One of the biggest blessings for me in this last year has been the purchase of a beach house and being able to spend lots of time living in it.
When my dad died in 2016 I opted to have my brother buy me out of my dads Florida condo so Kevin and I could buy a home on the Delaware shore. We found this cottage in a community named Bay Colony in Dagsboro, DE (it is really north Ocean View but has a Dagsboro zip code) – the neighborhood sits on the edge of the Indian River Bay about five miles west from the ocean town of Bethany Beach.
Bethany Beach is one of two beaches I came to when I was growing up. I have always felt home here and it seemed fitting that this is where we would buy our beach home. We had spent many summers looking at homes in the areas surrounding the beach town – at that time ownership only a dream.
Bethany is where I spent years riding waves with my dad and brother(mom wasn’t a swimmer). We escaped a hurricane while on vacation here in 1976 – I think that was the year anyway – dad drove us to Dover to ride out the storm and all I recall is all of us piled into one hotel room and sleeping on a box spring with my best friend Eileen and getting some nasty stomach bug. We came back to the beach house we were renting and saw water lines on the house about five feet up- but there wasn’t any damage as I recall.
We stayed at a place called Hodge Podge Lodge for a couple summers when I was a kid- thats where I recall having bad sunburn and sandy bed sheets a beach staple. Mostly I remember great times in the sun and by the ocean. Kevin and I began coming here as a family in 2004 or so and made it our family tradition every summer for many years. We did spend a couple summers in Cape May, NJ – but Bethany was always where the kids said the liked best.
Bethany calls itself the Quiet Resort and that is what it is. It’s small and nothing stays open very late. For a rowdier time there is Ocean City, MD to the south and Dewey Beach to the North. For great food and also great shopping in the town and their outlets we can head to Rehoboth Beach just a bit north of Dewey Beach. And if the mood strikes we can take the ferry to Cape May, NJ – the other town I spent years going to as a child.
Many New Jersey residents are finding their way to Delaware to buy beach homes or to buy retirement homes because the Jersey taxes are very high – Delaware property taxes are very low and there is no sales tax. We are seeing New Yorkers and Philly residents as well- which is increasing demand for housing in the area – so new home starts are on the rise here. And its a lot more crowded in the summer -obviously- but there are many full timers here now and there is something going on almost every weekend over the off-season.
We named our house– Cool Breeze Cottage in homage to the nickname my dad gave me as a teen. My dad loved giving nicknames to people and places so I’m sure he would find humor in the use of this old nickname of mine for our cottage. I didn’t like the nickname as a teen but laughed at as an adult and now having raised my own teens I get it!
We are always a work in progress here but the bones of this home are good. We’ve lightly redone bathrooms and removed carpets and added flooring. We added new and old furniture. We added a fenced in backyard because we will always have dogs here. Kevin and my son Zach built and installed shutters. That woke the house up!
Last fall we had a landscaper come in and do some work. It looks great but it was soooo expensive. So this summer we have been maintaining the area ourselves. Which includes weeding– I used to like weeding but not anymore – so we added landscape stones to some of the front beds. We still have to weed but hopefully not as much. The plantings really are lovely and the stone walk on the side of the house looks nice.
We do have many projects left and a few things to replace. We plan to add board and batten trim in a few areas of the house and maybe some shiplap and we will paint the walls- or hire someone for that. I am not sure how much painting I can do anymore. The kitchen will be done eventually. But for now it’s good.
We spent this weekend painting my in-laws old dining table. It needed an update – the move was hard on it. We may paint the kitchen cabinets. But that will be more Kevin than me because my nerve damaged arm can only do so much. I type this and take break to put an ice pack on for a while – the price for overdoing. But I like to be doing- so I take the pain. I just want to feel as normal as I can.
Generally, most of our time here is for relaxing and sitting near some body of water. Kevin and I are able to work from here so that makes our time we are able to stay here very flexible. This home is not a rental but we have had some family and close friends use the house some. It is nice to be able to share it with others. I truly think this is a little piece of heaven on earth. And I know how blessed we are to be able to enjoy something like this. I wish my dad could see it – he would have liked it. I still get excited each time we come here and I am sad when we leave. I hug the house right in the kitchen/Family room door opening every time we leave. I hope I never take this place for granted.
I think I will write more posts about the area. We are discovering many places to eat and stores to shop in. It is really a nice place to be.