Archive for May, 2010

Bad Hair Day?, honeysuckle and Venus

May 24, 2010

Bad Hair Day? in Rehoboth beneath the light of Venus.

24 May 2010

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”Meher Baba

On a clear spring night recently, Bad Hair Day? in downtown Rehoboth Beach looked colorful and festive as the last light of the day disappeared.  Venus, rising in the west, shown brightly as if to add her own brilliance to the scene.  Bad Hair Day? owner Drexel Davidson is back down to one salon, his flagship operation shown here.  He serves now as president of the Rehoboth Beach Main Street Association. At the organization’s recent annual meeting, he told those gathered that efforts are continuing to make Wilmington and Baltimore Avenues just as vibrant commercially as Rehoboth Avenue has become.  “We want to make Baltimore Beautiful and Wilmington Wonderful,” said Davidson.  He added that the organization is also looking into bringing an ice skating rink to the bandstand green for the months between Thanksgiving and March to keep downtown Rehoboth vibrant through the winter.

Everyone at the meeting, hosted by Eden on Baltimore, was optimistic about the season beginning to unfold.  Alex Moore of the Avenue Inn said bookings are up for the summer and Barbara Crane of Browseabout Books said she is also seeing a lift in business.  Paul Kuhns of Arena’s agreed that business is building and he also noted that work is progressing on the canalside improvements at the Rehoboth Beach Museum, and plans are also moving ahead to establish a public dock at the museum that can serve as a terminus for a water taxi between Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey.

Chewing the sweet air

Anyone who has been riding the back roads recently with their windows down or bicycling or walking the many local trails knows that the scent of honeysuckle is so sweet and strong that you can almost lick the breeze and the coastal fog and taste the plant’s nectar. Wild magnolias, which also scent the air with thick sweetness, are starting to unfurl their flowers.  Sugar magnolia, Grateful Dead. One of the great wild magnolia trips is a boat ride up the Broadkill River on an early June evening.  You’ll smell the magnolia blossoms before you see them, especially after the sun goes down.

You can pull nectar from the bottoms of brown or white honey suckle trumpets. I've always found the juice of the yellow flowers to be sweeter.

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A big striper and the university’s big TV

May 21, 2010

Doug Isaac and the fine striper he pulled from Canary Creek.

21 May 2010

“Attitude and posture are two things you have to cultivate your entire life.” – John Steinbeck

Doug Isaac of Fairfax, Virginia cast a piece of cut mullet into the rising waters of Canary Creek last Friday. As the 400-foot-tall University of Delaware wind turbine stood sentry in the background, he felt his line go real heavy.  Soon Isaac found himself reeling in a 28.5 inch striped bass.  When I arrived on my bicycle, half of the fish hung over the edge of a five gallon plastic bucket and a fly fisherman standing on the muddy bank up the creek a ways kept up a serene and steady pattern of cast and retrieve. Isaac was ecstatic about his big catch.  The fish looked swollen with roe. Indian River Inlet isn’t the only place where fishermen are catching these days.

After taking a few photographs I headed back toward town along Pilottown Road with a distant thunder and lightning storm thickening the sky over the Great Marsh.  Bright and colorful lights just inside the front entrance of the University’s Otis Smith Laboratory lured me like a piece of cut mullet to a hook. The lights emanated from nine 46-inch flat screen television screens mounted and connected into one unit on the wall of a lobby-like area just inside the lab’s entrance.  Dr. Matt Oliver took a break from a grant-writing project to explain the tremendous power of the electronic display.  Connected to Google maps and dozens of associated programs, the huge screen showed everything from the flow of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the vessels working in and passing through the area, to the levels of chlorophyll-related growth around the coasts. Oliver used the screens to explain the southern ocean oscillation that produces the weather-influencing El Niños and La Niñas.  He showed me how the east to west flow of the trade winds along the equator and in the southern hemisphere push Pacific waters across the ocean toward the Asian continent.  When those waters get piled up to the tipping point, the entire flow reverses itself creating what is commonly known as an El Niño.  Last winter’s blizzards and the excessive rainfall  that preceded them were due in part to an El Niño event. Oliver told me that the programs he was showing me on the screens have also been integrated into a marine science unit being taught at Cape Henlopen High School with teacher Bill Geppert.

By the time I left Oliver and the lab, darkness had fallen completely and the huge wind turbine was only visible when flashes of lightning picked it out of the darkness.

Matt Oliver and the University of Delaware's ultimate big screen TV.

Mariners, wind turbine and Roosevelt Inlet

May 12, 2010

See the way the rear range aligns with the wind turbine?

I took this photograph two weeks back from Pilottown Road in Lewes just across from the University of Delaware harbor. There’s no doubt that the tall, gleaming white structure with its whirling blades will become the singlemost prominent landmark for mariners making their way into Roosevelt Inlet from Delaware Bay. This photograph shows the alignment of the turbine with the rear range light for Roosevelt Inlet entrance.  Mariners, of course, who want maximum channel depth coming into the inlet will use the proper range alignments, using front and rear range lights and markers, however, there will be a temptation to use the turbine as a rear range.  I’m still checking to see what kind of lights will be placed on the turbine.

I haven’t made my first fishing trip of the season out into Delaware Bay but I will be interested in seeing just how prominent the turbine is from sea. This also puts me in mind of the Assawoman Canal.  My understanding is the long-awaited dredging project will be completed for this boating season.  I’m looking forward to taking Nellie Lankford to the wild creeks of Assawoman Wildlife Refuge and the even wilder creeks of Ocean City via the canal.  Keep an eye out for a report in the next month. Heidy Ho! and don’t forget that God is Love!

Restaurants kick off the new season

May 11, 2010

Nick Caggiano Sr., Kelly Munyan and Nick Jr. sit at Nicola Pizza's Upper Deck Sports Bar with its big windows looking over Rehoboth Avenue.

Nicola Pizza opened its 38th year with the debut of its Nicola Pizza on the Avenue and Upper Deck Sports Bar. Ryan Mavity wrote an informative article about the new restaurants in the Friday, May 7 edition of the Cape Gazette.  (If you don’t have a copy, check out the Cape Gazette e-Edition.) Nick Sr. and Nick Jr. were out in full force on the beautiful opening weekend of May. They said they will be mounting large color photographs of Joe Flacco, Chase Utley and Danica Kerpatrick this week on the stairwell going up to the Upper Deck as well as two bikini-clad girls in sunbathing poses on the upstairs wall.  They’re also pushing their signature Nic-o-bolis with a large-type slogan to catch passersby on the avenue:  “Did You Nic-o-boli Today?” The new Nicola facility has many of the familiar touches of the original Nicola’s on First Street including slatted benches and Tiffany-style lamps.  Nicola’s still features the smiling faces of many members and friends of the Caggiano family all of whom pride themselves on giving families the opportunity to go out for dinner in a casual and friendly atmosphere without breaking the bank.

Bee Neild, Marilyn Ruggles and Keith Fitzgerald on opening night for the 36th season of the Back Porch at 59 Rehoboth Avenue.

Everyone was hustling on opening night, Friday, April 30, at the Back Porch in Rehoboth.  One of the resort’s longest-running fine-dining restaurants, the Back Porch features the creative cuisine of Chef Leo Medisch who owns the establishment with Marilyn Ruggles and Keith Fitzgerald.  Prior to his death, Cape Region artist Tom Wilson – Leo’s partner – exhibited frequently at the Back Porch and in so doing helped establish the venue as one of the pioneer restaurant galleries in the area. This year, the restaurant opened with the colorful and fanciful work of Cassie Taggart who has exhibited frequently in the past. Taggart’s work functions on many different levels with an Alice in Wonderland quality that begs the viewer to wander into dimensions still unseen.  (Think string theory and atom smashers.) Taggart has so much going on in her paintings that purchasers can count on finding new stories, relationships and perspectives for many years ahead.

Get Bee Neild to blend one of his many signature drinks to enjoy as you contemplate Taggart’s work. The Back Porch’s bar manager has been on the scene for 35 of the Back Porch’s 36 years.  The Back Porch continues as one of Rehoboth Beach’s unique and memorable dining venues.

Cultured Pearl Chef Hiro Sono completes preparation of one of his signature scallop dishes.

One of the delightful problems of life in Delaware’s Cape Region is trying to sample all of the literally hundreds of places to eat, from fast food to snack bars and delis to fine-dining white table-cloth restaurants.  The Cultured Pearl didn’t skip a beat a few years back when it moved from its successful location on Wilmington Avenue to its dramatic upstairs space on Rehoboth Avenue. When the weather is pleasant, diners compete for the outdoor tables looking across the avenue where low-flying Vs of Canada geese cross as they make their evening descents to Silver Lake.  It’s tough to beat a messy bowl of spiced soybeans with a martini followed by a sampler of sushi and fresh seafoods accompanied by a cold Sapporo.

Everyone’s confident (with fingers crossed and an authentic piece of wood to knock) that the 2010 season will be strong, with lots of people hungry for everything from French fries and pizza to fresh tuna, unagi and all the other culinary pleasures of The Culinary Coast.  Delaware Cape Region restaurants play a strong role in the tourism economy and employ thousands of talented people who take great pride in their work.

Green fog hangs over Cape park

May 3, 2010

If pollen is nutritious and healthy, get to the park and get yourself a snootful.

The pines of Cape Henlopen State Park hummed with pollen Sunday afternoon.  Every puff of wind released mini-explosions of dry green mist into the humid and hot air.  For those who can’t see well, irritated eyes were an all-too-obvious clue that some natural event of significant magnitude was underway.  Not an earthquake or volcano or oil spill, but something still worthy of note.  If you looked up through the branches of waxy-needled pines, you could seed a fog of green hanging in the air.  The pollen fog was pervasive, filling not only the air, but also covering every path and trail and the feet and ankles of those trodding them.

If pollen is good for the lungs I’m in great shape.  If it adds years to your life I’ll outlive Methusala. If it makes a person smarter I’ll make Einstein’s Theory of Relativity look like 2+2 addition.

The good news is that the park wasn’t charging extra on Sunday for the pollen. It must all be related somehow to the severe winter weather we had in late January and early February.