Friends of the South Coastal Library celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour in Bethany Beach
For 25 years, the Friends of the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach have been raising money in support of the vital community resource known as the Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. The highly anticipated event has become so popular, visitors often schedule their beach travel around it.
It is a massive undertaking. The event, held this year July 27 and 28 (9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), requires the help of 500 volunteers and has, conservatively, raised more than $1.5 million for capital improvements and special projects and programs, according to Joan Gordon, public-relations chairperson of the event.
“It’s an extremely well-oiled machine,” said Gordon. “What’s amazing is that we’ve been holding this event a long time, yet it always feels like new because the homes change. It’s never boring! It’s a great way to get ideas for your own home, no matter the budget.”
To be considered for the tour, homes must be in the library’s service area (from North Bethany to Fenwick Island, and the beach to West Selbyville) and, with few exceptions, must be different from year to year.
There will be several special elements to celebrate the tour’s silver anniversary. While the tour traditionally offers a look in 10 houses, this year there is an 11th home — the Bethany Nature Center. Originally known as Addy Cottage, it was on the very first Beach & Bay tour and was later donated to the Center.
Gordon anticipates that more than 1,800 tickets will be sold online, at the Library and in local stores. Each home will have “parkers,” who will manage the traffic (and protect the lawns!), and each attendee will receive a special tote bag that includes a self-guided tour. That program includes interviews with a handful of people who have attended every tour and with past chairpersons who will highlight how the show has evolved. It also includes profiles of the homes, including the builder, landscaper, interior designer and key interior facts. Before the opening, there will be a special cocktail party to thank the homeowners and sponsors.
The tour takes visitors into two homes at Iron Landing on the Indian River, five homes in Bethany Beach, one each in Sussex Shores, South Bethany and Bay Forrest, near Selbyville, as well as the aforementioned Addy Cottage.
For tickets and information, visitBeachandBayCottageTour.com or the Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour page on Facebook. To learn more about the Friends of South Coastal Library, visit FOSCL.com.
What inspires people to throw open the doors to their homes over two days so that hundreds of strangers can take a peek? For Susan and Sarkis Aghazarian, owners of 102 Wellington Parkway (and the home sponsored by Coastal Style Magazine), it’s a way to return a favor.
“In 2009, I came to Bethany Beach with my daughter and just fell in love,” said Susan Aghazarian. “We were drawn to it: the family feel with a smaller boardwalk, quieter evenings and the beautiful beach. We want people to come see our house and see that Bethany is a wonderful place to unwind, enjoy family and make time for being together.”
In 2011, the family bought the lot and lived in what was a “pretty basic” home for a few years, in order to see how and when they would use it. Susan’s husband, Sarkis, is a general vascular surgeon, and “getting away” was at times difficult, especially with four children (now ages 21 to 28.)
After a few summers as homeowners, the couple set plans in motion, tearing down the original home and, working with Summerhill Builders, designing a contemporary structure with a rounded roofline that was light and open.
The home includes 6 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms (including two “Jack-and-Jills”). Each of their children was asked
to design their room. Susan noted, “As kids get older, their lives take them out into the world. It’s our hope that they will come here for years, especially as they marry and have families.”
The home features inverted living space, with the living room, kitchen and master bedroom on the top floor and the other bedrooms on the lower one. The ceiling is rounded on the inside, to follow the outer curve. Big hickory beams and all hickory floors complement a stacked- stone fireplace.
On the exterior, Pepper Creek designed the landscaping, which includes crape myrtles, hydrangeas, roses and other flowering plants. “We wanted color that blooms through summer to welcome us home,” Susan said.
Her favorite feature is the deck off the living room, which provides a view of waves breaking. It offers plentiful seating and a fire table, and she says the family is “out here nearly every night.” She is also enamored of a light fixture that hangs down into the foyer that is suggestive of lighted jellyfish, a winding staircase that leads to a tower at the top of the home and Taj Mahal quartz countertops in the kitchen.
“This house is a dream come true, both the home itself and the time we get to relax in it,” said Susan. “As we come over the Bay Bridge and make our way here, it feels as though we have left any troubles on the other shore.”
25TH ANNUAL BEACH & BAY COTTAGE TOUR
July 27-28, 9:30 AM - 4 PM
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