor’easter had arrived along a stream of air, giving not a second thought to the havoc it would cause. Weather forecasters had misjudged its visit.

Plans had been made for sunnier days. So quickly had people forgotten that summer already had passed and winter was on its way.

Seventy-five brand new sunfish sailboats lined Lewes Beach. With their matching red-white-and-blue sails and new rigging, they stood at attention, ready to conquer the waters of the Delaware Bay. The sailors were all smiles, anticipating a heated race, camaraderie, and the joy of wind in their faces.

But that old Nor’easter did what Nor’easters do best,
howled and crashed and roared, plummeted rain, flooded streets,
sent all into hiding for six long days and deafening nights.

It reminded us all of its power,
Of so many unlucky sailors of centuries past,
Of tall sailing ships crushed by wind and waves,
Of men drowned and fortunes lost.

“Dare you come out into the waters this day?” the Nor’easter taunted eager sunfish sailors standing on the shore.

“Stay safe. Don’t go,” warned the ghosts of the Delaware Bay. “Never again sail a Nor’easter.”

The crashing waves carried the ghost voices as they cast an old rotted timber upon the shore.

“Stay safe. Don’t go.”

The sunfish sailors stood staring at the angry waves of the Delaware Bay.
I stood, too, looking upon the rotted timber, and conjured mournful cries of sailors lost.
How fickle Mother Nature, so.
© Susan L. Towers

Sunset After a Storm

sunset after a storm

I know I should not say that the water I live near is any more spiritual than any other water, or that the place I live has any more power than any other geographic area. People travel thousands of miles to visit Sedona, and wait upon a mountain top for the sun to set.

The California and Oregon coasts along the Pacific are known around the world for their beauty and majesty. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is a World Heritage-listed park. And, the Grand Canyon, well, anyone who has hiked its walls knows of its spiritual power.

But, I have found, without a doubt, an indescribable power from the skies above Lewes on the Delaware Bay. Years ago I saw some paintings by local artist Abraxus. It was when I had first arrived to this spot in the Mid-Atlantic. I thought this young artist quite creative with his unusual and striking colors. That was until I experienced the awe-inspiring colors in the skies above this bay where the Delaware River spreads as an estuary at the Atlantic Ocean.

Just as life blooms in these tidal marshes, energy explodes in the air above. I am in awe when the sky is charged with lightening, when the voluminous clouds roll through with a mighty wind, when the sun rises and when the sun sets. The colors are indescribable for me. I search my Thesaurus in vain, wish that I had paid more attention when studying the Romantic writers, and I promise myself to read classic literature again.

It has been hot and humid for days, a situation favored by beachgoers, water skiers and swimmers, but not so by those of us who head back and forth to the office. The weather forecast had warned of storms for days, none of which arrived.   However, this Sunday afternoon, when most people were ready to go home, the flood warnings rang on all of our smart phones and the blackened skies let go with their entire pent up load. Maybe two hours later, the tired sun began its descent, painting that indescribable color across the sky. The lightened clouds rose and became a silky ceiling as they headed for their next destination.