Archive for October, 2009

The Kozman and his band strike again

October 28, 2009


Saxman Dave Koz and one of the world’s hippest bands anointed the 20th anniversary Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival with a wired performance that had a packed Rehoboth Convention Center crowd cheering madly at the Oct. 16 concert. Koz’s bassman has to be the coolest cat on the face of this planet.

After a fine meal at the Blue moon, Koz rolled into the convention center and burned off twice as many calories as he consumed at the Moon. High energy and high humdity!  Afterwards, he and band members wound their way to the back of the hall to sign and sell CDs.  “That’s one thing people really like about our festival,” said Delaware Celebration of Jazz President Denny Santangini.  “The venue is intimate and the artists always get together with the fans afterwards.”

Unlike most jazz festivals around the country, this year’s Rehoboth event drew great crowds and posted strong numbers.  “Our ticket sellers were amazed at how well we did this year,” said Santangini.  “They said every other festival is down.”

Santangini is already looking ahead to next year’s event.  He and I talked about having people like Alison Krausz or Ricky Skaggs on the stage at Rehoboth.  They’re not jazz but the early nights of the festival in the past have included musical acts from other realms.  Keb Mo is another name from the world of country, folk and blues that has been mentioned for a return to Rehoboth.

As for Koz, he loves Rehoboth and Rehoboth loves him.

The picture here was taken with an iPhone camera.  The resolution isn’t much but the effect captures some of the mood of the night.  Lighting and sound were exceptional for this year’s festival as was the overall organization by Delaware Celebration of Jazz.  That’s what being professional is all about.


Paddles, pedals, pints, politicks and pales

October 26, 2009


People paddled, pedaled, drank pints and politicked through much of the day Sunday to enjoy a beautiful October day and raise money for the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park. While the young winter season’s largest flock of snow geese rose from Gordon’s Pond, filling the sky between canal and ocean with an explosion of motion, a fleet of 40 kayaks made its way eastward from Lewes toward Rehoboth.

Organized by Dogfish Head, Quest Fitness and Lewes Cycle Sports, the event took advantage of two of the area’s great outdooring activities –kayaking on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal and bicycling on the Junction and Breakwater Trail – and paired them with pints of Dogfish beers, ales and sandwiches at the brewery’s Rehoboth Beach restaurant.  A northwest wind and rising tide joined forces to push the kayakers Rehobothward from the Canalfront Park where the fleet made the first organized use of the canoe and kayak launching area underwritten by Dogfish Head. The trip started a little after 10 a.m. and ended with a return to the park – after delivering the cruiser bicycles to Lewes Cycle Sports – at about 3 p.m.

The trip was not only invigorating and inspired by immersion in the beauty of the state-park-surrounded canal, it also raised several hundred dollars for the friends group.  People came from as far as New York City and as near as Lewes, Rehoboth and Salisbury.

The politicking aspect came from discussions about a water shuttle between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach via the canal and the need for a public landing area on the Rehoboth Beach end to complement the Canalfront Park landing at the Lewes end.  Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione has offered a $5,000 grant to begin the planning of a shuttle and Rehoboth Beach landing project.  The trails of the area and the shuttle possibilities create an opportunity to make transportation and mobility in Delaware’s Cape Region an amazing tourist attraction. Now the seeds have been spread.  Time will tell whether they have landed on fertile ground.

Nature has already done its work exponentially. The work remaining pales in comparison.


Wolfe House restoration progressing

October 16, 2009


If you haven’t been to the end of Wolfe Neck Road recently, where the parking area is for the Junction and Breakwater Trail, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.  Restoration work on the 19th century Wolfe House is making great progress.  The house has been shored up structurally with a new foundation.  Paul Camenisch and his team of expert carpenters have replaced asbestos shingle siding with cedar shakes and a new roof overhead will keep the structure in good shape for decades to come.   A porch and new room have been added to the back of the house as well.

The Wolfe House restoration is a partnership project between Sussex County Land Trust and Delaware’s Division of Parks.  All of the restoration work is being funded by private donations to the land trust, much of the money coming from pledges by the developers of 18 different projects who agreed to give a percentage of the sales of every lot in their projects for land preservation and other related projects in Sussex.  Jack Vessels, a member of the land trust board of directors and historic restoration specialist, has been overseeing and coordinating the Wolfe House restoration.  According to Land Trust Executive Director Wendy Baker, a number of contractors and suppliers have been providing free and discounted services and materials to keep the non-profit project affordable. When complete, the building will house an office for the land trust as well as administrative space for Cape Henlopen State Park, on whose land the building sits.

The Wolfe House was originally constructed on the west side of Wolfe Neck Road, in the 1800s, and was part of a farm that bordered Wolfe Glade, once much more of an open body of water.  It was later moved to the east side of the road where it has stood for many decades. In addition to members of the Wolfe family, dating back to the 18th century, inhabiting land on the south side of the glade, Native American communities – evidenced by extensive archaeological findings – inhabited settlements on the north side of the seafood-laden glade dating back at least 3,000 years.  Needless to say, the area is of great historical and cultural interest.

In the decades to come, the Wolfe House and its ancient cedar- and sycamore-shaded grounds will offer a great gathering place to celebrate the preservation of open spaces in Sussex and provide glimpses into the area’s original settlers and those who came after them.


Third Time’s A Charm

October 14, 2009
Some members of the Irish Eyes - Lewes crew include (l-r) Marcus Donovan, head chef; Amy Rae, assistant manager; Bob Cirelli, banquet chef; Kathy Newcomb, co-owner; Dana Smith, general manager; and Tom Jones, co-owner.

Some members of the Irish Eyes - Lewes crew include (l-r) Marcus Donovan, head chef; Amy Rae, assistant manager; Bob Cirelli, banquet chef; Kathy Newcomb, co-owner; Dana Smith, general manager; and Tom Jones, co-owner.

You can’t help but think of the Irish when you’re thinking of luck. Four leaf clovers, green hats and St. Patrick, red hair and green Irish Eyes smiling.

After two fires upset their successful gig in the last few years, everyone is hoping – and working – to make three times a charm for Irish Eyes when it reopens this week in a brand new building on the canalfront in Lewes.  Co-owners Kathy Newcomb, Tom Jones and their faithful crew hosted a party Monday night this week for contractors, staff and friends to show off the new building.  The latest edition feels good.  When it opens to the public this Thursday, Oct. 15, guests will find a familiar place that is even warmer than the last edition.  Minor design flaws in the last edition were corrected in this one and the upstairs deck has been covered and tabled and canopied so it can be used year-round for canalside dining.  Ronny Hill’s custom-built maple bar is surrounded by high definition TVs, a separate game room stands off to one side of the bar, and the art and memorabilia on the walls blend a nice flavor of Lewes and Ireland.

From the sounds of things, a wee bit of Ireland may blow across the sea for the restaurant’s first weekend.  A tough blow out of the northeast is forecast to add drama to the waterfront in Lewes and to the 20th Anniversary Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival.  The combination of a new moon and winds forecast to gust as high as 60 will probably make for exceptionally high tides on Saturday. The Irish Eyes opening, however, and the jazz festival offer plenty of great venues to get in out of the rain and wind and get a taste of the coast’s passion. Remember: there’s no such thing as bad weather; only weather for which you aren’t prepared.  Get out your foul weather gear and be ready to have a good time!

Everyone is wishing Irish Eyes and their crew the best of luck and success in their new building.


Colorful punkin chunker getting ready

October 8, 2009


Here’s a picture of Betty, an air cannon punkin chunkin machine being readied by Alison and Monica at the River Park in Lewes with the advice of past punkin chunkin champion Speed Lackhove.  Punkin chunkin will be held this year on its home west of Georgetown the weekend of Nov. 6-8. You can get all the details by heading to

Remember to do what punkin chunkin does: use cheerful equipoise to make the world a better place.

Cape’s new school: 2010 in 2009

October 5, 2009


Cape Henlopen School District officials will cut the ribbon this week on their new $75 million high school.  Many of us remember when a number of local Masons, including board members Harry Moore and Dave Truitt, donned their aprons in 1976 and set the cornerstone of the old school. The traditional and classic architecture of the new building, with its wide open spaces and lots of light, stands in stark contrast to the prison- and bunker-like feel of the former Cape High which is falling now to a crew of recycling demolition experts.

The new cornerstone is sitting on the sidewalk in front of the cavity left for its placement this week.  The date: 2010.  Hey wait – this is 2009 – what gives?  That’s another interesting story, but a short one.  The contractors finished enough of the school to have it open in 2009. Previously they thought the first class would begin in September of 2010.  But they jumped on the project, got her done, and Cape’s administrators decided to get in the building sooner as opposed to later.  All the final details on the gym and other areas may not be complete until 2010, but for now, the school is open, people are loving it, and the 2010 cornerstone will be cemented into place in 2009.