Bethany Beach News
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Visitors to Bethany Beach and residents alike will find during the holiday season that the Town has rolled out the red carpet and added a boardwalk Christmas tree this year to light the way for holiday revelers.
It’s a coffeehouse, and it’s an art gallery. It’s a fine crafts gallery, and it’s a sandwich shop. It’s a stage for poetry readings, acoustic sets and art nights, a place to grab the morning paper, a place for locals, a place for tourists and a place for everyone.
But even after taking over the Artful Bean Coffee Shop in Bethany Beach this past April, new owners Rose O’Hanlan and Kim Warner still plan on what has long been an area staple of art and culture becoming even more. And they’ve only just begun unwrapping their plans.
“We want people to think about the Artful Bean not only as a coffee shop but as a place that they can go and be creative, and have a good time enjoying life for the moment that they’re in,” Warner said. “We just want to make every day an experience for the customers, the people that work here, and for ourselves.”
Christmas crafts and cookies will bespecial added sale features at the next St. Martha’s Episcopal Church used book sale on Dec. 5.
The sale will be at the church in Bethany Beach, beginning at 9 a.m. and extended until 3 p.m.
The Town of Bethany Beach found itself in a little unexpected controversy earlier this week after the Town posted a flyer advertising their popular Holiday Happenings event coming up Dec. 5.
On that flyer, they invited people to come to the boardwalk to see the lighting of the “Tree of Warmth.”
Dr. Christine Fox recently brought her 20-plus years of experience as a general dentist to Bethany Dental Associates.
Fox previously owned her own practice in New Jersey before moving to Delaware to be closer to her aging parents. She said patient comfort is of the utmost importance for her, and her patients experience, gentle, caring treatment.
According to data, 17.4 million households in the United States were food insecure last year, and 6.9 million experienced very low food security. And in Delaware, one in eight people struggled with hunger.
But despite what organizations like Feeding America were reporting, Bethany Beach resident Ann Raskauskas wasn’t aware that the issue was so prominent in her backyard until she saw it face to face.
That’s when she launched the Neighbors in Need charity, right in the parking lot of Bethany Area Realty on Route 26, where she works as a Realtor.
“I had a lady who came into my office last year,” Raskauskas recalled the early days of the organization. “She had four kids and none of them had eaten in five days.”
A tiny lighthouse is a big honor for Bethany Beach restaurateurs.
Tom Neville and Brent Poffenberger received the prestigious Lighthouse Award, similar to a lifetime achievement award, from the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce last week.
Together, the men own restaurants that face each other on Route 1, near Bethany Beach: the Cottage Café and Bethany Boathouse. Their successful partnership began years ago with their studying hotel, motel and restaurant management together at Shepherd College in West Virginia and has continued through to this award, presented Oct. 22 at the Chamber’s annual installation and awards dinner.
The award “recognizes a longtime Chamber member that contributes outstanding leadership and devotion to both the Chamber and the community,” said incoming Chamber President Richard Mais.
What does a Delaware tree have in common with sharks, pirates and near-starvation? It’s just another setback that hasn’t prevented Victor Mooney from sailing from Africa to New York.
Residents near Bethany Beach were surprised to see a man in a wetsuit knocking on doors in the Water Side development on Oct. 8, seeking to borrow a chainsaw. But a tree had blocked the entire Assawoman Canal, and Mooney’s one-man rowboat could not pass.
Mooney is on the last leg of the Goree Challenge, a 5,000-mile Transatlantic journey that began in early 2014. He rowed himself to the Caribbean from the African coast, mirroring the route of Christopher Columbus.
The magnitude of that could take a moment to sink in.
Without a motor or sails, Mooney crossed the Atlantic Ocean, using only his arms and oars for power. The mission began in 2003, with several failed attempts over the past decade (including twice from Goree Island, Senegal). The current trip launched from the Canary Islands on Feb. 19, 2014.
More than 50 local artists and craftspersons will gather at the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for the annual Artisan’s Festival sponsored by the BBVFC Ladies Auxiliary.
Delmarva Power crews are resuming their efforts today to pressure-wash utility lines and equipment along Route 1 between the Indian River Inlet and an area just north of Bethany Beach to remove sea salt carried inland by winds from the weekend nor’easter.
Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) officials announced around 4:30 p.m. that, due to high water, Route 1 northbound and southbound was being closed between Bethany and Dewey Beach (including the Charles Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet).
With moderate to major coastal flooding expected at high tides today and tomorrow, along with high wind warnings along the coast, Gov. Jack Markell at noon on Oct. 2 issued a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, effective immediately. State offices will remain open, and no driving restrictions are being implemented; however, localized road closures may occur as conditions warrant it.
Bethany Beach didn’t hold town council elections this year, as there were only three candidates who filed for the three available council seats, but just as with the council makeup for the coming year, the council executive roles will enter the new council year with a slight change.
He was writing Grammy-winning songs and dropping visceral guitar riffs in the power pop/rock band Queen Electric. She was a successful cardiologist with a degree from Harvard Medical and an undiscovered voice. They met at a mutual friend’s wedding, danced before they even spoke, got married and started touring together.
With two vastly differing musical backgrounds, influences and tastes, Scot Sax and Suzie Brown may have never envisioned that their styles would mesh. But when the two go on stage at Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville on Monday, Sept. 28, Sussex County will get to hear firsthand just how well those styles have blended together.
“She needed a little more rhythm and upbeat stuff in her set, and I think I needed a little more sensitivity in my set,” Sax explained. “That was a good thing for both of us. Our show now is better than what it was before. The albums are better than before.”
While Sax and Brown seemed to have found their sound playing their own blend of blues both at shows and on their new album, “Our Album Doesn’t Like You Either,” set to release on Sept. 25, it wasn’t always that way.
For Dick Heidenberger, taking the helm of Bethany Beach’s newest oceanfront restaurant was a move that made a lot of sense.
The endeavor began back in January as a conversation with Jack Burbage, owner of the new Bethany Beach Ocean Suites/Residence Inn. Burbage is also Heidenberger’s landlord at the Bethany Beach eateries Mango’s and Bethany Blues. Once he took a look at the hotel that was still under construction and the plans for the restaurant space, Heidenberger said, he decided to jump onboard.
The rest of the winter brought a flurry of preparations for Heidenberger and partners Steve Montgomery and Jim Weisgerber, Heidenberger said. The trio quickly began assembling a team of people to bring their vision to life. A crucial part of that process was hiring chef Danny Somoza and director of operations Donna Serafina.
“The two of them really put together our playbook here,” Heidenberger said.
That playbook includes a “very innovative menu” that features the freshest ingredients possible. To that end, 99 Sea Level works with a number of local food producers — including, but not limited to: Adkins Produce of Millsboro, Bennett Orchards of Frankford, Fishkiller Lobster Shack of Dagsboro and Sea Eagle Fish Company of Selbyville, in addition to farms and seafood companies from all over the Delmarva Peninsula.
From wild-caught salmon to free-range chicken, the menu features the freshest ingredients available, Heidenberger said. And from those ingredients, “everything that is served here is made fresh, in-house,” he said.
The crowning touch on the 99 Sea Level menu is the Seafood Tower, designed to be as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. The tower comes in three sizes and features blue-point Chincoteague oysters, steamed shrimp, Broadwater clams, steamed Prince Edward Island mussels and steamed Alaskan crab clusters.
The location of the restaurant, which seats 90 inside and 100 outside, is a huge part of what makes it unique — steps from the boardwalk and the dunes, it is one of a very few oceanfront restaurants in the Bethany Beach area. The wide porch, graced with elegant columns and fitted very simply with potted palms, was cool and pleasant even on a recent hot, humid afternoon, with ceiling fans adding to the breeze from the ocean.
As soon as Emilie Bonano realized that she enjoyed marketing, she wanted to do that in a tourist location. That makes her new position as communications manager for the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce even more fitting.
What is the role of communications manager? “It’s all-encompassing,” she said. She’ll handle all press releases, newsletters, social media and email lists, but also creating, developing and selling ads for Chamber publications.
“Working for such a wonderful organization that really brings all of the tourism businesses together all in one, and being able to make this community united and getting the [word] out there for everyone” really excited her about this job, she said.
Bonano said she wanted to join a group that makes people and tourists “feel at home when they visit,” and get “the community united, and getting our tourists here going to the businesses that are members of the Chamber.”
The Chamber staff was delighted with her experience in marketing, event planning and recruiting.
Who says Labor Day has to be the end? The summer season continues Saturday, Sept. 12, at the 37th Annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown Bethany will transform into a free outdoor art festival. More than 100 juried artists will show and sell their finest glass, jewelry, metalwork, pottery, painting, photography, basketry, drawing, woodwork and more.
Artists’ booths will be located on the boardwalk from Campbell Place to Central Avenue, also spilling onto Parkwood Avenue, the bandstand and the east end of Garfield Parkway.
“There’s fine arts with the fine crafts, so you get a really diverse artwork,” said artist Celeste Kelly. “So, anything you’re interested in, you’re going to find something there. The quality of the work is great.”
“It’s free — that’s the big thing!” Kelly said. “I think a lot of people don’t know … that a lot of places charge.”
That brings in many types of visitors.
“It’s our first time, and I had no clue what it’s like. Anyway, it will be fun to find out,” said artist Elaine Valletta of Appletree Creations, whose family is making a vacation of it.
The annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is a time-honored Labor Day tradition, but its significance depends on your point of view.
A tongue-in-cheek “celebration” of the end of summer, it was started by local business owner Moss Wagner as a way for businesspeople to blow off steam at the end of the hectic summer season.
For many spectators, it’s a bittersweet goodbye to summer fun — and the traffic that goes with it. Parents standing along the boardwalk with their kids are most likely thinking about last-minute back-to-school preparations while straining to hear the first somber notes of “Amazing Grace.”
By the time the band swings into “When the Saints Go Marching In,” the party mood has set in and spectators have often joined the throng of mourners making its way to the Bethany Beach bandstand.
This Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, marks the 10th anniversary of the annual yART sale at 33258 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. (yART = art in the yard!) There is no “rain date,” so fingers are crossed for fine weather.
The yART sale has become a win-win-win event. Artists win because they are able to display and sell their creations in an intimate and lovely setting, with the only requirement being a donation of one piece of their work.
The community wins by seeing and keeping up with the work of some of the area’s best artists of all media, and potters, jewelers and other artisans. And, most importantly, local non-profit organizations win from being beneficiaries of a “Chinese auction” of the artists’ donations, to the tune of more than $20,000 thus far.
The yART sale takes place in the circular driveway of the home of Julie and Nick Kypreos. The amount of time, effort, planning and generosity they devote to having successful events each year is somehow obscured by the seamless ease, fun and conviviality on the actual days of yART sale. And that includes when a sudden cloudburst erupts and everyone rushes around, focused on protecting theirs and others’ artwork from wind and rain.
“For me, the atmosphere of the event is the best part,’ said Julie Kypreos. “We always have a really great group of artists — some the same and a few different each year — who have forged a unique dynamic amongst themselves and with the public that faithfully returns. Everyone is always excited to see each other’s new pieces and perhaps new directions their art has taken them, and to check out the auction table to see the amazing donations.”
“The second best part is knowing that 100 percent of the money raised is going right back into worthy causes in our local community. I’m really happy that Suzanne Thurman and the MERR Institute is our charity this year.”
The MERR Institute is dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and sea turtles and their habitat. MERR stands for Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation. This year marks the 15th anniversary of its inception.
This Saturday kicks off a weeklong grand-opening celebration of the Ellen Rice Gallery’s move to Bethany Beach after “celebrating American creativity every day for 16 years” in Ocean View.