Few things in life heal me more than the view you see above. To some its very pretty; Your standard beach sand and fencing. To me and members of my family, it means we arrived at a place we’ve be journeying to long before I was born! So many memories to the right, left, and forward direction of this picture. For me, I got to experience my grandparent’s beautiful Lewes, Delaware beach house for my last summer as a….non-parent? Is their a word that seems less generic and strange for those who haven’t completely transitioned to parenthood yet? Maybe my pregnancy brain is cutting off all my good word usage. Anyways, the Mr. was hard at work and couldn’t attend without taking away time from the next big event in September. He thought it best that he have time in September for when our girl arrives as opposed to vacation for himself. Though I was initially disappointed at this, I came to thank God for a husband who thinks ahead to attend to the greatest need.
I’d rather not talk about how the trip was to get there. Haha! All you need to know is that I will never travel while 30 weeks pregnant again and never take United for as long as I live. Alas, after arriving with my mom in the wee hours of the morning, we were finally in our “hilariously blue” beach house as everyone was deeming it after my cousin so eloquently stated it. I was finally able to cross an item off my bucket list by residing in the “Bay-view” room (Upper left house corner with the balcony) for the first time! My mom was so gracious to allow me the whole bed and eventually the whole room (Hopefully not because of my snoring…lovely pregnancy symptom). Waking up to the view of the Bay was like waking up on a cruise ship. From the tip of your toes looking past the bed, all you can see is Bay and horizon with the rock wall creeping out from the right. Every morning I would look out from the balcony and take in the blast of sea air.
One of the most wonderful things about vacationing in this area is the sheer amount of activities you can dive into. Not only does our slot on the Bay allow us great access to all water sport craft, but a 10 minute bike ride from the beach house will take you straight into Cape Henlopen State Park. This park is drenched with World War history and every bike trail permeates pine scented delight. Another wonderful destination within a five minute biking distance from the beach house is the ferry terminal!
The ferry has enchanted me since my childhood and has added an element of nostalgia every time I hear its bellowing arrival horn travel on the breeze heard by all nearby neighborhoods. I only remember riding the ferry once when I was very little. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a full trip to Cape May where its route comes from, but it was still one of the greatest joys of my life! I’m sure my other family members and I can tell you we’ve lost count of how many ferries we’ve seen come in go in our lifetime. You can usually catch one coming in around sunset when the sun is about to kiss the rock wall behind it.
The optimal place to view the coming ferry or the sunset is right from the deck with every family member. There is something unspoken about gathering at sunset on the deck. It never has to be coordinated and no-one ever has to speak a word. It’s like the warmth of the moment draws us together to witness the end of an amazing day with yet another one of God’s masterpiece sunset canvas’. Not one is the same as the other.
My favorite morning activity at the beach house is getting out on that beach and walking, walking, walking. I admit, pregnancy put limits on my distance. I felt my feet ache to go back when my will was aching to move forward. It was hard to strike the right balance, but I eventually got a grip on my bodily limits. Occasionally, I would have a pack of lovely walking companions with me that kept my spirits high and distracted me from the ache in my feet.
When I really felt like going the extra mile by myself, the pier was my destination of choice. I’ve fished off this pier since I was a tiny thing. I remember my Grandpap teaching me how to tell the difference between a Blue Crab nibbling on my line as a opposed to curious fish checking out the bait. It was on this pier that my baby brother caught a 26″ flounder that looked half as big as he was at the time. Grandpap also taught us how to descale fish (Don’t knock it till you try it!).We learned so much just from fishing on the pier. Sadly, the fishing hasn’t been as rich in plunder as in years past, but just walking the pier itself is satisfaction enough.
When the wind is just right, the Bay will start to entice out the sailing crowd. I absolutely love watching others sail! However, I was never a huge fan of being on our sailboat at the beach house. I will usually only go with the seasoned sailors of our family if I go at all. I consider my mom to be one of those seasoned sailors. She seems to have a natural knack for feeling the wind and predicting the best course of action. Mike and my mom go sailing just about every time they’re there at the beach together. If I’m in the mood, I usually pull out my favorite beige kayak and chase the sailboat for pictures out on the water. Nothing beats watching the boat from the middle of the Bay!
Another gem located well within biking distance of the beach house is the quaint downtown area filled with good eats and vintage shops. One of my/our long standing traditions while visiting Lewes is to acquire the bounty of good food that seems to congregate at the downtown epicenter and all around it. For years my family has brought home ginormous sticky buns from the Lewes bake shop for breakfast. You can smell the cinnamon and caramel wafting through the kitchen as family members get them warm and gooey in the microwave again. This year, Grandpap did the honors off crossing off that item from my beach trip bucket list! Many thanks Grandpap! Another one of my favorite joints to eat at near the downtown area for a savory bite is Irish Eyes.
I believe that it was with my dear cousin Joy that we discovered an appetizer at Irish Eyes that we always make a point of getting whenever we visit. The crab dip is phenomenal here! No need to even purchase a meal alongside of it because it really does hold its own. Chunks and chunks of crab meat and cream sauce with melted cheese served in a hollowed out bread bowl alongside crisp tortillas seasoned with Old Bay. It literally makes you want to jump in the Bay to eat it! I was able to share this tradition with my mom and brother seeing as they had not ordered it before and it was well received.
After a hearty sea savory meal, it’s always a good idea to walk the historic streets of downtown to burn off the food and prevent scurvy….okay maybe a little dramatic, but walking is good so we did a bit of poking about and ended up at one of my favorite antique shops in the area. You can always tell a good antique shop from the way it smells when you walk in. Aged items and collections have a very distinct smell. If you walk in the door and don’t smell the age in every nook and cranny, it’s safe to say that you’re not amongst the real deal. Luckily for us, the comforting scent of years gone by blasted us into a state of reflection and curiosity.
As your adventures at Lewes have you popping in and out of the beach house, you might catch a glimpse of the tide completely high or completely low. I’ve always been a fan of low tide especially in the mornings. There is something about the unseen coming to light that peeks my curiosity and I find myself becoming a Bay bottom detective when the water recedes back to unveil another mystery for me to solve. “So this is what I stepped on yesterday”, I think to myself. I pull up a large brick and walk it over to our ever growing brick pile. You might be thinking, “Bricks in the Bay?….Explain.” The beach you now see had a very rich history in the fishing trade and looked a bit more like this…
(Lewes, Delaware in its big fishing days. Cape Henlopen visible at the top)
My Grandparents could tell you a bunch about the old factory and how incredibly rich the Bay was with a fish called Menhaden. The fishing industry placed here reached its beaming brilliance from the 1950’s-1960’s. In 1964, it was reported that the Menhaden catch was at its most bountiful. However, the bounty didn’t last very long and soon the Menhaden fishing industry had collapsed all along the East Coast. As you can see, there were many buildings that had to be torn down after the collapse and not everything made it to the dumpster. I distinctly remember one year that one of my cousins actually found a doorknob while walking alongside the Bay. Some find it a bit unsettling to walk the Bay bottom not knowing what they’ll step on. I on the other hand, consider it like a treasure hunt. Although the Menhaden aren’t around these waters anymore, I still bump into an occasional fish friend.
No, I do not take pictures of dead fish. This little guy was actually alive! On one of my sandbar walks in the morning, I discovered this fish thinking it was dead. As I neared to get a closer look, this fish with its belly to the sky started swimming away from me on its back! I had never seen his before. I thought I’d try to help him out and turn him over after snapping a quick picture of his big black eye and metallic scales.
I quickly returned him to the water belly side down and waited for him to take off. He reluctantly rolled back over on his back and swam slowly against the tide away from me. It might be safe to assume that this was a bait fish on a hook somewhere that either got free or was released and because of whatever scenario he experienced, became disoriented or his equilibrium no longer functioned. Not the most thrilling of fish stories I’ve ever told but it still counts! Good luck little fish…most likely you’ve been eaten by now.
Soon its the end of another day. As the sun provides is last bright gleam on the water, you might see the occasional kayaker, sailboat, or paddle boarder drawn to sit in the middle of the gleam. What better way to share the last light of day than with your furry friend on the Bay. It’s the perfect ending for a fun packed day tomorrow.
(A Beach House Breakfast by Grandpap)
After fueling up on a well rounded breakfast, considering the weather, temperature, and other such important things, it’s time to prepare for one of my favorite water craft activities. It’s time for a boat ride on the Bay with my Grandparents! Not every boat ride is the same and not every boat ride beginning is “smooth sailing”. I cannot pride myself in being mechanically savvy like most people in my family. Handy? oh yes. I’m a DIY veteran and love construction. However, Jerry-Rigging the wiring under a boat console in 90 degree heat is not my strong suit. Knowing this makes me appreciate my Grandpap even more! Grandma and I stood over him hoping to give him some shade as he cut and rewired things under there but that’s as much as I believe we felt able to do in this circumstance. After diagnosing the problem, Grandpap was able to get the engine started and away we went!
A tour of the Bay is the perfect outing for a shutterbug like me. I love documenting things with my camera, but there is something really special about documenting the same boat route taken each time I’ve visited Lewes. Each year that I get to spend time at the beach house, I get to take pictures of the same objects over time and compare them to my past images and see history unfold. Even the slightest change is noticeable. I will never tire of taking pictures of the same thing. Our beautiful beach house and it’s chipper coat of paint, the boats tied up along the canal ready for their next adventure, and the people I get to share all of this with. The one item I will always be breath taken by is my favorite lighthouse.
Grandpap hardly has to ask anymore if he should get closer for a good picture because I ALWAYS want to photograph this lighthouse. The colors are so rich and the tattered rock wall adds a beautiful base to this gorgeous piece of architecture. I often imagine myself on the dock below photographing the lighthouse from my back with my lens straight up to the sky. I would walk up the stairs and capture the sea blast from past storms eating the paint. Then I would make my way to the top and circle around the light fixture capturing every single angle possible. It would be a an absolute dream!
My thankfulness journal has been poured into everyday from this trip and many things since. Gifts such as, “The Bay Breeze”, “Boardwalk Ski-ball Tradition”, “One-on-One time with Grandparents”, “Old Stories Told”, “Grandpap’s Jokes”, “Eating Every Meal Together”, “Reminders of Grace”, and so much more fill the pages of my little pink journal. I’m so glad that I took this 10 thousand gifts challenge before my trip to Lewes. It made my experience there SO MUCH RICHER. It has made my life upon returning so much better. Looking for these little moments and recognizing them as the true gifts they are from God really does change your perspective resulting in fulness of life. It makes the gift of giving His Son, grace, new daily mercies, and forgiveness (not earned or deserved by any means) more incredibly unfathomable and it shreds up the attitude of taking it for granted in the first place. It all starts with gratitude.
Thank you Grandpap and Grandma for hosting me and giving this summer 2016 rich memories to last me a lifetime! To my other blog readers, I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my trip in Lewes and hope you remember to look for the little gifts God gives you daily and praise Him for it! My next post will be sometime in the beginning of August when the nursery has been photographed completely to share on our Delightfully Downin Blog! Many Blessings!
All Is Grace,