Coastal Style Magazine en-US Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 SEEING THE LIGHT OF DAY Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi If Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis was correct when he said that sunshine is the best disinfectant, then this bright and beachy dream house in...]]> If Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis was correct when he said that sunshine is the best disinfectant, then this bright and beachy dream house in Milton must be the nightmare of germs everywhere. This immaculate construction is the consummate work of T&G Builders in Berlin, and it is a sight to behold.

The semiretired healthcare executive and his educator wife searched extensively for just the right builder to completely restore the 1972-built elevated ranch, and when all was said and done, only T&G Builders made the grade. This was especially important for this property, which was nowhere near to code when T&G got their hands on it, so they brought the wrecking ball and basically started from scratch. Fortunately, they got a head start from their clients, who had drawn up architectural renderings that clearly delineated their goals.

“I’m not an architect,” said the client, “but I knew what I wanted and hoped T&G could get us there. Fortunately, T&G wasn’t deterred. In fact, they told me that since they are custom homebuilders, it was their job to create basically whatever my wife and I wanted.”

As he is from Connecticut, the client naturally wanted to incorporate the classic New England-beach-house theme, yet they also wanted to honor the traditions of the region and people who were welcoming them to their community. The result is something of a custom hybrid four-bedroom house that captures the best of both New England and the mid-Atlantic.

The vinyl-sided structure with wraparound porch and white trim tapers skyward to an amazing observatory cupola with working beacon set to maritime code and local ordinances. The home is engulfed by stunning water views, with Cape May, Cape Henlopen and the Atlantic providing maritime inspiration on a daily basis. The property even has immediate access to Broadkill Creek, where the owners and their son like to go crabbing on occasion.

All those views, and the light that accompanies them, are admitted to the interior through banks of big picture windows, suffusing it with a radiant ambience that regally complements the nautically themed interior color scheme, full of beiges and a broad palette of blues. Real-wood ceilings and custom-built trolley doors add authenticity to the ambience. A custom-designed fish tank, private tortoise room, cable railings, boat-cleat knobs and stair parts all represent finishing touches that float this design concept to the next level.

A spacious great room takes center stage on the first level. The open floor plan allows for the easy deployment of cushy yet washable Blue Denim sofas by Raymour & Flanigan in Wilmington, which also provided the Natural Denim chairs and cocktail table, while Creative Concepts in Lewes furnished the Summer Wind wheeled table in the dining area. Also in the dining area is a robust Simply Home 96” x 45” eucalyptus wood table for eight with wicker chairs over a sisal area rug. Completing the space is a generous kitchen area with a 4’ x 8’ new Corian island boasting a built-in wine fridge, from Cabinetry Unlimited in Selbyville, which provided all the cabinetry. The farm-style sink comes from Elegant Designs in Seaford (as do the bathroom sinks). Handsome subway-tile backsplashes and mosaic-tile wall are via Avalon Flooring in Wilmington, as is the ceramic 6-inch-panel driftwood flooring in gray that runs throughout the first level, which sports scads of genuine reclaimed wood that was retained from the previous owners. 

Upstairs, there is not only a great custom-designed four-bunk bedroom coated in Sherman-Williams’ Denim but also an intriguing study that features a handmade Maine driftwood desk from Etsy. The bright and airy master and guest bedrooms — both with varying shades of beige — have sliding-glass doors that lead onto private balconies.

The master suite features earthy Home to Grass wallpaper, which is made from a natural grass blend. Non-bedroom walls on the second level are bathed in a moody Storm Cloud shade, also from Sherman-Williams. 

The homeowner pointed out that his decision to acquire property in Delaware was reinforced by the people of the community itself, who he said were very supportive of what they were trying to achieve on the lot. This was in evidence when the owners attended a mandatory zoning hearing, to discuss the plans for the house and its conversion from a single-story ranch to a two-story structure. Not only did Gary James, president of T&G Builders, attend the meeting in Georgetown with the owners on his own time, several of their neighbors also attended and wrote letters of support for the project. All this for a pair homeowners who were brand-new to the area.

“We took this as a sign that our neighbors and the community wanted us here and respected what we were trying to do, which not only meant the world to my wife and me,” said the owner, “but made the region feel like home and where we were meant to be.

“It’s funny,” the owner continued, “people talk about a home as being turnkey, yet for us, the entire community was turnkey. You can’t ask for more than that.”  


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WELCOME TO CAMP BOBB Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi What do you get when you combine the talent of an elite Beltway interior designer with a very real need to accommodate her large family — all on a...]]> What do you get when you combine the talent of an elite Beltway interior designer with a very real need to accommodate her large family — all on a Bethany Beach plot that overlooks the ocean? The answer is a spectacular, one-of-a-kind beach home that not too surprisingly happens to be the centerpiece of the 2017 Friends of the South Coastal Library Beach & Bay Cottage Tour.

When Sandy & Stanley Bobb built the house in 1992, there were only eight family members to account for, including daughter Jodi. But while eight is enough, it ultimately proved to be only prologue to the onslaught of family that would follow. And that is why Jodi Bobb Macklin and her siblings pooled their resources and talents to create a loving, welcoming family getaway that is 21st-century friendly while preserving the traditions and institutions of the family she is proud to be part of to this day.

It was serendipitous that Jodi would be who she is when it came time to commit to the stem-to-stern renovation of the property. Turns out, Macklin is an elite and sought-after DC-area interior designer whose work has been featured in a variety of national and regional magazines. One of the capstones of her career was for her role as the designer assigned to renovate the $22 million “guesthouse” Evermay mansion in Georgetown, with Bethesda architect Jim Rill. 

With experience like that under her belt, tackling her 7,100 sq ft family home architecturally designed by SEA Studio, LLC of Bethany Beach, with its 10 bedrooms and 11 baths, was well within the reach of her ambitions. Thus, even a superficial glance at the spread screams “mission accomplished” at the bucolic ocean-side beach house, which now accommodates as many as 20 family members at a time, with Macklin, her parents and her siblings each having their own master suite to enjoy.

With all that activity year-round, the home needed to be “indestructible,” as Macklin put it. So the home now has a metal roof, not wood, and a paint job on the tough but decorative Azek exterior that will only have to be done once, rather than every year, which had been the case prior to the roughly eight-month renovation. The heavy lifting for the project was handled by Macklin’s longtime colleague Tim Tribbit, of Hickman Builders in Bethany Beach.

The kitchen of Camp Bobb, as the family affectionately refer to it, features two enormous 13-foot center islands decked out in Caesarstone, as are all the countertops, which are supported by laminate cabinetry provided by Sue Smith of Custom Cabinets in Delaware. Prefinished white-oak flooring appears in the kitchen, as it does throughout the open floor plan. The kitchen opens up to a screened-in porch with Phantom screens that raise to reveal spectacular views of the Atlantic, which the family revel in at every opportunity, according to Macklin. In fact, says Jodi, there are no conventional dining tables inside the home, as virtually every meal the family shares is had on the screened-in porch off the kitchen. 

Also off the kitchen awaits the great room, which features a state-of-the-art gas fireplace with hot-rolled steel wall input. Sectional seating — including a double-width chaise longue that can accommodate two, even three, people (which, Jodi says, the “little ones” take full advantage of for summertime siestas) — is provided by Montauk. Four bedrooms dwell on the home’s first level, two of which have private baths, plus a Jack-and-Jill and powder room.

With 10 bathrooms to deal with, a unique design concept for each was impractical. Thus each has penny rounds on the floor that showcase a different color — navy for the boys, turquoise for the girls -- with white-porcelain tiles of varying sizes and configurations on the walls of the showers. Durable area rugs from Dash & Albert in NYC grace the floors at strategic locations throughout the home.

With the constant flow of family members, plus friends and associates, there is a vibrant, upbeat vibe that suffuses Camp Bobb all year long. Does it ever get hectic? Macklin would admit that it does, but she would hasten to add that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The 26th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour will feature 10 exquisite homes on July 26 and 27, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are available online, at, at the South Coastal Library and at several shops in the Bethany-Fenwick area. As a bonus feature for tourgoers, local artists will donate an original piece of art to be raffled at the conclusion of the two-day tour.

Project Architect:
SEA Studio Architects

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SHORE DECISION Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman When entrepreneurs Rob and Sharon Knapp decided they were ready to relocate permanently from Northern Virginia to the Delaware coast, the transition...]]> When entrepreneurs Rob and Sharon Knapp decided they were ready to relocate permanently from Northern Virginia to the Delaware coast, the transition for the highly successful and organized couple would be a relatively smooth one. Sure, there would be more miles placed on their vehicles for work, but the idea of making their full-time home and offices in the tranquil beach region was too enticing. Add that they had purchased a prime waterfront lot in a secluded setting in Dagsboro and hired Echelon Custom Homes to design and build a stunning 5,800 sq. ft. home with an additional 1,700 sq. ft. of porches and deck space, and well, let’s all agree that they made the right decision, shall we?  

With architectural drawings in hand, Rob and Sharon now set off to find the perfect interior design firm to help the “sophisticated coastal casual” style come to life.

“This is the third Bethany-area home that we furnished over the years, so we had a good idea of the options and have visited all of the local furniture stores multiple times,” said Sharon, who’s an organizational-development-and-training consultant. 

The Knapps ultimately placed their trust in C&E Furniture in Fenwick Island, with which they had worked with on a previous project, albeit on a smaller scale. Together with its owner, Katie Winnington, and her talented design team, Rob and Sharon felt completely confident that they had made the right choice. 

“We felt that C&E understood the feeling that we wanted to create and had the experience to help realize our vision,” Sharon said. “We also wanted a long-term relationship with someone who was willing to work with us throughout the entire process of furnishing the home. We felt as though the C&E showroom really captured the look we were after. Others tend toward more beachy looks (lighthouse lamps come to mind) or traditional (mahogany comes to mind).” 

“We take great pride in our design services, and while we operate as a furniture store, as well, interior design is really our wheelhouse,” said Katie, who is a third-generation owner of C&E. “Initially, we like to get a feel for the design and scope of our clients’ projects. In this case, we were able to be there from the very beginning, because this home was new construction. This gave us the opportunity to create floor plans and envision design ideas based off the original blueprints and truly work one-on-one with the Knapps, to imagine how they would ultimately want to use and live in the house.” 

The Knapps’ three-level home is the definition of an open floor plan, as there are just eight distinct rooms in nearly 6,000 sq. ft. of space. On the main level, the space is completely open and emphasizes the panoramic views of the Indian River Bay. For some designers, this scenario would present significant challenges to create individual seating areas while seamlessly unifying the collective theme. Here, the C&E team strategically implemented complementary furniture, accessories and fabrics to accomplish the goal, which fits the Knapps’ style perfectly.

“This home has such an incredible outdoor space, and the main living area was so bright and open that we couldn’t help but want to bring the outside in by incorporating rustic textures, like reclaimed woods and jute rugs, and then by layering in a variety of coastal elements,” Katie said. “We also made sure to give a nod to the nautical nature of the space by adding pieces that accentuated navy and teal colors throughout and finishing it all off with a few woven details and  hints of contrasting metals.”  

This second level also includes a gorgeous and spacious professional-grade kitchen and adjacent dining area. Here and its connecting indoor-outdoor seating areas are where Rob and Sharon frequently gather with their daughters, Katie, 26, of Washington, D.C., who is also a consultant, and Emily, a 24-year-old photographer/producer living in New York City, and their friends, to catch up during visits.

“My absolute favorite place in the home is our kitchen on a weekend when all the kids are here,” Sharon said. “We’ve had 14 gathered around the island, creating clam chowder or clams casino from the clams they dug up from the bay a few minutes earlier.”

Upstairs, Katie and her team designed the Knapps’ master suite, which includes a handsome sitting area, with a warm, nautical vibe. Two additional bedrooms are each uniquely designed and furnished with attractive bedroom suits, accessories and colors. 

The first floor houses Rob and Sharon’s offices, each inspirationally designed and decorated to provide the ideal environments for productivity. An expansive, coastal-themed recreation room, complete with a pool table and large-screen TV, is the perfect hangout area for entertaining and watching sporting events. 

“The process of working with C&E was a blast!” Sharon said. “It was creative, collaborative, interactive, and the results show. They also worked within our budget and never tried to get us to spend more than we were comfortable with. We couldn’t be happier with C&E Furniture. We still enjoy going into the showroom to see what’s new. We would recommend them to anyone!”



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YUMI HOGAN Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman When do you recall first being influenced by art and when did you first know that art would shape your professional career and help mold the...]]> When do you recall first being influenced by art and when did you first know that art would shape your professional career and help mold the individual you are today? 

I enjoyed drawing when I was young. My art teacher always praised my work and said that I was talented, so I started dreaming of becoming an artist. I grew up on a small chicken farm in South Korea as the youngest of eight children. After the Korean War ended, my family did not enjoy a prosperous life. I vividly remember walking two miles to school each way, since there was no bus available to us. Those walks, seeing the countryside and the beautiful Korean landscapes, are what inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming an artist, and they continue to inspire many of my works to this day. 


You proudly celebrate your Korean heritage in your art, even using Sumi ink and textured Hanji paper in your creations. Can you describe their significance in your homeland and their attributes?  

I generally paint abstract landscapes, mixing both Eastern and Western themes and techniques. I use traditional Hanji papers made from the mulberry trees, with Sumi ink, as well as mixed media. The climate and natural environment of my hometown and Maryland are very similar, so my artworks show my impression of South Korean and Maryland landscapes — the combination of Western and Eastern nature. 


In 2016, you were honored by the International Leadership Foundation as the recipient of their Inspirational Leader Award. This year, you were presented with the 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. What do these distinguished awards mean to you personally, especially with respect to your heritage as the first South Korean-born gubernatorial first lady in United States history? 

As a first-generation Korean-American, I am truly honored and grateful to have received this recognition, as I believe there were many others who were very deserving. Now I have heavier shoulders. I immigrated to the United States over 36 years ago. I never thought I would be here today, and I am constantly amazed and incredibly grateful to find myself in this position. I am humbled to think that I can be seen as a role model for the Asian-Pacific American community, and I strive every day to serve all Marylanders and bring our many vibrant and diverse communities together.


You lead a tremendously busy and public life as Maryland’s first lady. How do you balance the continuous demands of that role with finding the time, peace of mind and creativity to paint on a regular basis?

I’m learning every day to balance my roles as a mother, grandmother, artist, teacher and first lady. Serving the people of our wonderful state is the greatest honor of my life, but I cannot forget who I was before I became Maryland’s first lady: I am a mother of three daughters, a grandmother to two grandchildren, a supportive wife and a passionate artist. I always say, “Before I am the first lady, I am an artist.” I always pay attention to the surrounding environment, and I try to draw or paint at every opportunity. I especially treasure my teaching position at MICA [Maryland Institute College of Art] because it gives me the opportunity to be myself and connect with my fellow artists. 


Your art is critically acclaimed and has been shown in galleries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Canada and South Korea — all within the past 10 years. How have you grown as an artist during this time, and how has your work evolved? 

I am very grateful that I can continue to draw and paint and have been able to open a lot of exhibitions in different places. My art has always depicted my childhood memories and the natural landscapes of my hometown in South Korea and Maryland, which have a lot in common. Both places have four seasons and have regions with mountains, ocean and farmland. My work has always shown who I am and where I came from, as it does to this day. I never gave up on my dream and have steadily created artworks. Comparing my past artworks to my recent work, I would say my current artwork shows how I have matured as an artist. 


You debuted 17 new works in 2017, including several paintings that are part of a continuing series. Walk us through this journey in terms of how long the collection took to create. Is there a theme or connecting thread among them, or did each have an individual inspiration? Is there one that means the most to you? If so, why?
The collection took several months. It’s hard to choose one that means the most to me because my work is a series themed in nature, and each one has a precious meaning to me. One memorable part of this collection for me is that a number of the works incorporate the hanbok, the traditional Korean dress.  


As first lady, you have made it a priority to share your love of the arts with Marylanders of all ages through education. You serve as the honorary chair of the Council for Arts and Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, working with the University and Baltimore City to promote the arts. Tell us about this experience and how the endeavor is being received. 

For the past two years, I have tried to use my background as an artist to help people and build bridges between Maryland’s diverse communities. Since November 2015, as the honorary chair of the Council for Arts and Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, I have worked with the university community and Baltimore City to promote the arts. I have also taught cancer patients at the Wellness House of Annapolis and people with disabilities at Make Studio. Every May, I host the First Lady’s Mental Health Awareness Youth Art Display in Annapolis to mark Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week in Maryland, which highlights the expressive power of art for children and youth. My goal is to encourage young artists’ dreams and give them courage and hope, so I also host a biannual First Lady’s Art Gallery Student Artwork Exhibition.


After Governor Hogan was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015, you became a strong proponent of art therapy and the positive impact it can have on one’s health and wellbeing. Through your work teaching art classes to patients with cancer and people with disabilities, how has art helped these individuals physically, emotionally and spiritually? 

During my husband’s treatment, we befriended many of the pediatric patients and their families while the children received care. I continue to pray for them every day. My heart was broken to see pediatric patients lying on the bed while other children their ages run around and are very active. Therefore, I was trying to think how I can help them get up from their beds, to be more active and enjoy their time. Art therapy brightens a light in the darkness. While they are drawing or painting, they can forget their pain and have hope and dreams. I believe in the healing power of arts and positive impact of art therapy, and I have taught art classes to patients with cancer and their families, and to people with disabilities. Art gives dreams and hope to all people regardless of age, cultural background or socioeconomic status. As a mother, artist and caregiver, I am working to partner with Maryland hospitals, to bring art therapy to pediatric patients across the state. 


In July and August, you are the featured artist at the Art League of Ocean City and its Center for the Arts. What can we look forward to during your show?

At least 27 artworks will be on display, some of which are my recent artworks, done this year. 2017 Artist Statement: Yumi Hogan Exhibition: Nature of the Alliance at the OC Center for the Arts. My artwork is my interpretation and abstract vision of the harmony of nature. We human beings are part of nature like cool breezes, trees and flowing water. I feel this existence in the meaning of nature through the freedom of movement and unstructured imagery. All of our lives are connected in this way. Some of my works depict the sudden change that has affected my life. I began to use more colors and lines. The flowing colors and lines represent a childhood memory of my mother and grandmother making silk fabrics, carefully moving each silk strand in the air. I am reminded of the soft, colorful strands, swaying with the breeze. This work is my interpretation and abstract vision of the harmony of nature. We human beings are part of nature, like cool breezes, trees and flowing water. All of our lives are connected in this way. Rather than replicate a scene, each of my paintings has no beginning, no end and no focal point but represents a continuous flow, as if wondering through a dream. It is my intent to make people feel and understand the breadth of nature through my works.


What lies ahead in the near future for you as an artist? Do you already know what you’d like to embark upon next, or will that come to you over time? 

I look forward to continuing to teach at MICA and to help those in need — including by sharing the gift of art — as first lady. As an artist, I always follow where inspiration takes me, and I will certainly continue to do so. Stay tuned!  


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MILLSBORO'S WEE TOUCH O’ ENGLAND, SCOTLAND & IRELAND ALL IN ONE Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 The Rehoboth Foodie The stately Delaware Trust Bank building in Millsboro is no longer accepting deposits, but satisfied customers are still making daily withdrawals in...]]> The stately Delaware Trust Bank building in Millsboro is no longer accepting deposits, but satisfied customers are still making daily withdrawals in the form of unique menu items with an English/Irish/Scottish flair. Yes, I am aware that I stretched that metaphor about as far as it could be stretched, but it shouldn’t detract from The Pint’s popularity as a neighborhood watering hole touting tasty tidbits like Cock a Leekie, The O’Connor, the Thomas O’Malley and the decidedly Irish boxty. 

This is restaurant number two for 1776 Steakhouse co-owner Tom Holmes. He, along with talented chef and business partner Tammy Mozingo opened The Pint in 2013. Their first foray into pub-grub casual has been a great success. For my first couple of visits back then, I was able to slip in unnoticed (but not so much anymore). I sat at the bar and started with the Loch Ness. The Pint’s version of crab dip in a sourdough bowl got an A+ in the spice department. I was intrigued. A second visit yielded the Irish Stew. This stick-to-your-ribs recipe is loaded with onions, potatoes, parsley, carrots and ground lamb, deliciously savory with the spice throttled back just enough to let the lamb shine through.

One of the stars of the appetizer show at The Pint is the Dublin Cakes. These remind me of my mother’s ham croquettes: a go-to dish during her annual post-Easter “What the heck am I going to do with all this ham?” cooking spree. But rather than leftover pork lovingly enrobed in a mild béchamel, kitchen boss Darius Davis stuffs them with ground corned beef and swiss cheese, dredges them in seasoned bread crumbs and fries ’em up to a golden crunch. With the Thousand Island dressing on the side, it’s sort of like a reuben minus the sandwich part. Order them to share.

Another must-get are the equally filling Scottish Eggs. The two massive orbs (also eminently shareable) are nestled in frizzled onions. (It would be nice to put the frizzles on the top, so they would stay crispy.) That being said, it’s all about the egg: semi-hard-boiled, wrapped in a thin shell of sausage, dredged in a well-spiced something and then fried. Whole-grain mustard adds the necessary acidic kick. In a word: delicious. You can make a meal out of these.

The Cheshire Chicken reminded us of shepherd’s pie but without the mashed potatoes. Pulled chicken, caramelized onions and mushrooms in gravy are presented en casserole, topped with roasted garlic potatoes and bacon bits. Think deconstructed bacon/cheese potato skins — but with chicken. It’s deliciously seasoned, very rich and well worth the $14.95 tariff. Don’t plan to eat again for a while. Grilled Bangers & Mash and Hobbit Pie keep the whole theme going. The mains are often accompanied by a tasty (and not too dry) Irish soda bread.

Generously portioned sandwiches include the patty melt with two (count ’em, TWO) patties on marble rye; the Molly McGuire (a 10-oz. bacon cheeseburger by any other name) and The O’Connor (a BBQ-chicken bacon cheeseburger — all four basic food groups!). 

The thickest Irish accent in the house has got to be the boxty: A potato pancake made from mashed potatoes and grated raw potato — sort of like a hash brown/latke pancake. Really, what’s not to love? In Millsboro, they get the Pint-like twist in three varieties. The Leprechaun is my favorite, with olives, sausage, ’shrooms and swiss. But don’t overlook the Pierogi and the Thomas O’Malley, either. I’ll let you explore those on your own.

The hulking bank vault is still there, and if the tucked-inside table is available, go for it. It’s sort of fun, and don’t worry: There’s a doorstop to keep you from being trapped with Lucy until Monday morning, when Mr. Mooney arrives for work.

The Pint is located at 303 Main St., just past Georgia House and Blue Water Grill as you drive east through Millsboro. Front-of-house manager Candace Fiorentino keeps things hoppin’ year-round: 3:30 p.m.–10 p.m. Monday thru Wednesday; 11:30 a.m.– 10 p.m. Thursday thru Saturday, and 3:30 p.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday. Visit them online at Going with a group? Call them at 302-934-5822.

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SLOW DOWN, KICK BACK AND ENJOY THE BIG CHILL BEACH LIFESTYLE Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 The Rehoboth Foodie The Umbrella Deck at La Vida Hospitality Group and the Delaware State Parks’ Big Chill Beach Club opened on Memorial Day weekend, and this...]]> The Umbrella Deck at La Vida Hospitality Group and the Delaware State Parks’ Big Chill Beach Club opened on Memorial Day weekend, and this high-tech, family-friendly rooftop restaurant at the Seashore State Park south-side beach area is in full swing. La Vida Hospitality Group worked closely with the Delaware State Parks people to make the additions environmentally friendly while adding an enjoyable complement to the existing beach experience. Even in the rain, the place has been packed!

The centerpiece of the project is the $400,000 Umbrella Room. La Vida Hospitality boss Josh Grapski discovered this Austrian-made structure on a European ski trip. It made an immediate impression. The amazing piece of technology (delivered by ship in three massive containers) seats guests in total comfort around a circular bar with a 360-degree view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian River Inlet & Bay and the Indian River Inlet Suspension Bridge — bathed in cobalt blue at nighttime.

The motorized, 36’ diameter umbrella can be opened or closed (quite dramatically, by the way) depending on the weather. Speaking of weather, the structure can withstand 110 mph winds. Adjacent to the elevated restaurant deck there is a tented and floored wedding/event venue with the same panoramic view of the amazing natural resource.

Food-and-beverage service is executed under the watchful eyes of La Vida Hospitality’s Josh Grapski and Rock ’n’ Roll Chef to the Stars Billy Lucas. Taco Reho boss Lucas’ SoCal-inspired fare reflects a beachy theme with uncomplicated food that’s easy to take out or enjoy on the deck. Creative menu items include a selection of colorful ceviches, freshly made tacos, jerk chicken, tuna poke, steak frites and Billy’s famous Carne Fries, just to name a few. There’s even a raw bar adjacent to the umbrella room.

La Vida Hospitality and the Delaware State Parks gambled that this first-of-its-kind public/private partnership would attract even more visitors to the beautiful Indian River Inlet. We bet this endeavor will pay off handsomely for both. The Big Chill Beach Club is currently open for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., every day in season.


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THE REHOBOTH FOODIE'S BREAKING CHEWS Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 The Rehoboth Foodie Lots of whining and wishful thinking in the Rehoboth area has finally brought about Minh’s Bistro — our first Vietnamese restaurant! By the time...]]> Lots of whining and wishful thinking in the Rehoboth area has finally brought about Minh’s Bistro — our first Vietnamese restaurant! By the time you read this they will either be open or very close to it. Make yourself known to owner (and professional actor/singer) Thinh Pham. He named the little spot after his youngest brother and plans on serving a wide array of Vietnamese favorites. Minh’s Bistro is next door to the Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli #2 in the new Schell building at Rte. 24 in Rehoboth Beach, across from Royal Farms.

Though we mourn the demise of Meg Hudson’s Lula Brazil, the new G Cask & Kitchen has lit up the storied Cloud 9 building in the fourth block of Rehoboth Ave. Managing partner Karly Gamaitoni tells that her new restaurant offers an American menu with some Mediterranean flavors thrown in. Executive Chef Dennis Kuc is in the kitchen. BCG Management Group, of which Karly is a part, will offer late-night dancing with a greatly expanded wine list. G Cask & Kitchen is open every day 5:30-9:30 p.m., with dancing and cocktails until 1 a.m. Brunch on Saturday and Sunday is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are accepted, at 302-278- 7677.

Look closely next to the Safeway on Coastal Highway, and you will see the tiny, soon-to-open Miyagi Ramen Bar. Co-owner and host Jeong Hoon Kim (Remember him? The tall, silky-haired and rather inscrutable front-of-house host at Saketumi in Rehoboth?) is pleased to bring one of his favorite, entirely house-made dishes to the Cape region. There will be a selection of proteins to combine with your noodles, along with an extensive selection of veggie-only items. Kim made such an impression on Saketumi’s customers that owner Tammy Wang partnered with him on this exciting venture into noodledom. Prices will range from $8 to about $15. Kim chimes in: “It will be the essential neighborhood eatery.”

Josh Mellinger of LaVida Lekker LLC is overseeing the opening of a Makin’ Whoopie Pies franchise on the ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue where America’s Pie Pizza used to be. The concept has been well received so far. The freshly made DIY pies look good. The Rehoboth Foodie will, of course, have to investigate. (Note that LaVida Lekker LLC is not affiliated with La Vida Hospitality Group here in Delaware.)

People who love long lines already know that Agave, the popular Mexican tequila restaurant and bar at 137 Second St. in Lewes has finally reopened after a long and protracted remodel. Remember: Go early or late! This is one of the more popular eateries in Lewes, and even with the remodel, it’s still not all that big. Lines can be long during dinnertime, but trust me: The guacamole is worth the wait.

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THE REVIEW: CAFÉ AZAFRÁN Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 The Rehoboth Foodie Let’s start this one off with a quiz. Question 1: Does anyone remember the polka-dotted Libby’s Restaurant (“pancakes with personality”) on...]]> Let’s start this one off with a quiz.

Question 1: Does anyone remember the polka-dotted Libby’s Restaurant (“pancakes with personality”) on Fenwick Island?

Question 2: How many remember the Libby’s at the corner of Rte. 24 and Coastal Highway in Rehoboth Beach? (Hint: Crabby Dick’s is there now.)

Both Libby’s are now history, but they gave rise to several present-day eateries owned and operated by the Steele family. When the Rehoboth Libby’s morphed into the Lamp Post Inn, a young Richard Steele was in the kitchen, earning his stripes as a chef and future restaurateur. When the Lamp Post eventually closed, Richard and his brother Mark opened Café Azafrán in Lewes. It was an instant hit, and the brothers thought the concept might be welcome in Rehoboth Beach. Yes, it certainly was, and still is.

Café Azafrán’s downtown Rehoboth Beach spot is now the only Café Azafrán location, after they closed the Lewes location in March 2014. But note the careful wording: There’s a happy catch that will be revealed! Read on.

Kitchen talent runs in the Steele family, and feedback about Café Azafrán has been consistently positive. The name is the Spanish word for saffron, the bright-orange and extremely expensive spice derived from the crocus plant. And it is absolutely necessary for making good paella.

One of the keys to the success of Café Azafrán is the selection of small plates, aka tapas. With choices to satisfy carnivores and vegetarians alike, it’s easy to make a meal out of two or three. And, indeed, Tapas Tasting Night specials offer a great selection of diminutive goodies at a reasonable price — even for the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue. Two of the Rehoboth Foodie’s pick hits include the short-rib sliders with caramelized onions, and the haricots verts (a French green bean extravaganza that involves bleu cheese, butter and hazelnuts. Beware: It’s addictive!). Another must-get is Café Azafrán’s veal sausage: simply delicious, surrounded by plump cannellini beans prepared baked-bean-style.

I have a similar reaction to the ricotta and spinach gnocchi (lubricated with sage butter and topped with pecorino cheese). Honorable mention must also go to the La Mancha plate, replete with a sandy brown Manchego, spicy chorizo, jamon Serrano (expensive Spanish ham) and Romesco salsa (a Catalonian preparation with tomatoes, peppers, toasted almonds and hazelnuts). In other words, pretty much everything is good.

And then there’s Paella Night! This bit of culinary theater combines good eatin’ with a cooking display worthy of anything on Food Network. Reservation-only ticketholders (it sells out quickly!) gather around Richard’s 48” paella pan to watch him build this traditional Spanish feast from scratch. The evening is fun from the moment the oil starts shimmering to when Steele tosses in the scallops and shrimp to finish the dish. It happens on Sundays and Wednesdays during the peak of the season — again, by reservation only.

Thursday nights come with a value-added in the form of singing bartender Holly Lane, accompanied on the keyboard by the talented and versatile John Francis Flynn. She takes orders, mixes drinks, chops fruit, rings up checks, pops tops, swipes credit cards and pours wine — all without missing a beat. She and Flynn have some magical connection through the ether that keeps them in sync. It’s a sight to behold and to be heard.

Okay, now for the promised reveal: As of a couple of weeks ago, the Steeles have returned to Lewes! After Patty’s carryout vacated the old Half Full spot next door to Azafrán’s original Market Street location, Richard fulfilled his dream of returning his first concept to Lewes. He’s calling it Olive & Oats, and the menu is almost identical to the original breakfast/lunch-centric fare that catapulted Lewes’ Café Azafrán into the mainstream so many years ago. Bagels, frittatas, pastries, salads, wraps and panini dominate the menu, along with Richard’s legendary baked oatmeal.

Café Azafrán is in downtown Rehoboth Beach at 18 Baltimore Ave. Olive & Oats is located at 113 W. Market Street in Lewes. I’ll say it once again, then you’re on your own: Call for reservations — especially for Rehoboth’s Paella Night: (302) 227-8100. Bon Appétit!

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INTENTLY FOCUSED Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman With years of financial management experience to his credit, Jeff Montgomery has seen his fair share of market adjustments. As the founder and...]]> With years of financial management experience to his credit, Jeff Montgomery has seen his fair share of market adjustments. As the founder and principal of Montgomery Financial Services (MFS), he understands how fluctuations in the stock market can negatively affect a client’s state of mind, emotions and desire to remain committed to their long-term investment plans. He likens these occasions to one any frequent flyer can relate to. 

“If you’ve ever been on a flight and experienced turbulence, it can be quite nerve-racking and unsettling. As a passenger, you’d like for it to stop immediately, but you need to ride it out,” Montgomery said. “Now think about the flight attendants. They’re calm. They do not panic. I like to compare this experience to our jobs as financial advisors at MFS. When the market experiences turbulence, some clients may want to sell immediately, to end the negative experience. They’re panicked and want the ride to end instantly. But we’re calmly and firmly in control of their investment plan for the long haul.”

Montgomery, whose firm represents more than 225 clients, is passionate about helping people achieve higher levels of wealth and peace of mind while eliminating the unnecessary confusion and anxiety that commonly occurred through their experiences with other companies. Montgomery accomplishes this by engaging his clients in a disciplined process necessary for a lifetime of investing success — a core philosophy entrenched in education, coaching and dedicated, long-term investing. To Jeff and his team, this can effectively be accomplished by building a diversified portfolio, never trying to predict the market, remaining disciplined and rebalancing portfolios designed and engineered to capture market rates of return. Montgomery Financial Services’ investment strategy is a synthesis of three academic principles based on Nobel Prize-winning research in the field of economics: Efficient Market Theory, Modern Portfolio Theory and the Three-Factor Model.

“It is impossible to consistently predict the gains and losses of the market,” Jeff said. “While someone may get lucky with a certain stock here and there, their long-term probability for stable and secure growth is virtually nonexistent. There is academic evidence, however, that demonstrates if you engineer a diversified portfolio and capture the market rate of return, remain disciplined and rebalance your portfolio, this will provide you the best chance for success over time.”

Integrity, coaching and education are the core principles on which Jeff has built his business — and he is one of the Shore’s foremost authorities in the classroom. Montgomery teaches a “Rescue Retirement” class at Delaware Technical College and social-security seminars across the Peninsula. Educating his clients is so important to Jeff that he built a state-of-the-art classroom inside his office headquarters in Ocean Pines. Capable of hosting 40 clients per session, Jeff and his advisory team utilizes this learning space every two months — offering his clients invaluable knowledge relating to their investment strategies and pertinent financial topics of the day.
“As a client, you don’t have to know everything about investing; you just have to know the right things,” Jeff said. “People, in general, have the tendency to make poor money-management decisions based upon raw emotion and panic. These decisions most often lead to the destruction of their portfolios. This is why education is so important. It important for us to reinforce their strategic, long-term goals with our clients consistently. This helps to prepare them in the event of a downturn in the market.

“I don’t know of anyone in our area that teaches clients to the extent that we do,” Montgomery continued. “And as an added benefit, it brings our clients together as a group and has created senses of community and involvement among us. Some have become friends and interact outside of the office, too.”

Montgomery Financial Services is a fee-based advisory firm that works primarily with individuals over the age of 40, including “busy boomers,” women, young professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners, to help them grow, protect and distribute their financial assets. This means that MFS is not compensated through commissions, trades or moving money to various accounts of the investor. Rather, they operate on a flat fee-based system that aligns the advisor/coach with the client through their like objectives and investment philosophies.

Jeff’s dedicated team of financial advisors, licensed insurance agents and professional support staff includes director of operations Joani Gursky, associate advisor Nicholas Craven, associate advisor Edward Loftice, regional director Edward Scott and marketing manager Merrie McElrath, who work collectively and comprehensively together to meet their clients’ needs.




> af04b93a9b5e6c2aa1df8f6a783def81 MONEY MATTERS ]]>
HERITAGE HOUSE Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane When a house gets moved on a tractor-trailer, it’s a spectacle all its own. But imagine seeing house movers trucking along not on a highway but on...]]> When a house gets moved on a tractor-trailer, it’s a spectacle all its own. But imagine seeing house movers trucking along not on a highway but on the beach in Ocean City — and they’re dismantling the town’s pier halfway through the trip.

That’s just one chapter in the fascinating story of the resort’s 125-year-old Life-Saving Station Museum, located on the southern end of the Ocean City Boardwalk.

“I would say that most people here love Ocean City the way it is today, but we show them what Ocean City was 100 years ago,” said Nancy Howard, president of the nonprofit Ocean City Museum Society. “But now, we also want to tell the story of Ocean City and what’s happened to it.”

A Storied History

The Life-Saving Station, once one of 25 along the Atlantic Coast, first opened its doors in 1891, replacing an earlier structure built in 1878. It later became the resort’s Coast Guard station. When the Coast Guard opened a new building on the bayside in 1964, the now-obsolete facility was decommissioned. The building was used for various purposes after that, including serving as headquarters for the OC Beach Patrol and as a youth- crisis counseling service.

In 1974, heirs laid claim to the land beneath the building, on the Boardwalk at Caroline Street. It became a complicated land-ownership issue that culminated in a lengthy court case. The family that won the lawsuit sold the property to another family, who made plans to demolish the building.

But then, in swooped in a group of concerned citizens called the Ocean City Museum Committee. They urged town officials to save and relocate the abandoned building. In 1977, the new owner sold the building to the town of Ocean City for $1.

“Some very forward-thinking people said, ‘Let’s move it and put it here.’ How smart of them to do that,” Howard said, adding that today, “it is the iconic building of Ocean City.”

In December of 1977, the station was hoisted from its foundations by professional house movers and trucked eight blocks down the beach. If that wasn’t enough of a spectacle, a section of the Ocean City Pier had to be removed, so the giant truckload could pass through to its destination.

Upon arrival, the old building was turned 90 degrees, and the tall boathouse doors that once opened to the ocean now faced south, over the inlet, toward Assateague Island.

Inside The Museum

Part of the museum’s mission is highlighting the role of the Life-Saving Station’s “surfmen,” whose job it was to take on dangerous ocean rescues. To that end, one of the treasures of the museum collection is an authentic surf boat, on loan from the Smithsonian. It would have been used in the 1920s and ’30s to rescue mariners from sinking ships.

Before the town’s inlet opened in 1933, men on a rescue mission would have arduously hauled the 2.5-ton boat on a wide-wheeled cart through sand and launched into the shore break, no matter the weather.

Upstairs, a narrow staircase leads to more exhibit space and to a cramped museum office. Several lifetimes ago, these areas housed the quarters and washroom for the keeper of the Life-Saving Station. Now, they showcase the history of surfing and surf culture of OC. 

You’ll also find an exhibit about life on the Boardwalk during the first half of the 20th century. That one includes the famous Laughing Sal, a grotesque, retired funhouse clown whose cackling laughter can still be heard with the push of a little red button. And in June, the museum launched an exhibit on the history of Native American life in our area.

Exhibitions don’t end at the museum walls. Beginning July 3, staff and volunteers will offer free programs right outside, on the Boardwalk, on a range of topics, including knot-tying, sharks and the Beach Patrol, among others.

The Museum’s Future

In the next few years, museum officials are hoping to expand the museum into a second building, Howard said. 

The proposed two-story expansion would accommodate existing exhibits, as well as an expanded gift shop, newoffice space, classrooms and more. Then, with exhibits cleared out of the old station building, they could restore the property to what it would have looked like in the late 1800s, Howard said.

For now, the current museum remains a first-class amenity for Ocean City tourists. 

“Hundreds of people pass by here every day in the summer. If they would just come on in, they would add another dimension to their beach experience,” she said.

Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum    

> 145a4984fa5c67b2debd6aad2c5be10c HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ]]>
FOSTERING HOPE Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman “She’s a beautiful soul,” Tina Hitchens said of her 8-year-old daughter, Jaydyn, as she watched her ride her bike down a side street outside of...]]> “She’s a beautiful soul,” Tina Hitchens said of her 8-year-old daughter, Jaydyn, as she watched her ride her bike down a side street outside of their Bishopville home. The Hitchens family has a story, and it reads like the all-American novel: Its main characters, Tina and Keith, are loving, hardworking, churchgoing parents who are raising their talented children, Nicholas, 10, and Jaydyn, in a rural, middle-class section of Worcester County. There’s even Bella, a 3-year-old rescue dog, who faithfully watches over them — Jaydyn especially. 

This idyllic setting takes place at the conclusion of their book — a happy ending that continues to play out each day. A turn of the pages in reverse, however, takes the family back in time to a scenario that could have changed the dynamic of their existence, and young Jaydyn’s life, forever.    

“I told Jayden her story just this morning,” Tina said. “Jaydyn knows she was in foster care and knows she was adopted, but she’s still too young to know the details of her circumstances.” 

Jaydyn’s story, unfortunately, is not an uncommon one locally. Her biological mother was just 17 when she had her, and both of Jaydyn’s biological parents were drug addicts. Officials with Maryland’s Department of Social Services immediately placed her in foster care.

Back then, Tina was working as a substitute teacher at local elementary schools and volunteering with Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) as a CASA — a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Her responsibilities included a monthly visit to the home of the foster child she was assigned by the judge or magistrate, an assessment of the child’s surroundings and wellbeing, and to report back to WYFCS. 

Jayden, even as an infant, had her own CASA, too, a woman named Lou Spock — a caring and dedicated volunteer with years of experience and training. About that same time, Keith and Tina were interested in adding another child to their family. Unable to have children of their own and without the resources to afford the substantial price of private adoption, as they had previously incurred with Nicholas, Tina contacted WYFCS about adopting a child in need of a good home. To be considered, she had to forgo being a CASA, and the couple had to become foster parents.

Five months later, beautiful baby Jaydyn was placed in their care. Tina and Keith had the daughter they always wanted, and Nicholas quickly became attached to his younger sister. Spock made regular visits to their home and consistently found the family and Jaydyn to be an ideal fit. But foster families with their hearts set on adoption are often leery of the potential for reunification with one or both of the child’s biological parents — which is the obligation of social services and the court, barring mitigating circumstances. After two years of raising Jaydyn, those fears became very real for the Hitchens family, as Jaydyn’s biological father wanted her back. He was even enrolled in a substance-abuse prevention program, and state officials ordered her returned to his custody following the completion of treatment.

“It was a situation we always knew in the back of our minds could take place,” Tina said. “That didn’t make it any easier. I was her mother; Keith was her father, and Nicholas was her big brother. We spent two years raising her.”

As the transition grew closer, now within a matter of weeks, Spock was still serving diligently as Jaydyn’s CASA, and she knew something wasn’t right. Through her investigation, Spock discovered that Jaydyn’s biological father was still using illegal drugs, despite the court order and the appearance of sobriety. Her subsequent court reports stated that being placed in his care was not in Jaydyn’s best interests. 

“Jaydyn’s CASA volunteer literally changed the direction of where her case was heading,” Tina said. “Her CASA saved her. Lou advocated for Jaydyn, and she literally saved her. 

“Social services is so inundated with cases, and their job is to reunite the child and the parents in the home. I get that. My job is to care,” Tina continued. “Judges are human; social-services employees are human; we all make mistakes. God stepped in, and here we are.” 

When Tina and Keith officially signed their adoption agreement to become Jaydyn’s parents, they included a clause that provided visitation rights (one week twice a year and one weekend a month) with one set of biological grandparents. They had always played an active role her in life and continue to do so to this day.  

“They were unable to care for her full-time and always said, ‘You’re her mom and dad, but we still want to be her grandparents.’ It’s an amazing relationship, and Nicholas is very close with them, too. It’s worked beautifully for all of us,” Tina said.

Today, Jaydyn is a thriving second-grade student at Showell Elementary who loves music and singing. Nicholas does, too, and the siblings play in the Mini Rockers band at the Academy of Musical Performance (AMP) in Salisbury under the direction Gino and Susan Bailey. And so begins the next chapter in the book of the Hitchens family.


“Imagine what it would be like to lose your parents, not because of something you did, but because they can’t — or won’t — take care of you,” said Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services CASA program director Brigitte Southworth. “In an overburdened social-welfare system, abused and neglected children often slip through the cracks. Into these vulnerable children’s lives come dozens of strangers: police, foster parents, therapists, social workers, judges, lawyers and more. Hopefully, one of these strangers is a CASA volunteer, because they provide that one constant person that a child needs in order to thrive.”

Janet Balbo has been a CASA in Worcester County for 10 years. After retiring from the federal government in 2003, Janet relocated to the Shore, and while she was very active socially, something was missing in her life. She wanted to connect with her community and truly make a difference. Over the past decade, Janet has been actively involved as a CASA volunteer and achieved credits from educational training programs focused on alcohol-and-drug abuse and suicide. Her desire to help children is further fueled by her grandson’s addiction to drugs.

Janet’s most recent case lasted more than six years. She was the CASA for a young girl who was abused by her father and brother. Placed in foster care by social services, she recalled the unimaginable circumstances faced by a child so young in life.

“This poor child ran the gamut of issues,” Janet recalled. “She hoarded and hid food because she didn’t know when her next meal would come, and she had all sorts of behavioral problems. We had so many family interventions with her, and she spent time in two different treatment facilities — but I was there for her. Even late at night, if there was a problem, I did whatever I could to be there.”

Janet’s journeys with the child have covered thousands of miles across Maryland -— from Berlin to St. Vincent’s Villa Therapeutic Group Home in Timonium, Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore and placement in an adoptive foster home in Anne Arundel County, which ultimately did not work out.

“This particular child has had several different foster parents, different therapists, different caseworkers with social services, but one CASA, in Janet, and that is so important,” Brigitte said. “The child knew that beyond all of the changes in her life, there was one element that was going to be a constant — and that was her CASA.”

The child, who turned 15 in May, was successfully adopted last December and is doing well in high school.

“I fully expect this child to continue her education at the next level,” Janet said. “It’s very gratifying to see where she is today. I have made an impact, and I truly believe that, but we’re a team. There are a number of people on our team who didn’t give up on her.”

More than 1,500 children are served by Maryland CASA each year — approximately 50 of them in Worcester County. Currently, there are 40 CASA volunteers, 35 of whom are assigned to active cases, so the need for additional support is real. Should the number of cases exceed the number of CASAs, the child is placed on a waiting list until a volunteer is available. 

“Our goal is simple: to speak up for every child’s right to a safe and permanent home,” Brigitte said. “CASAs passionately advocate for abused and neglected children who are caught up in the court-and-child-welfare maze because they are unable to live safely at home. We’ll do whatever we can to be there for them.”



On Friday, May 19, Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services will host its 9th annual Pirate Party on the docks at Sunset Grille in West Ocean City, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Co-chaired by Joe Kendall of Kendall Furniture and Buddy Trala of Sunset Grille, the event will feature live music, a buffet-style dinner, happy-hour drink prices and gift auctions.

Local residents volunteer to serve as “pirates” and seek donations (a minimum of $500 each) from the community. A host of local businesses also sponsor the event, as well. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in their best pirate garb and celebrate their efforts to “keeping children afloat.” 

“There are many great causes in Worcester County, but this is one that especially touches my heart,” said Kendall. “I’m asking the residents of our community, and beyond, to join us at this year’s party, to support Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services and its CASA program. There are children in our very own backyards who need us, and we need to come together to help them.”

All proceeds benefit Worcester Youth & Family Counseling Services’ CASA and youth programs.

For additional information or to become a CASA volunteer or Pirate Party sponsor, call Brigitte Southworth, at 410-641-4598 or email her at


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BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi When Barry Ziehl was growing up in Bowie, Md., he looked forward to one day having a great wife, wonderful kids and nice middle-class life in...]]> When Barry Ziehl was growing up in Bowie, Md., he looked forward to one day having a great wife, wonderful kids and nice middle-class life in mid-Atlantic America. He got the wife and the kids, but his vocational calling was to the opposite of side the country, to the bright lights of LA and the glitter of Tinseltown, where he currently resides as the senior vice president, Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, for Warner Bros. Entertainment. CSM caught up with Ziehl recently, following a speech he gave to the students and selected guests at SU’s Perdue School of Business, to congratulate him on his high-profile job and find out just what makes this local boy from Bowie tick.

Coastal Style Magazine: You went to college at Salisbury University, correct?
Barry Ziehl: That’s correct. I got a BA in communications. When I addressed the students at the Perdue School of Business in March, I’d joked that the business school wouldn’t let me in, and I didn’t really know what else I wanted to do, so I did what any clever young student does who doesn’t know what he wants to do: I majored in communications.

CSM: What year did you graduate?
BZ: 1991… it feels so long ago.

CSM: Do you ever get back home for visits?
BZ: I get home at least once a year. It starts with a drive from the DC area, through Bowie and ending up in the Outer Banks, in North Carolina. It’s a family tradition that we’ve kept for 17 of the last 18 years. It was a promise I’d made to my mother after she’d learned that I’d be whisking her young grandchildren off to Los Angeles. Until recently, I hadn’t a chance to get back to Salisbury. One of my passions was, and is, surfing, so I’d always go through Salisbury and wind up in Ocean City, though I haven’t been back to Ocean City since ’99, when we moved
to California.

CSM: Do you still surf?
I do.

CSM: When was the last time you surfed?
Yesterday. I surf regularly. It’s much cheaper than therapy.

CSM: When you do swing through the area, is there anybody you see or rituals you have?
Well, when I was back recently, I drove down Route 50, where I’d gotten so many speeding tickets in years past, on the way to go surfing, took the 90 bridge and met one of my dearest friends, Danny Windon, who owns a bunch of Fractured Prunes. Then I went to one of my favorite places, on 48th Street, and walked up the little access road, over what’s not really much of a dune anymore, to look at the Atlantic. It brought back all those fond memories of surfing 48th Street and Eighth Street, Indian River Inlet and Assateague. We also stopped by K-Coast and had lunch on the bay at Fager’s, overlooking Assawoman Bay, which was amazing. 

CSM: Do you feel your upbringing in this part of the country has instilled traits or characteristics in you that influence the way you live your life and do your job in California?
Absolutely, but not just for the movie industry. It served me well when I worked in DC, for the U.S. Postal Service. I had a wonderful middle-class upbringing – appreciating hard work and everyone, whether they were blue-collar or white-collar. My dad was more of a blue-collar guy, whereas my mom was more white-collar, and that taught me to not make distinctions among people. It taught me to be appreciative and to not take anything for granted. I learned that even if you’re maybe not the smartest person in the room, you could be the hardest-working person in the room. My upbringing also taught me to never get too big for my britches and never to look down on anybody. 

CSM: What position had you held when you left?
I was a manager of marketing communications for the stamp program. Among other things, I launched portions of the U.S. Stamp Program — the legendary coaches, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, the Bugs Bunny stamp, which ultimately created my connection with Warner Bros. I realize the U.S. Postal Service is much maligned, but the truth is, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my entire career. I use skills I acquired at the U.S. Postal Service every single day.

CSM: How did you make the leap to Hollywood?
It was literally being in the right place at the right time doing the right job in front of an executive at the studio who needed someone to do that job for them on their team. She was working with me on the Bugs Bunny stamp on the Warner Bros.’ side, and I was on the Postal Service side. She saw the work and invited me to entertain an opportunity as director of International Public Relations for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. 

CSM: Was the transition difficult?
Well, it’s not the cheapest place in the world to live. But we made a decision to get a place in the suburbs of Los Angeles, in Simi Valley, because it was the suburbs that had formed us as kids, so we wanted to have that kind of life again while we were raising our kids.

CSM: Sounds like it worked out well for everyone.
Oh, you just can’t beat this place – I don’t care where in the world you are. Sure, there is a price to pay: It’s expensive, and the traffic is crazy, but it’s really worth it.

CSM: Other than Finnegan’s Wake, your job description may just be the most difficult thing I’ve ever read. Would you like to try to take a stab at explaining it to us Earthlings?
[Laughs] The current job is definitely multifaceted. On the public-affairs side, it’s government relations; it’s philanthropy — how we as a company contribute to causes and support social issues and nonprofits; it’s sustainability — how we as a company are impacting the environment, whether it’s how our productions are produced, how our lot is run, how our employees recycle. It’s community relations — how we as a company treat your community when we are filming in your community. My team makes sure that when we are in your community that we are contributing in a meaningful way.
On the strategic initiatives side, it’s a number of things, including corporate marketing and cross-divisional activities. It’s a bit of a utility position. 

CSM: Where do you see the American movie industry in five or ten years, and do you think technology is going to be driving that evolution?
Oh, without question. Direct-to-consumer distribution of content is huge; the way consumers are consuming content these days is changing faster than ever. You have to be on all platforms all the time. At the end of the day, though, content is the root of entertainment; that has not changed. It’s just a matter of figuring out the distribution models and how they’re changing based on consumers. All of the entertainment companies are focused on delivering the entertainment that people want, when they want it and where they want it.

CSM: Your boss is very famous [Dee Dee Myers was the press secretary during the first two years of Clinton administration and was first female and second-youngest person to hold that position. She was also the inspiration of The West Wing character C.J. Cregg, played by Allison Janney].
She is just an amazing executive. It’s a privilege to work alongside Dee Dee. You don’t get a chance in your career very often to work for someone who is aspirational, and she certainly is that.

CSM: What’s coming down the pike for Warner Bros. that you’re excited about?
All of the TV shows based on the DC characters are amazing — Arrow, The Flash among them and Wonder Woman is coming out in June, which we’re all excited about, and Justice League later in the year. So it’s gonna be a big year!

CSM: Is there a crowning achievement of your career?
Over 26 years, it’s hard to pick one thing. But something recent that stands out is that I had the opportunity to be part of launching a brand-new franchise for the company called DC Superhero Girls, and it’s the first property or franchise of its kind created specifically for girls. As a father to a daughter, it’s wonderful to create something specifically for girls, especially in this age of female empowerment.

CSM: What’s your favorite thing about your job?
It’s the diversity of the things I work on. I do a little bit of everything. I feel very lucky to be in a job like this for a company like this. I pinch myself every day. I bleed Warner Bros. blue, and I’ll stay as long as they’ll have me.   


> caf3e7dfcab6997f7434c5ba58537843 IN PROFILE ]]>
CENTER OF ATTENTION Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman There are certain special waterfront properties on the Eastern Shore that are vastly different from their counterparts. These are the hidden gems, the...]]> There are certain special waterfront properties on the Eastern Shore that are vastly different from their counterparts. These are the hidden gems, the serene and surreal settings that provoke thoughts of being at a private, boutique resort or on a secluded island sanctuary.  

One such property is discreetly hidden in West Ocean City. With unobstructed, panoramic views of the Assawoman Bay, Ocean City skyline and vast stretches of undisturbed wetlands, it is the ideal getaway for the owners of the property. And when it was time to transform the property, to maximize its outdoor entertaining and relaxation potential, the owners and project designer Christopher Pattey of Becker Morgan knew Bryan LeCompte of Yard Designs was the only choice to spearhead the effort. 

“When we design a waterfront home, the views should always be the focal point,” said LeCompte, who has owned and operated Yard Designs for more than 30 years. “In this case, being surrounded by water made it easy, because it feels like you are on your own island. The homeowners were great clients to work with, and because they work in the construction industry, they had a mutual understanding of the design-and-build process.” 

The homeowners initially engaged Pattey in 2015, to design a backyard extravaganza that included patios, walkways, a dining area, an outdoor kitchen, barbecue area, grand fireplace, a large hot tub and water fountains with majestic statues.

“This is a special property, much like an estate, in that it has a formality to it with a rather large existing home,” Pattey said. “Our job was to marry their wish list within the criteria we were allowed to work with, because we were dealing with critical area setbacks and impervious surfaces.”

The approach to the home was underutilized and had a poor flow, which often resulted in bottlenecks, according to Pattey, who proposed an expanded oval drive court that would provide the necessary space for the continuous and smooth movement of traffic.

“When we started this project, we studied the architecture to determine what natural materials we would use,” LeCompte said. “Of course, our selections were timeless, and after considering the exterior finishes of the home, each material chosen complements the existing theme, in terms of color tones and features. This project allowed us to use the highest-quality products, to bring true luxury suited to their lifestyle.

“I enjoy building relationships with our clients and expressing our vision through our work,” LeCompte continued. “Many projects become challenging, in that the clients want to somehow experience the vision before its completion. It was just the opposite with these homeowners. They expressed their desires and then trusted us to transform that vision and provide them a setting that is perfectly suited for friends and family to enjoy one another and their surroundings.”

An impressively handsome fireplace is one of the backyard’s focal points. It serves as one of the main conversation areas during gatherings but also offers a quiet, romantic setting for the homeowners when they’re alone. Custom lanterns made in South Carolina specifically for the tops of the fireplace’s flanking pillars adorn each strategically.

The plan also called for a spacious 14-person custom spa — one so large that a custom cover had to be made. Two substantial yet aesthetic fountains, one in the front of the property and one in the back, were also a part of the design. Pool Tech of Salisbury was responsible for the creation of the project’s water features.

“Even though were working with the same application, this was an exciting departure from our traditional yet diverse swimming-pool creations,” said Jaime Toner, vice president of Pool Tech. “The homeowners knew what they liked, and we were able to turn their creative visions into a reality. Inspiration for the water features can be attributed to the stunning statues that seem to come to life from them. Everything else was organic in the design,” Toner said.

Made by the Randolph Rose Collection of Yonkers, NY, two breathtaking bronze statues, a marlin in the main driveway fountain and a team of sailfish in the back fountain, are substantial points of interest on the property, paying tribute to the homeowners’ passion for sport fishing.

“After attending the Philadelphia Flower Show, we met and worked with Jordan Rose. He was delightful to work with, and the statues celebrate our personalities and interests,” the homeowner said.

Robert Parker, Yard Designs’ lead electrician, outfitted the homeowners with the power to control the property’s substantial exterior lighting package with just the simple touches of a few buttons. At their desire, through a mobile device, the vibe of the property can change with different light colors, moods and effects — even the lights and hydraulics in the water features. “Automation is just as important outdoors today as it is indoors,” Pattey said.

“It really is impressive how the setting and mood change based upon the time of day,” the homeowner said. “The bar and grilling areas are fun during the day, and so, too, is the spa in the afternoon. At night, the property transforms for quaint and cozy outdoor living. It really is amazing.”

The tone of the property, both inside of the residence and out, is an upscale yet relaxed Tommy Bahama-style. A seamless transition is made from every room when stepping onto any one of the many decks and private balconies the home features. Furniture selection was key to unifying the theme, and the couple selected handsome — and substantial — Tommy Bahama furniture in the Black Sands and Island Lanai collections. The selections are aesthetically welcoming, incredibly fashionable and comfortable, and will withstand the occasionally unpredictable elements along the coast.

“My impression is that the space has an extremely welcoming feel to it, which is not only attributed to the layout but the lighting effects and the warmth of the fire features,” Pattey said. “It is so relaxing and enjoyable, it truly makes you want to stay awhile.”

“It is a stunning setting,” the homeowner said. “It reminds us of having our own little private Caribbean Sandals. We are very pleased.”





> a498a75cf0d2c0c58af7928f739e188a COVER STORY ]]>
FULL SPEED AHEAD Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane What propels boat salesman Bill Forenski’s philosophy on customer service and easy buying? It starts at the car dealership. That’s right: the car...]]> What propels boat salesman Bill Forenski’s philosophy on customer service and easy buying? It starts at the car dealership. That’s right: the car dealership. Why is that, you ask? Well, it’s because Forenski hates the process. For him, car shopping is a tedious, all-day event. 

As a hugely successful pontoon-boat retailer at WMF Watercraft in Millsboro, Forenski has found a better way. “I try to make it really easy to buy boats,” he says, “because I don’t like buying cars.”

Pontoon boats certainly navigated their way from the boxy party barges of decades past. You’re not stuck with dull aluminum or grandma-green carpet as options any longer. They’ve evolved for the 21st-century customer, from materials and upholstery to the motor and electronics. They handle more like real boats, and they’re just as fast or faster. While the average price of a pontoon is $30,000, some high-end models sold by WMF are priced between $150,000 and $180,000. 

Once your WMF boat arrives, “We’ll take you out, and we’ll show you how to do things,” Forenski said. “We’ll bring it to your dock; we’ll get it out on the water; we’ll show you everything.”

Today, Forenski and WMF Watercraft are honored annually as one of the Top-10 retailers of Avalon and Tahoe brand pontoon boats. But success didn’t come overnight. In fact, he didn’t even want to be a boat salesman — he fought it tooth and nail. For years before the business took off, Forenski was content being a Delmarva Power meter reader who happened to fix Jet Skis on the side.

“My parents had a beach house in Pot-Nets,” he recalled as a 14-year-old growing up in Wilmington, “and my dad bought these Jet Skis — and they broke. I said, ‘I want to fix them myself.’ I had no idea what I was doing. I blew up a lot of motors, but I learned. Then, people on the beach started coming to me and asking if I could fix their Jet Skis.”

This went on for years. As a young man, he would read meters all day, then come home and fix Jet Skis into the evening. He found himself making house calls in his little Ford Escort to fix Jet Skis. He started doing repairs from a marina, then out of a little shed on Route 1. The business grew. Finally, in 2004, he had a chance to buy property in Millsboro, to open a bona fide repair shop. He later bought another shop down the road, where he and a crew took on boat repairs.

Five years ago, Avalon and Tahoe pontoons came to him with an offer. They wanted him to start selling their boats. 

“I told them no!” Forenski says. “I was scared of the boats. I was scared of floor plans. I didn’t know pontoons, and I didn’t want to get involved in the business.”

The next year, though, he capitulated. Avalon let him dip his toes in the water, so to speak, and sent him five boats to sell. He sold them all in three weeks, “and I was hooked,” he recalled. “So I started ordering boats from them like crazy.”

“I was selling a lifestyle, families out there enjoying themselves. It was neat. It was no longer a broken Jet Skis. It was like selling a dream to somebody. I really enjoyed that,” he says.

Having stopped fixing Jet Skis altogether, he became No. 8 in sales by his second full year as a boat salesman. For 2015 and 2016, he was Avalon Tahoe’s No. 3 salesman in the country. Today, Forenski says WMF Watercraft has grown 500 percent over the last three years, with locations in Millsboro and Oak Orchard, and a staff of 10. They service every boat they sell, and when customers upgrade to a new boat, WMF sells your old boat on consignment.

Most weekends these days, you can find Forenski on the water with customers, over at Paradise Grill in Pot-Nets. He’s on his pontoon, hanging out on the sandbar or maybe giving rides on fancy demo boats from the manufacturer.

Most important to him, though, is that WMF Watercraft is a massively customer-based business. If there’s a problem, he handles it personally. And Forenski is proud to say that his customers buy boats from him, “not some sales guy.”

“The biggest part about selling a boat is taking care of the customer after you sell it,” he says. “That’s more important than anything else.”




> b0d538fd2286f8967aae1ebee5567bfc THE GREAT OUTDOORS ]]>
THE GOLD STANDARD Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi What turns an organization into an institution? Or an edifice into a landmark? The answer? It’s the people. But not just any people. It’s people...]]> What turns an organization into an institution? Or an edifice into a landmark? The answer? It’s the people. But not just any people. It’s people with a mission — you might even say a calling. People who spend practically every waking moment contemplating how to do their jobs better, how to make a difference, how to leave a legacy. There are such people among us, those who inspire others to rise to the limits of their potential and to make the world a better place for their efforts. For more than 46 years, the faculty, staff and administration of Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin have been such people, and the community they serve is the better for it. This is true not only for the advanced, state-of-the-art educational techniques and resources they provide each pupil from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade but also by creating the environment of a real family, one that nurtures and supports all of its members equally. The result is a veritable pillar of the community that sees 100 percent of its graduates go on to attend a four-year college or university, including such elite institutions as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Stanford, Northwestern, MIT, Duke and George Washington University.

A prime exponent of this unwavering philosophy is WPS’ retiring Head of Lower School, Celeste Bunting, who has tirelessly dedicated 44 years of her life to educating the minds and molding the characters of Delmarva’s youth. She began her career in 1973 as a first-grade teacher, a position she held for 27 years. sWith a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s of Education degree from Salisbury University, Celeste has dedicated every day of her exemplary career to making her students feel loved. Whether it was by standing outside every day, no matter the weather, and personally greeting her students and their parents with smiles and hugs, developing a top-flight science curriculum or creating the WPS Children’s Garden and Bird Sanctuary, Celeste has found a way to enhance the lives of literally thousands of future leaders of the community. A Fulbright Scholar, Celeste has been recognized with many national and regional awards, including Elementary Science Teacher of the Year by the Chemical Educators Association and Maryland Conservation Teacher of the Year, in addition to commendations from both Apple and Microsoft. Her Lower School Chess Club, which Celeste launched 12 years ago, has flourished over the years, with impressive tournament wins that run from Salisbury to the states of Maryland and Delaware.

“It is hard to capture in words the special legacy that Celeste is leaving behind,” declared WPS’ longtime headmaster, Dr. Barry Tull. “Over the years, she has helped to create a highly nurturing and joyful environment. Her commitment to making sure our students are well educated and well cared for has resulted in an exceptional academic program with talented and supportive faculty. Since day one, her wisdom, kindness and grace have been a blessing to the school community.”

With Celeste at the helm since 2000, WPS’ Lower School establishes a firm academic foundation that begins in pre-K and continues through Grade 5, emphasizing the development and nurturing of critical-thinking and study skills intended to last a lifetime. The Lower School classrooms are self-contained and provide the right amount of structure. Kindergarten students study the solar system and videoconference with NASA each year, while WPS’ accelerated math program has students working a year ahead, with mastery of multiplication tables by the end of second grade. Structured to be a deliberately challenging, yet stimulating, environment, Lower School students do science investigations at the earliest levels, as well as simple coding and robotics, emphasizing math, reading, writing and technology throughout. 

Such academic rigor may make the Lower School students excel, but it doesn’t make them well-rounded people. That’s why WPS emphasizes character building throughout the students’ academic careers. Students are taught both directly, and by example, to understand, care about and respect not only one another but also the environment and their community. They are also taught to give back and help those in need.  

This strong emphasis on academic excellence and citizenry continues into the Middle School, which sees all students groom themselves for higher education by taking comprehensive semester exams beginning in the sixth grade, in addition to three years of Latin. Once in the Upper School, students are exposed to a variety of college-prep courses, with a diverse selection of electives and honors courses. WPS also offers Advanced Placement in English literature, English language, American history, calculus AB, calculus BC, biology, chemistry and physics. Significantly, WPS is the only school on the Eastern Shore that has a chapter of the Cum Laude Society, which provides the equivalent of collegiate Phi Beta Kappa recognition to high school students. This doesn’t even include the diverse roster of clubs and sports programs that WPS offers, to further help their students self-actualize.



> e92ed1864bafe0c027a8b3a9b88db1f1 EDUCATION ]]>
A DISTINGUISHED HERITAGE Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi One of the key indicators of a community’s success is the kind and quality of the people and businesses it attracts. As we all know, the Eastern...]]> One of the key indicators of a community’s success is the kind and quality of the people and businesses it attracts.

As we all know, the Eastern Shore has greeted the 21st century as an emerging hotspot in both respects. Not only does the Shore draw tourists and visitors year-round from all over the world, we enjoy thriving art and food scenes, constantly evolving state-of-the-art healthcare, robust residential and commercial development, and a rich roster of talented entrepreneurs and professionals who continue to set up shop here every year. Now, with the imminent arrival of Heritage Financial Consultants, LLC, to Worcester County, the Eastern Shore is attracting big players from the world of finance and wealth management, too.

One of the INC. 500/5000 fast-growing companies in America four years running, Heritage Financial Consultants is currently trusted to oversee approximately $3.5 billion in client-invested assets. It has not only been listed among the top investment advisory and financial planning companies in the Baltimore area by the Baltimore Business Journal, Heritage Financial Consultants has clients in all 50 states and serves as the financial planning company for not one but several Fortune 500 companies. Heritage Financial Partner John McCarthy III has the proud distinction of having been recognized as a Five Star Wealth Advisor in Baltimore Magazine   and was recently interviewed by Smart CEO for a recent book release about the best-run firms in the Baltimore-DC area. McCarthy grew up in Europe and came to the U.S. for college, ending up in Chestertown at Washington College, where he was first exposed to the Eastern Shore. He likes to give the lion’s share of credit for his firm’s success not only to what he refers to as his “outstandingly talented team of planners and advisors” but also to Heritage Financial’s relationship with his broker-dealer, Lincoln Financial Advisors, for which nine of Heritage’s advisors, including McCarthy, were named to its Top 200 Advisors list in the U.S. for 2016. McCarthy also has the honor of sitting on Lincoln Financial’s Investment Committee of the Resource Group, perhaps the most elite committee to belong to within Lincoln’s ranks.

“It is no small feat that Heritage is part of the Lincoln Financial Advisors family,” said McCarthy, referring to his firm’s sponsor organization. “It represents an imprimatur, a touchstone of trustworthiness, reliability and stability that is extremely difficult to achieve, given Lincoln’s very well-known and rigorous vetting process in selecting its member firms. The planners are privileged to be affiliated with LFA.”

Lincoln Financial Advisors (a subsidiary of what is now Lincoln National Corporation) has emerged as a titan of the financial world, with in excess of $228 billion in assets under management. Lincoln National Corporation, founded in 1905 with the full endorsement of none other than Robert Todd Lincoln himself, ranks currently as the world’s fourth-largest life insurer by revenue, no. 25 by assets on the Fortune 500 list and gets top-five, and higher, rankings in financial strength by A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. In other words, it is simply one of the most financially strong and stable companies in global history — and Heritage Financial is one in its galaxy of shining stars and the largest firm whose planners are affiliated with the company. 

For the sake of full disclosure, Heritage Financial is not completely new to the Eastern Shore. It opened a branch in Preston, MD, not too long ago but now has its eyes on Worcester County as the site of its newest location. Part of the thanks for that no doubt goes to Heritage Financial Consultants’ Financial Planner/Associate John “JD” Donaghy. An almost 50-year patron of the Shore, JD spent spring breaks and summers in Ocean City with his family throughout his childhood and up into his college years at Virginia’s Lynchburg College, from which he graduated with a BA in international relations.  In 2005, JD purchased a house in Ocean Pines, and his wife, Duka, and son, Ben, completed the picture in 2010.

As have so many others, JD and Duka fell in love with the Eastern Shore and have successfully entrenched themselves in their adopted community. Duka worked for Halloway and Marvel and Perdue’s Agri-business; Ben attended Most Blessed Sacrament in Berlin and played Little League baseball and soccer; JD played softball on the Greene Turtle and Blue Ox teams, and has sponsored many events and local organizations over the years, of which the Art League of Ocean City falls the closest to his heart. 

“At this point, Duka and I no longer consider the Eastern Shore our home away from home; it’s just our home,” said JD, who has been active with a variety of local civic organizations and currently sits on the board of the American Red Cross of the Lower Eastern Shore. “It’s our favorite place to be and the place that feels most natural to us, because it has such a real sense of community. What you see is what you get here. Everything is so transparent, and that is both refreshing and reassuring to us.”

The appreciation of transparency is a major reason that JD enjoys working at Heritage Financial so much, because transparency is a mantra there, according to both Donaghy and McCarthy. They say that their status as an independent financial-services firm under the aegis of Lincoln Financial gives them the autonomy and flexibility to be, as John put it, results-driven, rather than products-driven.

“We’re not beholden to push or move the products of any financial-services company,” emphasized JD. “We can create and develop any financial instruments, packages or portfolios we want, based on the understanding and articulated goals and priorities of each individual client. Servicing the needs of our clients is our absolute, top priority.”

“Now, any firm can say that, but we can prove it — and we do every day through our objectivity and planning,” added JD, who includes risk management and the esoteric financial considerations peculiar to agribusiness as specialties. “Our independent status is a particular advantage to clients in a highly regulated environment, as is the case currently. The result is that we can offer strategies and products to the residents of the Shore that will seem completely unique to them and fit specifically within their personal plan.”

“We like to think of ourselves as the quarterbacks of our clients’ professional team that they have assembled over time,” said John, who is soon to become a resident of GlenRiddle in Berlin. “We have the staff, expertise and overview to coordinate all the components that compose a family’s assets and finances. From the lawyers and CPAs to the insurance agents and bankers, our Client Relationship Managers, all of whom are Series 7, are outstandingly trained and qualified to be the point person to integrate on an administrative level with the whole team, leaving the planner to act as the quarterback on a strategic level, working toward the financial health and security of the client.

The ultimate goal, say McCarthy and Donaghy, is to create a one-stop shop for all things related to assets, finance and wealth management through detailed and comprehensive planning processes. And again, that means transparency, which is a driving force behind why Heritage Financial charges its clients on a fee basis on assets it oversees. This aligns them on the same side of the table with the client, further enhancing objectivity. It’s the kind of straightforward business philosophy that they say made Heritage what it is today and an extensive service model they have designed for their clients unique in their industry. Heritage Financial has an impeccable track record and $3.5 billion in client-invested assets to its credit; their business model not only serves their client roster best but also attests most elegantly to the confidence they have in the skill and integrity of their company.



> 39360dd175df25d2c5b43a257c5902d0 MONEY MATTERS ]]>
LITERARY LIONS Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi When we at Coastal Style learned about Cat & Mouse Press’ Rehoboth Beach Reads series a few years back, we knew publisher Nancy Sakaduski was on...]]> When we at Coastal Style learned about Cat & Mouse Press’ Rehoboth Beach Reads series a few years back, we knew publisher Nancy Sakaduski was on to something good. Nancy knew that there was a pool of legit writing talent in the region and that residents of the Shore would be eager to explore what that pool had to say — very much the literary counterpart of the booming fine-art scene the Eastern Shore is so rightfully proud of. The editors of Coastal Style share these views, which is why we’ve supported Nancy’s good work whenever we could, as we, along with Nancy, feel it is part of our public-service mandate to the community to do what is within our power to promote the arts and creativity on the Shore, wherever it may dwell.

So we are naturally excited at the advent of the fourth book in Cat & Mouse Press’ Rehoboth Beach Reads series, Beach Nights, featuring 23 eclectic anthologies, culled from around the country, that range from mystery and romance to humor and historical fiction. As with previous Reads-series installments, the selections that appear in Beach Nights are a compilation of winning entries carefully selected by a panel of Shore-based literary judges, following a several-month-long competition, based on literary merit and themes that have some connection to the Rehoboth Beach area.

Beach Nights launches with “Good Vibrations,” a funny and romantic story involving a high-school prom, and continues through tales that involve a mermaid’s moon, a “Vampire Surf Club,” senior disco queens, a seemingly haunted Funland ride, murder at a Rehoboth hotel, a moonlit sea-turtle rescue and a kid who sneaks into a James Brown concert and meets the Godfather of Soul himself.

“The Rehoboth Beach Reads books are hugely popular,” says Susan Kehoe, manager of Browseabout Books, the contest’s sponsor. “Residents and visitors alike love the clever stories, high-quality writing and local settings. The books just fly off the shelves from the moment they are published and are among our top-selling books each year.”

For our part, we are not going to pick winners among the literary lot represented in this fourth series installment, as each of the writers is already a winner by virtue of their placement within it. Besides, when you’re talking about an anthology of well-written and assiduously selected texts by knowledgeable and discriminating judges, who is ultimately to say which are the best of them? It’s all a matter of personal preference at that point.

The deadline for manuscript submission for the fifth outing of the Rehoboth Beach Reads series is July 1. The fee to enter is $10, and each writer can submit up to three stories. Entries are judged on creativity, quality of writing, suitability as a beach read, and fit with the local theme. Contest information is posted on the Cat & Mouse Press website ( and on the contest Facebook page. 

> a7d3e465668fe1ee7463f11e2a13b542 BOOK SMART ]]>
THE DIVINE FEMININE Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Robbie Tarpley Raffish Deborah Rolig is exhausted. “Sometimes I think I bit off more than I can chew,” said the organizer of the new interactive art exhibit The Divine...]]> Deborah Rolig is exhausted. “Sometimes I think I bit off more than I can chew,” said the organizer of the new interactive art exhibit The Divine Feminine, opening at the Art League of Ocean City this May. “But even if our vision sometimes exceeds our abilities, we have to reach for the stars, right?”

The Divine Feminine seeks to “empower women through artistic expression,” and Rolig is quick to point out that it is not a “typical art show, where you walk in, hit the food trough and wine bar, then stand in the middle of the room and criticize the art. It’s a very different experience.”

The month-long exhibit includes a number of interactive pieces, such as a 360-degree installation by Katie Armstrong that visitors walk through, experiencing animation, music, birdsong and Armstrong’s own singing. There’s a selfie corner with a throne, stocked with boas, tiaras and a frame with the title “I Am Divine,” so visitors can represent their inner goddesses, and an altar piece at which people can light a candle to the Divine Mother.

“We want people to come in and constantly be looking around and saying ‘What is that? What’s happening over there?’” said Rolig.

Quilter Maryellen Bradley has a piece in the show, as does Rolig’s sister, Diane Gray, who is showing an “assemblage” piece. Photographer Selina Mellot will debut a slide show of images from the recent Women’s March on Washington.

The exhibit also includes what Rolig calls a “neglected art in the gallery scene”: writing. The Divine Feminine — An Anthology has been curated by author Kathleen Martens, who pulled together a group of 27 female writers from Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach. It includes prose, poetry and short stories, and 100% of the profits from the sale of the book will benefit local women’s causes.

On opening night, May 5, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., even the food and drink will be part of the show. “I don’t want to give away too much, because it is part of the experience, but think pink!” said Rolig. That night includes a Women’s Marketplace, at which local artisans will exhibit and sell their jewelry and fine crafts. It will also be open May 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Another way for women to participate will be through a series of events to be held throughout May at the Art League. A “Sound Bath” workshop led by Chrissy Earhart of Zenna Wellness will feature the healing tones of Tibetan singing bowls. A Tuesday-night series will offer speakers such as clinical psychologist Dr. Judith Pearson, discussing how to “step into the embrace of the Divine.” Seminars led by Rolig and Gray will teach how to use art and writing to tap into empowerment. 

“This is really out-of-the-box, and the inspiration came from my being frustrated because there was no real venue here for us to show in,” said Rolig. “Nothing against plein-air painters and traditional artists, but people are fed a steady diet of it, and it’s time to update the diet and spark the imagination. It’s my duty as an artist for myself and others. We want to be accepted in the art community as valued artists… it’s time to give people a new approach and something to think about.”

Guests will even leave with a little gift: a hot-pink wristband imprinted with “Empower Women.” 

The exhibit is free through the month of May at the Art League of Ocean City. For more information, visit  

> f92702fe9349deccbeaeba4c0906dc68 ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING ]]>
"TOUGH" KID Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Robbie Tarpley Raffish It’s the fourth day of the International Home & Housewares Show (IHHS) in Chicago, and R.J. Batts of Salisbury figures he’s walked “a...]]> It’s the fourth day of the International Home & Housewares Show (IHHS) in Chicago, and R.J. Batts of Salisbury figures he’s walked “a million miles.” A four-day trade show is long for anyone, but it’s an endurance test for a 14-year-old — the youngest exhibitor ever in the show. Yet, he gamely welcomes two more visitors to his tiny booth in the “Inventor’s Corner,” to demonstrate his brainchild, the Tip Tough Finger Guard. 

Statistics say 1 in 14 professional chefs, line cooks and kitchen workers will visit the emergency room this year, each with a knife cut severe enough to warrant stitches — resulting in lost wages, lost product and workers’ compensation claims. Batts’ dad, Bob, currently a chef at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City, cut himself several years ago — severely enough to be one of the above-referenced statistics. 

“I was 12 when my dad cut himself, and I got so upset,” said R.J. to the prospects. “No one should get hurt doing what they love. I became consumed with finding a way to protect his hand, so it couldn’t happen again.”

While playing around with a plastic container, R.J. had an inspiration. If he could encase a chef’s four fingers in a box, then tuck their thumb around the back, the knife would never reach the fingers. 

R.J.’s mom, Lori Batts — a former teacher and high-school principal who currently works for Wicomico County Public Schools, training guidance counselors — realized early that her son was a different type of learner. 

“He’s a doer, and he was hungry to get out to do this. He wanted to develop the idea, obtain a patent and bring it to market. Bob and I agreed that this was a tremendous opportunity, and we had to encourage it,” she said.

R.J. developed the design and had it rendered through 3D printing. Serendipitously, about the same time he had the plans in hand, he was accepted into the first class of the region’s Young Entrepreneur’s Academy (YEA!), sponsored by the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce. 

YEA! is a year-long program that provides professional mentors, speakers and field trips. It culminates in a serious “pitch presentation,” which puts the kids in front of business people, or “cohorts,” who may be willing to invest. Between 15 and 20 middle- and high-school students are accepted to each cohort, all of them serious about bringing a product or service to market. 

“We would not be here without YEA!,” said Lori. “YEA! mentors taught him how to write a business plan, market the product, raise money and obtain patents and trademarks. It was an amazing educational opportunity.”

R.J. named his company Picklehead, LLC. “It seemed fitting,” he said. “My dad used to call me that as a little kid, and I was doing this to protect him and other chefs.”

Back at the IHHS booth, R.J., with professional aplomb, explained to the guests (who, it turns out, are buyers for a major chain store) how the Tip Tough works. 

“See these baby carrots? They normally roll around and are a pain to cut. But the Tip Tough not only protects your fingers, these little prongs hold down the carrot so, it stays in place. Line it up, and you can get very thin cuts you could never get otherwise without cutting yourself. And,” he paused, smiling, “It’s totally dishwasher-safe.”

He stepped back and invited the reps to try it out. They asked if they could buy it now, and he told them they could get the hand-assembled stainless-steel version at He explained that the first manufacturing run of the stainless-steel Tip Tough Professional Chef would be available in June and that he is raising money to create the molds for the plastic “Home Chef” version, which he hopes to have in stores for this coming holiday season.

“I’m super-excited about the Tip Tough Home Chef because it comes in three sizes: medium and large for adults, and small, to protect kids’ hands. This means kids can learn to cook with less risk. Because what is it that keeps kids from cooking most?” he asked. “Knives. Everyone’s afraid of giving kids knives. Tip Tough makes it much easier and safer.”

R.J. won $15,000 at Salisbury University’s Shore Hatchery Competition last fall, taking second place in a pool of 30 adults. He’s received a $6,000 investment from TEDC, a Maryland-based innovation program, for the development of the stainless-steel molds. He was also just nominated for a Small Business Administration Rising Star Award.

At IHHS, he participated in a program called “Pitch to the Pros” — a group of industry professionals who come to give the inventors feedback on their products, Shark Tank-style. Nearly every one of the 15 judges he saw in the three rounds said R.J. “had something” and encouraged him to continue to push the envelope, refine the packaging and expand the reach of his social network. 

A longtime host on the Home Shopping Network visited R.J. at his booth after one of the sessions and told him “you’re TV” — meaning that he had the potential to reach the same heights as one of R.J.’s own idols, Scrub Daddy’s Aaron Krause. 

“That was so cool,” said R.J., who had the opportunity to speak with Krause — a source of inspiration to R.J since his Shark Tank debut. “I think I have watched every episode of that show, and I knew Scrub Daddy was going to be a hit. To meet Aaron and get some wisdom from him was amazing, and to hear I might be just like him one day, even better.”

Packing up the last day of the show, R.J. and Lori were tired but victorious. “This was so validating,” said Lori. “Several times during the show I thought I was going to cry, because each time someone in the industry praised him, I realized this was going to be a success. His dream is going to come true.”


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THE REHOBOTH FOODIE: BREAKING CHEWS Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 The Rehoboth Foodie A Big Chill is coming to the southeast beach at the base of the Indian River Inlet Bridge! LaVida Hospitality and the DE State Parks are developing...]]> A Big Chill is coming to the southeast beach at the base of the Indian River Inlet Bridge! LaVida Hospitality and the DE State Parks are developing the Big Chill Beach Club restaurant and event venue right smack on the sand! 

OC’s Liquid Assets is expanding their reach into Delaware — specifically Fenwick Island, where the old Claddagh used to be. Now we don’t have to drive all the way to 94th St. 

Sad to report that the delightful Zen Saigon Vietnamese joint in Bethany is no more. We already miss Kenny’s amazing Pho. 

The spirits are active at Dogfish Head Distilling in Milton as they expand their lineup to include a brand-new whiskey.

Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth’s annual Top Chef of the Culinary Coast event is at Rehoboth Beach Country Club this year! Over 20 local chefs compete — and the proceeds help feed our homebound neighbors! Tickets on sale now at 

By the time you read this, Joe & Chris’ new Blue Hen restaurant will be open in the lobby of The Avenue Inn in Rehoboth. The boys are well known for their wildly popular Henlopen City Oyster House

Construction is underway for the new 240-seat Bluecoast Seafood Grill at Gateway Center in Rehoboth near the new Fresh Market. The perpetually long lines at Bethany’s Bluecoast suggest that this will be yet another slam-dunk for SoDel Concepts.

Bowl a game, play Laser Tag, drop a few quarters in great arcade games — and get some surprisingly good lunches, dinners and late-nite fare at the new Lefty’s Alley & Eats in Lewes. Y’gotta see this place to believe it. ‘Nuff said. 

Touch of Italy is expanding northward! The stately old First National Bank building in downtown Milford will soon host those amazing wood-fired pizzas and all the deli delights for which TOI is so well known. And they’re already clearing the land for TOI’s brand-new trattoria/salumeria/pasticceria in Christiana. These guys must be doing something right!

Keep an eye on for the latest news & reviews here on the Culinary Coast. And stay in-the-know with the Rehoboth In My Pocket travel app — everything you need to know about the Rehoboth Beach resort area. Available at The App Store & Google Play.


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FOODIE ON THE ROAD: Bon Appétit Restaurant Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 The Rehoboth Foodie One of the sections in the Rehoboth In My Pocket travel app (available for iPhone, iPad and Android, by the way) is titled Hidden Gems. And one of...]]> One of the sections in the Rehoboth In My Pocket travel app (available for iPhone, iPad and Android, by the way) is titled Hidden Gems. And one of those gems is none other than Bon Appétit restaurant, cleverly hidden in downtown Seaford. Few things surprise me after 10 years of doing what I do, but my visit to Bon Appétit was quite a surprise. After all, the delightfully quaint burg of Seaford isn’t the first place one would immediately expect to find such a well-run fine-dining French eatery. From the moment we arrived to the moment co-owner Karen Pedemonte handed us our coats, everything was perfectly executed.

Karen and her husband, Chino, met on the job at a restaurant in New York. They purchased Bon Appétit in 1991, and their tireless dedication, skill, patience and an uncanny focus on customer service has made this comfortable spot one of the go-to eateries in Sussex and Worcester Counties alike. Though the theme is decidedly French, Chef Chino blends German, Incan, Chinese, Japanese and Swiss influences into his cuisine. He works only with the assistance of his sous chef, and if he isn’t able to work, the restaurant closes down. A guarantee of consistency if there ever was one.

Karen’s bailiwick is front of house, and she’s all about the details. From the fresh flowers to the crisp napkins to keeping water glasses and bread baskets filled, she works seamlessly alongside her seasoned waitstaff. And wait ‘til you see the vintage French prints and pin-ups that gently decorate this understated bistro.

I knew things were going to be interesting when carved butter flowers arrived at the table. And it just got better from there. Bon Appétit features a prix fixe deal of five courses for only $45. These aren’t “tasting” portions or a few selected low-cost items: The package deal includes the specials du jour along with pretty much every full-portion item on the menu. Quite a bargain!

We started with artichoke crostini:  Artichoke hearts, perched on toasted French bread and enrobed in warm Parmesan cheese sauce. At the risk of gushing, they were simply amazing. Ditto for the poached mussels in white wine with shallots, garlic and cream followed. Bracingly spicy with a gentle creaminess. I will not gush. I will not gush. I will not...

The chicken empanadas appetizer reminded us that it’s not all francophilic there at 312 High Street in Seaford. But rather than the traditional fried version, Bon Appétit’s are encased in a light and flaky puff pastry. We thought we were finished — until the entrées arrived: a perfectly grilled-to-temperature Black Angus New York strip slathered with roasted garlic butter; veal scaloppini sautéed in lemon butter laced with capers, and crispy, slow-roasted duckling topped with warm cherries. All three were top notch and something I would expect in any big-city eatery. 

The Pedemontes have been operating Bon Appétit for over 25 years, and it’s no mystery that what they’re doing keeps guests coming back year after year. Needless to say, reservations are a must. It’s well worth the drive.

Bon Appétit

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THE REVIEW: PIG & PUBLICAN, LEWES Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 The Rehoboth Foodie In the beginning there was the Pig & Fish Restaurant Company in downtown Rehoboth Beach. And, under the control of partners Doug & Lisa...]]> In the beginning there was the Pig & Fish Restaurant Company in downtown Rehoboth Beach. And, under the control of partners Doug & Lisa Frampton and Mike & Denise Stiglitz, it was good. So good, in fact, that they opened a second location called the Pickled Pig Pub. It was also good. Both restaurants offered well-prepared, upscale bistro grub — and lots of craft beers in a casual setting; Pig & Fish a bit more entrée-oriented, while Pickled Pig Pub excelled with overstuffed sandwiches, appetizers and happy-hour noshes at the bar. After a while, Chef Stigz and Ben Muse (his beer guru, aka Ben 1.0) decided to leave the beach behind and take their act northward to create what is now multiple locations of Two Stones Pub and their 2SP Brewery (home of the delicious Delco Lager).

Undeterred, the Framptons kept both restaurants running smoothly with the help of Corporate Chef Ian Mangin and yet another beer-lovin’ Ben (2.0 to be exact). Ben Cowell keeps the craft programs rotating at both locations.

You’d think that would be enough to keep these talented people busy, but it was not. A couple of months ago they opened the Pig & Publican, just east of the drawbridge in the Beacon Motel on Savannah Road in Lewes. (Remember the Beach Deli that used to be in there?) The Pig & Publican is similar in concept to the other two popular pigs but with a number of special international twists and turns.

Open at 11 for lunch and dinner year-round, the Pig & Publican has approximately 80 seats, as well as an outdoor patio that seats 20. Doug, Lisa, Ben, Ian and the crew offer casual yet surprisingly upscale offerings with a focus on Belgian recipes and craft beers. From the appetizers to the soups, sandwiches, salads and entrees, there’s always a polite nod to Belgian influences.

Opening night was a blast, with the able assistance of gatekeeper Lisa Frampton, GM Zach Rempfer, our enthusiastic server Kyle, bartender Eddie Pardocchi and the rest of the Pickled/Pig/Fish/Publican crew. So let’s take a look at the menu: One of the don’t-miss dishes on is the Bitterballen appetizer. These couldn’t be more different from Italian meatballs. Laced with crispy kale and a creamy demi, each one has a surprise cheese curd buried inside. They are generously portioned and can be easily shared.

The chicken and waffles entree with the fried egg gives an entirely new dimension to comfort food. It’s not breakfasty at all — it’s quite savory, in fact, with a dark gravy over crispy fried chicken (schnitzel, if you must) resting on a warm, slightly sweet waffle. Another tasty entree is the Machine Gun sandwich. A spiced Muerguez sausage is lovingly encased in a soft roll and topped with cheddar, sautéed onions and frites. A polite slather of mayo with harissa (a spicy blend of peppers) is the crowning touch. You will not be hungry for a while after you tackle this one.

Brussel sprout aficionados will love the little crispy orbs sprinkled with melted parmesan and basking in caramelized onion horseradish aioli. Of course, we had to pay homage to the Pickled Pig Pub by ordering the Poutine. Simple, to the point and filling: Sausage gravy overtop of warm fries and melty cheese curds. Viva Canada! Leave your diet at home for this one.

The dinner menu offers five varieties of mussels, paired with little gastronomic exclamation marks like ginger, bacon/gorgonzola, that Muerguez sausage, parmesan or bratwurst. The fries (call them “Beach Frites”) also come in eight varieties, in half or full orders. Nice touch.

Pig & Publican offers a huge selection of crafts in bottles and cans, including offerings from Allagash, Goose Island, Rodenbach, Ommegangs, Oskar Blues and even a couple of Trappist varieties. They have eight tap handles, and Ben 2.0 keeps the selections rotating seasonally. Get ready for the Captain’s Reserve Bottles. These include some brews you will not find elsewhere.


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NEW ADDITION Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 Nick Brandi Charlie and Katrina Collier have a great home in Hebron that has been in Charlie’s family for about four decades. When the decision was made to have...]]> Charlie and Katrina Collier have a great home in Hebron that has been in Charlie’s family for about four decades. When the decision was made to have Charlie’s father come live with him and Katrina, certain modifications needed to be made to the 2,000 sq. ft. home. Fortunately, Katrina does decorating and staging professionally and knows all the players in the industry. So when it came time to set the wheels in motion for a major home improvement, she called Will Tyler of Tyler Building Company.

“I’m familiar with essentially all of the subcontractors in the area,” said Katrina, “and they all said pretty much the same thing: When it comes to quality, efficiency and reliability, Tyler Building is the one. In this industry, it’s the subcontractors who really know what’s what more than anybody else, so I value their opinionsthe highest, and they said to go withWill Tyler.”

The Colliers’ home has a rustic cabin-style motif, inside and out, so they wanted to extend that theme to the 800 sq. ft. addition the skillful Tyler was commissioned to make. The home boasts the ever-popular open floor plan, with exposed beams, tongue-and-groove ceiling and an enormous 20’x 36’ great room, with a second-floor balcony that overlooks the entire first-level interior space.

The 32’ x 26’ living space that Tyler Building created for Charlie’s dad sports many amenities, including an incredible 20’ vaulted ceiling with trusses, which were specially treated by Tyler’s craftsmen with a decorative application of faux wood to simulate rustic walnut. The result is an earthy and authentic-looking support structure that is both lighter and cheaper than installing actual 18” x 6” x 6” beams. To complete the look, Katrina — who, naturally, orchestrated the décor scheme — had all the trim treated with a complementary provincial stain over a variegated frisé in earth tones. 

The space includes a kitchen and washer-dryer setup, as well as a luxurious bathroom with amenities such as double vanity sinks with upscale fixtures, a frameless glass shower door and high-quality wood-simulated floor tile in grays and browns, sans grout lines, capturing the aesthetics of seamlessness. But what is arguably the star of the show is the sitting room, with its high banks of top-quality Andersen windows. With a 16’ bank in the front and a 6’ bank on the side, Charlie’s dad has the perfect perch for him and his guests to enjoy idyllic views of beautiful sunsets, migrating geese and the horse farm next door. 

“We are extremely pleased with the work Tyler Building Company did,” said Katrina of the roughly five-month job. “He used mostly his own on-staff team, which I respect, and they exceeded our expectations, which were pretty high. Now, Will Tyler has one more local subcontractor to sing his praises — me!”


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NO BOUNDARIES Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 Nick Brandi In key ways, the porch, patio, fences, railings and decks, are to the final look of the house what that perfect tie is to that great suit. They are...]]> In key ways, the porch, patio, fences, railings and decks, are to the final look of the house what that perfect tie is to that great suit. They are the finishing touches, the cherry on the sundae, the capstones that bring everything else together for the look you always dreamed of when you’d first conceived the home you would create for your family.

Bob Douglas of Eastern Shore Porch & Patio knew this when he launched his business back in 1992. That’s why he assembled the most talented staff and uses only industry-leading materials in the crafting of state-of-the-art appurtenances that consistency enhance the form, function and enjoyment factor of every home his company works on.

Douglas launched Eastern Shore Porch & Patio from scratch, under the most modest of circumstances. “I started the business about 25 years ago, literally from my mother’s garage,” Douglas shared. “From the time I was a kid, I was always a go-getter. I guess you could say I only have one gear: full speed ahead. I’m really not big on idle time.”

Back then, he built his company’s momentum installing EZ Breeze porch enclosures all across the Eastern Shore, a service he continues to provide today. By the new millennium, he had expanded the operation to include fencing, essentially establishing his company as the regional go-to source for all things fencing both residentially and commercially.

These are not just any fences, though. All of Eastern Shore Porch & Patio’s fences — as well as it railings, pergolas, shower enclosures, trellises, landscape accents and other vinyl systems — are fabricated on-site in its 20,000 sq. ft. office/production complex in Selbyville, using 100% virgin vinyl guaranteed not to crack, fade or peel. The fences include aluminum reinforcement on the bottom rails (the same is true of its railings, which also include top-rail aluminum reinforcement), and, unlike big-box competitors, ESP&P doesn’t glue the pickets to the face of the rail or mount them to the posts. Instead, the pickets go through the rail and are routed into the posts, for far superior structural integrity and durability. Further, aluminum fences are powder coated to last even longer, while their wood fences are fabricated with western red cedar, to increase their lifespan while retaining a natural look and feel.

Meanwhile, the PVC and composite materials Eastern Shore Porch & Patio employs have taken the residential deck to a whole new level both structurally and aesthetically. ESP&P uses materials from Rhinodeck and Geodeck, with hidden fasteners to create a custom-crafted product that can endure the variable and sometimes severe weather conditions of the Eastern Shore. The same meticulous standards are also applied to every enclosure and screen room ESP&P does, seamlessly integrating them as though they were part of the original structure.

“Some folks underestimate the value of getting the fencing, railing and decks done right the first time,” Douglas said. “They opt for quick and cheap alternatives — and that usually doesn’t turn out well in the long run. They wind up either looking bad, not lasting or both. But these appurtenances matter, to the point that they wind up affecting the overall value of your home’s market value. It’s really not the area to go bargain-basement on.”

“We could not be happier with Eastern Shore Porch and Patio,” said customer Lynn Cattafi. “We needed privacy from our busy road, but we had grading that made the fencing a challenge, and I wanted it to look beautiful. They custom-made the gates to match the grading, and the quality is really top-notch. The price was significantly lower than Lowe’s or anyone else we priced. They were on time, true to quote and provided excellent customer service. We recommend them very highly.”

Big into the whole DIY thing? That’s what Eastern Shore Vinyl Products is for. The sister company of Eastern Shore Porch & Patio, Eastern Shore Vinyl Products is the wholesale/retail division that operates out of the same three-acre complex in Selbyville, where you can get completely custom fabrication and purchase all the materials you need. “Having everything together under one roof allows us to maintain two great companies while providing one great experience,” said Mike Phoebus, director of operations for ESVP.

Though Eastern Shore Porch & Patio continues their longstanding collaboration with such elite regional homebuilders as Schell Brothers, Ryan Homes and Lennar, Douglas emphasized that ESP&P views no job and no customer as too small. On the contrary, Douglas reports that their private residential work has been an especially robust growth market for the company in recent years. “That’s why I employ at least 35 people year-round,” said Douglas, “so that we’re prepared to handle any kind of job at any time.”


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THE CENTER OF IT ALL Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0500 Nick Brandi In the highly competitive world that is the home-improvement industry, lasting for nearly 55 years is a major milestone. Continuing to expand...]]> In the highly competitive world that is the home-improvement industry, lasting for nearly 55 years is a major milestone. Continuing to expand throughout that time, despite sometimes stagnant, even abysmal, economies is practically a miracle. But that’s exactly what Delaware’s Bath, Kitchen & Tile Center has done — even to today.

The three-generation family-owned company was launched back in 1963, with a single location on Lancaster Avenue in Wilmington. Three more locations have been added since then, culminating with the Bel Air facility, in 2015.

One reason for this success is that BKT is a full-service remodeler that also functions as a one-stop shop for its clients’ home-improvement needs, including turnkey remodeling for your kitchen, bathroom, home office, built-ins and more. You can get your cabinetry there, have your countertops fabricated there, find your tile and plumbing fixtures there, even your appliances. Their client base spans all segments of the community, from huge builders and general contractors to local subcontractors who operate out of a single pickup truck to the homeowners themselves — a market that BKT Retail Sales Manager Jodi McElwee says is on the rise.

Another reason for BKT’s enduring success is its people. By always remaining loyal to the vision, mission and business ethics of the family that created it more than a half-century earlier, BKT is today more than 100 employees strong. The team includes veteran estimators and installers, master craftsmen and certified designers, all unified in their single-minded determination to exceed even the most discriminating customer expectations. That’s why BKT has not only won several awards from the National Kitchen and Bath Association but has also made the prestigious Qualified Remodeler Top-500 list (#193) and been named a 2017 Best of Houzz winner for client satisfaction.

“For many people, home remodeling is an expensive, complicated and stressful experience,” said McElwee. “One of the foundations of our long-term success is that we have consistently earned the trust of our customers, who then share those experiences with their family, friends, acquaintances and coworkers, who in turn seek us out themselves, because they want the same experience for their own homes.”

Perhaps the most exciting news in the BKT world recently is the radical remodel of their Harbeson showroom, in the Lewes area. They opened the location some 15 years ago, to accommodate the onslaught of builders who had descended on the Eastern Shore to develop it into the national hotspot it is today. But, McElwee said, now is the time for the location to take the next step in the continuation of the impeccable reputation for service and products BKT established so long ago. This spring, BKT will splash six brand-new kitchen vignettes, a full-bathroom vignette, a home-office vignette and even a wet-bar vignette over 2,500 gleaming square feet, providing a more representative panorama of the options the company offers its clients. “We’re really looking to wow people with this new showroom,” McElwee said. “There’s going to be so much here for them to experience, which will not only display the options but will also kindle their imaginations, so they can more easily envision all the possibilities.”

One of the things BKT is especially eager to show off is its line of quartz surfaces from Cambria. Quartz is the hot thing in upscale countertops and other surfaces these days, and McElwee says BKT has the best selection in the region. 

“Make no mistake,” said McElwee, “quartz is not some bargain-basement alternative to marble, granite or Corian. This is, for many people, their replacement surface. We’re currently stocking some of the most beautiful quartz surfaces you can find in any home, and they’re all non-porous, non-staining and no maintenance. You simply install them, and you’re done forever. And they will always stay looking just as good as they did the very first day.”

BKT’s showroom features cabinetry by Yorktowne, Decora and Timberlake, as well as eight diverse styles of granite and quartz, a large selection of decorative hardware, several options for vanity tops and a tile-selection center. For those who don’t live here year-round but are sun and beach worshippers, BKT says it has your back, with beach-influenced concepts that epitomize why people flock to the Eastern Shore from all over the world.  

McElwee suggests staying tuned for the official announcement of the grand reopening of the showroom, which is scheduled to occur this spring.


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