Coastal Style Magazine en-US Tue, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 A TRUE TALENT Tue, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 Alison Clary For local jewelry artist Dawn Pierro, a passion for artistry came later in life. Through her many years working as a preschool teacher, Dawn did not...]]> For local jewelry artist Dawn Pierro, a passion for artistry came later in life. Through her many years working as a preschool teacher, Dawn did not consider herself especially artistic, much less that she would one day become a professional artist.

Everything changed 18 years ago, when Dawn took a bead-working class at the Rehoboth Art League. She immediately felt a connection with this hands-on artistry and discovered she possessed a natural talent for it. Dawn soon found herself expanding beyond simple beadwork by tinkering with metal etching. This combination immediately sparked a passion, and later a career, in transforming metal into unique jewelry. 

Now an accomplished professional flourishing local art scene, Dawn uses a variety of media in her handcrafted collections, including metal work, enameling, stone-setting and riveting. 

Dawn’s jewelry designs are eclectic, so there is a piece for every personality type. Her collections often include stones paired with intricate metal engravings. She is extremely careful about the sources and stones she uses for her work, which adds to their uniqueness. 

Pierro’s favorite aspect of the profession is when customers ask her to create a custom piece of jewelry. “Oftentimes, they are searching for a truly unique piece that symbolizes a special meaning for them or their family,” said Dawn.

One of Dawn’s favorite custom pieces, which was requested as a surprise gift for a bride, came in the form of a compass-shaped bracelet. Compasses hold a symbolic meaning for the bride’s family, so to add even more personalization to the piece, Dawn etched a quote from the bride’s parents on the backside of the compass. “I loved being able to provide the bride with such a personal and meaningful gift on her big day,” said Dawn.

Dawn is grateful to the community for helping her to recognize her passion. Her artistry has come full circle in that she has since shared her passion through teaching art classes. “I feel continually blessed by how many wonderful people I have met through my art,” said Dawn.

Dawn’s jewelry can be viewed and purchased by appointment at her home studio on Beaver Damn Road in Ocean View. Her designs are also for sale at local art shows throughout the year, as well as on Facebook and Etsy. 



> 6b25d2988c06a3fcfa951f5468daba8f ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING ]]>
HANDLED WITH CARE Tue, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 Alison Clary While many families were spending the Sunday after Thanksgiving relaxing at home, the Shore Pride All Stars were hard at work, putting together care...]]> While many families were spending the Sunday after Thanksgiving relaxing at home, the Shore Pride All Stars were hard at work, putting together care packages to send to a deployed military squadron with a special connection to the talented cheerleading team.

Fifteen-year-old Becca Kelly has been a dedicated Shore Pride All Star for five years. The Kelly family patriarch, Robert Kelly, is a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and has served in the military for 32 years. On September 5, 2018, Sergeant Kelly was deployed to the United Arab Emirates. 

“It’s always hard for our family when Robert is deployed, but this current deployment has been extra tough, since we received word that his squadron doesn’t have the accommodations they typically do when deployed abroad,” said Robert’s wife, Debbie Kelly.

Upon learning of Sergeant Kelly’s squadron’s situation, the team immediately began collecting items such as toiletries, snacks and personal letters to send over before the holidays. 

“We wanted to remind them that we are thinking about them every day,” said cheerleader Colby Bennett, 15. 

The team also included members of the Shore community in the process. Alisha White, a youth group leader at Dagsboro Church of Christ and mother of team member Taylor White encouraged her youth group to either say a prayer for Mr. Kelly and his fellow servicemen or write a letter to include in the care packages. She was thrilled by their reception and enthusiasm.

“My father and grandfather both served in the military, so I recognize the sacrifice the Kelly family has made. It’s like cancer, in that you don’t know how hard it is until it affects someone close to you,” said Alisha.

The Shore Pride All Stars initially planned to send personalized care packages to each of the squadron’s 40 servicemen and servicewomen. But after pulling together all the donations, the group was delighted to discover they had collected enough to fill 47 packages. They also assembled treat-filled packages for each of the squadron’s four K-9s.

“Robert is scheduled to return home on June 5th, but we’re never certain if the return date will change due to unforeseen circumstances” said Kelly’s mother, Carol Kelly. “The team’s support means a lot to us as we await the unknown.” 

The Shore Pride All Stars plan to continue supporting the community and the Kelly family in the future.

“We emphasize the importance of philanthropy to our girls,” said Anne Oglesby, a member of the team’s Parent Pride organization and mother of team member Georgia Oglesby, 14. “This is why we organize events such as these, so the team can participate throughout the year.”

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A FORCE OF NATURE Tue, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 Alison Clary Henry David Thoreau once said, “The world is but a canvas for our imagination.” For local mixed-media artist Debbi Dean-Colley, this quote rings...]]> Henry David Thoreau once said, “The world is but a canvas for our imagination.” For local mixed-media artist Debbi Dean-Colley, this quote rings especially true.

Debbi’s extensive artwork collection, which includes a current exhibition at the Art League of Ocean City, consists mostly of unconventionally yet artistically reimagined versions of items Debbi has uncovered in nature.  

“I consider myself a hunter-gatherer because I personally scavenge all the elements used in my artwork,” said Debbi.

She sources most of her artistic components from the local environment, often from walks through Assateague Island. Debbi doesn’t rely on one specific type of artistic element, but rather she uses a wide variety of media for her creations.

“I go for anything raw or organic that catches my eye,” said Debbi.

A 35-year vegetarian, Debbi maintains a deep admiration for the animal kingdom and channels this respect into her artwork. She looks for ways to display a connection of spirituality and purpose to Mother Nature in every piece of art she produces.

“I often find myself incorporating faces into my creations, specifically eyes, because they are the window to the soul,” said Debbi. 

Debbi’s artistic genre of choice wasn’t always mixed media. In her early art days, Debbi attended the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, where she studied metal design, jewelry making, and even pottery-wheel throwing. It wasn’t until later when Debbi was inspired to shift her focus to mixed media, for which she is primarily self-taught.

Now, with an impressive slew of local exhibitions to her credit, Debbi’s love for the arts spans far beyond her mixed-media creations. She currently serves as the Art League of Ocean City’s Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. In this role, she strives to get the local community involved in and inspired by the arts.  

Part of Debbi’s outreach includes the Art and Soul program, which she started last year with the help of a grant. The Art and Soul program occurs monthly at the Art League of Ocean City and it allows members of the public to create art without boundaries. Debbi and the Art League began the Art and Soul program to help aid the local fight against opioid addiction. In its first year, the program has benefited the community through providing people who are suffering — whether through addiction, mental illness, or grief — a positive outlet to heal. 

Debbi hopes to continue the Art and Soul program in the future and she plans to expand her outreach efforts on behalf of the Art League of Ocean City. She also wants to keep inspiring her two daughters, Damiana (17) and Kaya (15), who have inherited her passion for art. 

> aa667e43eeb7b0b78d18b8c7f69b21a8 ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING ]]>
SANTA BOB STECK Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane One evening, many Christmases ago, letter-carrier Bob Steck was driving home from his Pennsylvania postal route when he spotted a tall, skinny...]]> One evening, many Christmases ago, letter-carrier Bob Steck was driving home from his Pennsylvania postal route when he spotted a tall, skinny mailman going up and down steps dressed as Santa Claus.

“I knew the guy personally — he looked terrible,” Steck said. “Terrible Santa Claus. But I just thought it was fantastic he was doing this for the public. I said, ‘That’s really cool.’ So my wife went to Woolworths the day after Christmas and came home with a Santa suit for $50.” 

And thus began an annual holiday tradition for Steck, a mailman for 20 years on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, and his postal customers: One day each year, right before Christmas, he delivers their mail, dressed head-to-toe as Santa Claus.

“I do it for the people of the route,” he said. “They love it. It gets them jazzed up for Christmas week. They say, ‘Ring the doorbell; we want to get a picture.’ I always bring candy canes for the kids. If I can do it on a Saturday, that’s the best, because you see kids on the Boardwalk. The kids, they get a little confused seeing Santa delivering mail, and I just tell them, ‘I’m helping Santa Claus.’”

People on his route ask him why he doesn’t dress up for the whole week leading up to Christmas? But that would be tough, because it sure does get hot under that suit and beard, Steck said. Not to mention, it’s a much longer day than usual, because his dozens of customers all want to stop and talk to him or snap a photo. But he can only chat for about a minute before moving along the route to the next mailbox.

“You have to get your mail delivered and get back to the office,” he said, “because management’s still looking at your timesheet.”

He’s had many fulfilling moments over the years. Like when a truck pulls over, and the construction workers’ faces light up, asking, “Can we get a picture with you?” Or when a little kid comes out of Nicola Pizza and wraps around his leg, yelling out “Santa, Santa!” Or when that homebound senior citizen, who never sees anybody but the mailman anyway, catches Saint Nick coming to the front door and exclaims, “My goodness, this is my Christmas!”

“Every year, I think: Am I going to do it again?” Steck said. “And it’s Christmas week, and the wife says, ‘You gotta do it.’ So it makes everyone happy, and I’m happy, too.”

Not everyone gets it. Dogs that are used to seeing their mailman, when they see Santa Claus coming, they get very upset, Steck said. They don’t recognize the mailman, so they start barking. All they see is some strange old guy coming with a beard to
the door.

Steck, 59, who makes his home in Fenwick Island, says he’s pretty sure he’s in the minority of mailmen who bother to dress in a full Santa Claus costume during the holidays.

“The workforce, they look at me and say, ‘Bob’s different — that’s why he does it,’” Steck said. “Upper management in D.C., they wanted to know who I was and why I did it. I thought they were going to write me up and discipline me. They said, ‘No, we want to give you a write-up, because it’s awesome.’ It was nice that I got an ‘attaboy!’”

Bob and his family decided to make a permanent move to the beach from Pennsylvania in 1998. When he transferred here, he said nobody wanted the 13-mile walking route along the Boardwalk. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Give me that route!’ You see the ocean, sometimes you see the dolphins. I’ve had it now almost 18 years. So I know extended families, their kids, their grandkids. I still have people coming back every summer. They all know Bob the Mailman.”

Other delivery services, like FedEx or UPS, sure, they may put on a Santa hat at Christmastime, Steck said, but in his eyes, they don’t go the extra mile, like the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service. 

“We have surveys done a couple times a year,” he said, “and number one is, we’re all proud to work for the Postal Service. We serve not just by delivering the mail; we look out for the public. We see everything… we’re Santa Claus year-round.”

> f7c0cbb22f1dd19c8d3ea44016bccc8b FOR THE HOLIDAYS ]]>
SANTA AARON "BULL" HUDSON Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane Every December, Salisbury hosts Santa’s Workshop. The city builds a tent, hands out hot chocolate and treats, and kids line up. Santa and Mrs....]]> Every December, Salisbury hosts Santa’s Workshop. The city builds a tent, hands out hot chocolate and treats, and kids line up. Santa and Mrs. Claus are delivered in a firetruck. When they round the corner, the lights and sirens come on. And it’s just a madhouse.

When Santa comes down off the truck, it’s supposed to be a long and leisurely walk, so old Saint Nick can make an entrance. But Santa looks and sees that hundreds of people are crammed into the neighborhood at Light and Newton Streets, all waiting to meet him. 

It becomes a challenge to push through the holiday horde, even when Santa is a six-foot-three, 300-pound policeman everyone knows simply as Bull.

“All the kids, they just storm you. They literally can’t wait to see Santa. A lot of the young kids don’t know there’s a police officer under there,” said the man in the Santa suit, City of Salisbury Master Police Officer Aaron Hudson.

Bull is a 27-year Salisbury Police veteran and Delmar native whose current beat is patrolling Salisbury’s Downtown Plaza on a bicycle. He started his police career as a cadet at age 19 and quickly earned his nickname when he reminded a supervisor of the tall, baldheaded bailiff from TV’s Night Court. It stuck. 

“A lot of people are like, ‘Man, you a big Santa,’” he said with a laugh. “Just tall. Big, broad shoulders. Strong-looking Santa. But a lot of gigs I do, I’m sitting down, so you can’t tell how tall I am.”

For the city of Salisbury, performing as Santa Claus is a uniquely municipal operation, starring Bull. His ride is often a city firetruck, like the one from Santa’s Workshop. The city literally owns the Santa suit, right down to the beard. And it’s not uncommon for Bull to actually be on-duty while playing Santa.

“If I’m working, it’s, ‘Hey, can you throw the Santa suit on? Just hit up a complex real quick for a couple hours?’ I keep the suit in the back of my car or hanging by the locker. Someone helps me pull the pants up, and I’m out. I’m in. Let’s go. Throw me in the Kubota. We just go into a couple neighborhoods, and we do our thing.”

Talk about going undercover. As Santa, Bull visits different apartments and neighborhoods throughout the yuletide season, usually in underprivileged areas, and hands out donated toys to kids. Even younger teenagers, the tough guys, they give Santa a grudging respect, even though they know it’s a ruse, Bull said.

His most memorable moment came during the 2017 holidays, when, like countless other kids before him, Bull simply asked the little boy in his lap what he wanted for Christmas. 

“He said, ‘I want… I want… I want to get down!’ And he got down and threw up everywhere,” Bull said. “He was so nervous. The raw emotion from a 4- or 5-year-old who’s probably seeing Santa for the first time is real. Some of them can’t help themselves; they get so nervous when Santa’s there.” 

For the last five years, Bull has been the closing act of Salisbury’s Christmas parade. First, he waits patiently in a parking lot on his float for two or three hours. Then, finally, his firetruck makes the turn onto Civic Avenue and Mount Hermon Road. Santa emerges, and he brings down the house.

“Man, it’ll bring tears to your eyes,” Bull said. “The kids are like, ‘SAN-TA! SAN-TA!’ It’s that raw-emotion thing. They’ve waited hours with thousands of people, and then it’s ‘Here I come, the last one.’ And nobody knows it’s me doing it; they have no idea it’s your neighborhood cop. I don’t advertise it; I just do it.”

> a87d99942a5bd8849ce89fecab73ff8c FOR THE HOLIDAYS ]]>
SANTA DOUG HORNBERGER Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane You never know whose life you’ll change when you put on that Santa Claus suit. At least, that’s the takeaway from Doug Hornberger, 74, who’s...]]> You never know whose life you’ll change when you put on that Santa Claus suit.

At least, that’s the takeaway from Doug Hornberger, 74, who’s been portraying Santa since 2006, starting with a stint at the Walmart in Georgetown, Del. He had been working as a store associate when he was asked to pick up the important duties. In the years since, it’s become quite the passion.

“Playing Santa Claus is a great joy,” he said. “You never promise them anything, because you don’t know the situation at home. Did this guy just lose his job? Are they struggling to put food on the table? Be general. Say, ‘I’ll do what I can.’ You never know what happens, if they take your advice or they don’t. Sometimes it’s real funny, and other times, it’s rather heavy.”

Once, a woman and her three children at Walmart approached Santa Doug in tears. “I haven’t been able to do this in five years,” she told him. “I just got out of jail.”

“Santa said, why don’t you kids take grandma over there and show her the toys you want?” Doug recalled. “I pulled aside the mother and said, ‘Why?’ She said ‘drugs.’ I said, ‘The next time you think about doing drugs, go in the bathroom, look over the sink. Look at the person in the mirror. Ask that person, are these drugs more important than my kids?’”

In other situations at the store, Santa Doug stepped in to help, like when he learned about a little girl getting beat every day when she came home from school by her own brother and referred the case to authorities. There was the hungry little girl whom Santa Doug connected with a local church, in the hopes that parishioners might step up with food donations.

And then there was the young woman who confided in Santa Doug that she feared her mother was suicidal and didn’t know where to turn.

“It was a Sunday; I’ll never forget,” he said. “I told her, ‘You need to call in sick on Monday. You need to call the State of Delaware; they have a helpline. If you call and tell them your mother has problems, they’ll get her immediately into counseling.’ And they did.”

His favorite story has a happy ending. A friend once confided in Santa Doug about a homeless mother and daughter she’d taken in, who had been living out of their car, and that the little girl wasn't going to have a Christmas.

“So I went over to see them Christmas Eve as Santa and I told them, ‘When you get up tomorrow, you’re going to have a Christmas you’ll always remember.’ I called some friends. I said, ‘Here’s where she’s living, what can we do?’ We literally covered the living-room floor with toys. She got a bicycle; she got a doll she wanted.”

Doug said the young girl is now an adult, working for the Dagsboro Fire Company. “Every time she sees me, she gives me a big hug, and she says, ‘There’s the Santa who gave me the best Christmas ever.’”

He doesn’t work for Walmart anymore, but instead — in a wonderful Santa-related coincidence — has his own business, which sells fireplaces. Who’s a better chimney expert than Santa? Doug also gets to portray St. Nick for the town of Bethany Beach at some municipal events. Last year in Bethany, for their tree-lighting ceremony, he met a young girl of about 6 years old. The girl presented Santa Doug with a wish list.

“It looked like about $35,000 worth of stuff,” he said, still incredulous at the memory. “I looked up at Mom and said, ‘Good luck!’ This girl wanted everything — big-screen TV, the works. I started to put the list in my bag and the girl said, ‘Wait, you can’t take it. I want to check it off when I get it for Christmas.’”

Sometimes, as a conversation starter, Santa Doug will ask the kids in his lap to tell him what’s under their bed. A little boy once answered: “a Pepsi-Cola and a cheese sandwich.”

> b97b055c8dc44619a4d998d0c8cd8dd6 FOR THE HOLIDAYS ]]>
SANTA RAY SHEPHERD Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane Ray Shepherd just may be the most photographed man in the history of Ocean City.  For nearly two decades, he’s portrayed Santa Claus at Ocean...]]> Ray Shepherd just may be the most photographed man in the history of Ocean City. 

For nearly two decades, he’s portrayed Santa Claus at Ocean City’s Winterfest of Lights, posing with countless fans for a treasured holiday portrait. When he first took the gig, people were still using Polaroids. Then the world moved on to digital point-and-shoot devices, and now, everyone captures — and shares — the moment with their smartphones.

“I don’t know how many people I’ve seen,” he said. “We’ve never really counted. People sometimes will come back a couple times a year. Thanksgiving time is the biggest... we’re pretty well swamped. I try to spend as much time with every kid that comes up. I don’t hurry them: ‘What do you want for Christmas?’”

What do you want, indeed. Ray said he doesn’t keep up with which toys are hot, so when the kids come in, “I learn about all the new toys, and I ask a lot of questions. It’s kind of hard to keep up with all the new stuff. I still have kids who want
Hula Hoops.”

Many kids are shy and unsure when they meet him, saying, “You’re not real.” “I say, ‘Well, let’s talk about it.’ Santa’s in your heart. I don’t discourage them from believing,” he said.

Santa Ray especially likes when parents grab him before meeting their kids, to share tidbits of personal information. Then, when they meet Santa, he seems to know — magically,  — details about their life. “I blow their little minds,” he said with a grin.

It’s not always kids taking a seat in his lap. Four men in 18 years have made marriage proposals. Thankfully, all the ladies said yes. The grooms tend to run it by Ray first.

Back in 1999, Ray Shepherd was a 55-year-old copier salesman, with a side job at Winterfest, helping load visitors onto the holiday-lights tram. When a departing Santa had to be replaced, the town came to him and asked him if he’d take the job.

“It was hard when I started, because it was seven nights a week, six hours a night,” he recalled. “I still worked full-time until I was… I don’t know what year. I was 62 when I retired. I sold copiers and faxes. I worked every day, and I was doing Santa at night.”

Since then, his tenure at Winterfest has spanned four presidents, three popes, and 10 Olympic Games. He’s outlasted the Y2K scare, the rise of the Internet and the financial crisis. Remarkably, town officials report that Ray never missed a day of work or even called in sick.

He tries to keep a Santa image alive all year long, and it’s not always in the traditional red suit. People have him pose for photos with their pets. He visits medical clinics and local churches in character. He does a “Swim With Santa” event twice a year in Ocean Pines, where he puts on red swim trunks and jumps in the Sports Core pool alongside the kids.

Though he’s officially retired, he holds down a summer job mowing lawns at a local golf course (he calls his red tractor “my summer sleigh”), where golfers often recognize him and ask for photos.

Santa Ray grew up in Teaneck, NJ, and as a young man served in Vietnam as a Navy radioman. In 1965, he married a Delmarva girl, and together they raised three children and four grandkids.

Ray lost his wife this year to ovarian cancer. Now, at age 74, he’s fighting his own battle with Stage II colon cancer. Both his beard and his “bowlful of jelly” are thinner than they used to be. 

“I don’t have any cancer in my body, but I’m going through chemo,” he said. “I haven’t lost any hair. I don’t think people are going to notice. I’ve always been up-front with the people in Ocean City, to keep them informed about what’s going on with me.

“I know at one point that they’re going to have to replace me,” he added, his voice breaking, “but it is what it is, right?”

Over all these years, what really means the world to Santa Ray is how the young kids he held in his lap for their first photos with Santa are now bringing back their own children to meet him.

“It makes me feel good,” he said. “It’s hard to put into words, because I’ve done this so long; it’s just a part of what I do. Even when I’m out, people tell me, ‘I’ll be good until December 25, and then you gotta visit me.’ This time of year, people start to recognize,” he says in a whisper, “There’s Santa!”


> 1881b54924df79c98837d93b4b00cded FOR THE HOLIDAYS ]]>
SANTA JOHN BUSSARD Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane They say Santa Claus is for kids. But John Bussard’s portrayal of Santa is so convincing — as though he walked straight off a holiday Coca-Cola...]]> They say Santa Claus is for kids. But John Bussard’s portrayal of Santa is so convincing — as though he walked straight off a holiday Coca-Cola advertisement — that he inadvertently brings back childhood memories for gushing adults who meet him in character.

“They tell me, ‘I remember when I was a certain age, and Santa brought me…’ whatever,” he said. “Most of the men will say, ‘Why didn’t I get such-and-such in 1967?’ Santa’s response is, ‘You must have been bad that year.’ Kids always ask me: ‘Where are the reindeer?’”

Santa John, as he calls himself, doesn’t limit his Kris Kringle capers to the holidays. He’s a full-time Santa who books house calls and private events. He attends summertime Santa conventions, and has been three times to the International University of Santa Claus, a feat that earned him a “Masters in Santa-ology.”

“It can be pretty lucrative,” he said of his year-round yuletide. “I’ve never been in a position to make the kind of money that some Santas make, but, a big mall in a populated city, you can make $35,000 in 35 days. Not many Santas do that. I had a former coworker tell me if I went to Singapore for Christmas, I could make over $40,000, all expenses paid. I have no desire to go to Singapore.”

Bussard, 76, had a five-year stint with the Navy before starting his engineering career in 1965. It was this work that eventually led him unexpectedly into the Santa role. 

While living in North Carolina, his employer partnered with a local elementary school to provide a holiday Santa. Over the Christmas of 1998, the regular Saint Nick bailed, and Bussard was drafted into service.

“The secretary of the department I worked for said, ‘Do you have a red shirt?’ I said yes. She said, ‘Well, you’re going to be Santa now.’ I was the closest thing they had at the time. I've had a beard since 1978.”

He kept up the gig for several more years, and gradually, “people began to ask if I would do this or that event, and I started doing that. I got more and more involved and bought more and more Santa-related clothing,” he said.

This Santa doesn’t fly his sleigh solo: John’s wife of 52 years, Vickie, not only has portrayed Mrs. Claus with her husband over the years, but she’s even sewn his custom Santa suits. John and Vickie moved to Ocean Pines last year from North Carolina.

His most memorable Santa story comes from an encounter with an eager 5-year-old boy.

“I said, ‘What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?’ He said, ‘I want to learn how to spit.’ So I was kind of shocked, but I didn’t pursue it, because I didn’t want to question him about any of his motives. A little while later, his mother came. I said, ‘What was that all about?’ She said, ‘I told him he couldn’t use mouthwash until he learned to spit it out.’”

What makes for a great Santa in his experience? Not surprisingly, he said it’s having a tolerance for unhappy children.

“If you have an 18-month-old who doesn’t want to be near you — screaming, crying, yelling — the mothers and grandmothers generally say, ‘Sweetheart, smile!’ And sweetheart is screaming his head off. Ain’t no way that kid is going to smile, sitting on Santa’s lap, scared to death. I usually tell them, that’s going to be a great picture for their boyfriend or girlfriend on the first date.”

> 050ee38d601669d205107180c6c268a5 FOR THE HOLIDAYS ]]>
THIS DOC'S ALWAYS IN Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Alison Clary Your Doc’s In began after its founder, Dr. Walt Gianelle, recognized a need for more accessible healthcare in the area. Throughout his many years...]]> Your Doc’s In began after its founder, Dr. Walt Gianelle, recognized a need for more accessible healthcare in the area. Throughout his many years practicing emergency medicine at hospitals throughout the Shore, he witnessed many patients characterize the ER as their only option when unscheduled medical events arose. Dr. Gianelle envisioned Your Doc’s In as a way to bridge this healthcare gap by providing an alternative option to the ER for less serious medical conditions.

Dr. Gianelle’s initial vision was not only achieved, it even surpassed its original goals, as Your Doc’s In has been a tremendous success for the local healthcare community and has even been voted Coastal Style’s Best Urgent Care facility for the past four years. Since its inception, the experienced Your Doc’s In team has maintained a reputation for delivering the highest standard of care for residents and visitors to the Shore. 

Accessible, quality healthcare is still the foundation of the mission at Your Doc’s In. It provides easy access to high-quality care from a team of board-certified physicians and medical staff for patients who need to be seen in a timely manner but whose symptoms do not warrant a trip to the ER. With the capability to treat roughly 80 percent of what an ER can, Your Doc’s In delivers care for a wide range of non-life-threatening injuries for patients of all ages. It not only offers a necessary service to the community, it also has significantly reduced healthcare costs for patients.

Convenience is also a key benefit. Patients are never required to set up an appointment, and they may walk in at their convenience. To ensure proximity to patients across Delmarva, Your Doc’s In offers six different office locations, including West Ocean City, North Salisbury, South Salisbury, Cambridge, Pocomoke and Easton. 

The team at Your Doc’s In would like to remind the community that as the fall season approaches, so does the peak time for flu prevention. Your Doc’s In encourages people of all demographics receive a flu shot, especially pediatric and elderly patients. 

“The reality is the potential risks of the flu are very real and have hit close to the Shore community in the past,” said Dr. Gianelle. 

When flu epidemics arise, the detrimental effects to the community often include increased occurrences of missed school and work, as well as increased flu-related doctor’s visits and hospitalizations. The flu vaccination not only protects against four different flu strains but also prevents the spread of the flu across the community. Patients wishing to receive a flu shot may walk into any Your Doc’s In office location. As with all visits to Your Doc’s In, no appointment is needed. 

Your Doc’s In proudly provides free flu shots for all military veterans. Dr. Gianelle, a veteran himself, has always maintained a close relationship with and appreciation of the military. Prior to founding Your Doc’s In, Dr. Gianelle served for five years on the rescue team for the space shuttle Columbia’s test flights as a pararescueman in the U.S. Air Force. Several other members of the Gianelle family have also served in the military, including Dr. Gianelle’s oldest son, Michael, who has been deployed to Afghanistan twice. 

“I recognize the sacrifice military men and women have made for our country, and our free flu clinic is a service we are honored to provide the many veterans of Delmarva,” said Dr. Gianelle. 

> 7a49ddd14c9e67048bfb1140b9bc90d9 MIND, BODY, SOUL ]]>
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman Margo Roskovich is a vibrant, social woman who takes tremendous pride in her appearance — and it shows. Whether it’s spending time with her...]]> Margo Roskovich is a vibrant, social woman who takes tremendous pride in her appearance — and it shows. Whether it’s spending time with her family, out with friends or at work, Margo looks and feels her best. One would never guess this dynamic grandmother, who calls herself The Selfie Queen for all of the pictures she posts to Facebook, is 77 years old.   

But there was a time when her self-esteem and zest for life were just the opposite. 

“I had gained some unwanted pounds over the years and decided that before my 70th birthday, I would lose weight,” Margo said. “After 18 months, I was 25 pounds lighter, and I reached my goal. You’d think I’d be happy. But I was left with substantial amounts of loose skin in my neck area and an overall haggard look. I was totally discouraged.” 

Margo’s family and close friends could see her despair, including Laurie Pearce, who works as the aesthetic coordinator at Peninsula Plastic Surgery (PPS) in Salisbury.

“Laurie knew how unhappy I was and encouraged me to talk with Dr. Perrotta about my concerns,” Margo said.  

Peninsula Plastic Surgery’s board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Vincent Perrotta and Dr. Christopher Pellegrino, are highly regarded for their expertise and credentials. They have performed a wide spectrum of cosmetic and medical surgery procedures, including thousands of breast augmentations, facelifts and tummy tucks. The practice’s all-encompassing list of services includes hand surgery, scar revisions, breast reductions, breast lifts and reconstructions, as well as liposuction and body contouring. While each patient’s needs are unique, they all have one important thing in common — a one-on-one consultation with Drs. Perrotta or Pellegrino before any procedure occurs. 

“It’s vital that we first establish a relationship with the patient to understand their desires and concerns,” Dr. Perrotta said. “We feel that if someone is going to trust themselves to our care, they need to be secure that we are totally here for them — from the initial consultation, through the procedure itself and afterward — and that means establishing a solid relationship between them and this practice from the outset.”

“Dr. Perrotta took the time to listen to all of my concerns — no matter how large or small,” Margo said. “One such example were my lips. I love wearing red lipstick but noticed crease lines springing up in my upper and lower lip lines. I would apply lipstick, and it would run right into all of those creases.
It was very frustrating and really upset me.” 

Dr. Perrotta informed Margo how a skin-resurfacing procedure using a CO2 laser could eliminate those creases and help her skin look rejuvenated and tighter.

“When the laser is used for facial resurfacing, especially for deep lines around the mouth, the results are profound,” Dr. Perrotta said. “The CO2 laser can yield results that no other laser can come close to providing patients. Treatment benefits can be seen within a few weeks following the procedure and last for years. The laser can also treat the neck, to tighten and improve the texture of the skin.”  

Margo felt completely at ease after their in-depth conversation and agreed to a total facelift, brow lift, lower-eyelid lift and CO2 laser treatment. Her enhancements were performed during one procedure at the practice’s Center for Aesthetic Surgery, a 1,600 sq. ft. ultra-modern, nationally accredited surgery center under the same roof as Peninsula Plastic Surgery’s Salisbury location that not only streamlines and facilitates procedures, it also delivers patient privacy and individualized care and comfort. 

“I was so ready for a new lease on life. I wanted to look how I felt inside — more youthful and refreshed,” Margo said. 

Today, Margo is as active as ever and works six nights a week for her son, Pete, as a hostess at his popular restaurant, Adam’s House of Ribs. To say she was pleased with the results would be an understatement, and she tells everyone who compliments her youthful appearance to consider making a consultation appointment at PPS. 

“I see lots of people through work or socially who knew me before my procedure and who see me now and say, ‘Wow! You keep getting younger!’ and ‘I’d like to do something like that, but I’m too old,’” Margo said. “My reply is: ‘You’re alive, so now is the time. You may not need everything I had done. Start with a consultation and make the decision based upon what’s in your best interests.’

“I am still in awe when I look in the mirror and see my reflection,” Margo continued. “The transformation blows me away. I would shout it from the rooftops if I could. I look at my surgery date as the day I was born again. That’s when I became the me I had remembered and missed.”

Linda Bergey-Amos also sought the expertise of Peninsula Plastic Surgery to help her look more like the youthful, energetic person she knew she was inside. The backup singer in her husband’s band, Linda said contacting Dr. Pellegrino and the PPS team was one the best decisions she’s ever made.

“Turning 65 is a milestone, but I did not feel like I was 65 — I felt more like 35,” Linda said. “Unfortunately, the way you feel and the way you look aren’t always on the same page.”

After their consultation, Dr. Pellegrino recommended a mini-facelift for Linda. “The mini-facelift offers less scarring, less pain and shorter recovery than the traditional facelift says Dr. Pellegrino.  Patients really like the improvement it offers and the benefits are apparent almost right away.” 

“I loved that the procedure was done in their onsite surgery center,” Linda said. “It was performed on schedule, and my recovery was a piece of cake. There are no drastic changes with my facial features — just a new look that coincides with the way I feel. I’m energized both mentally and physically.”

Sandy Johnson first became a patient of Peninsula Plastic Surgery in 2005 because she wanted to create a relationship with a local practice to assist her in aging gracefully. This was also important professionally to Sandy, who plays the famous “Lady Sunshine” in shows for children of all ages at Ocean City’s Castle in the Sand Hotel. 

“I have performed for over 35 years, and my face is an important part of the job,” Sandy said. “Expressions are a way of communication, and wrinkles, spots, lines and sagging are elements when you want to face-paint a monster or evil villain. I simply cannot have them. Honestly, without the support of PPS, I don’t believe the phone would still be ringing for gigs. 

My goal is to create family memories when I am performing and to do this for many more years to come. It certainly would not happen without the skill and knowledge of Peninsula Plastic Surgery.” 

Dr. Perrotta performed a lower facelift for Sandy, and she faithfully maintains a skincare treatment regimen at PPS, while also watching for the practice’s specials for other potential services.

“I have my car and house maintained, why would I not do the same for my face?” Sandy asked rhetorically. 

“All these years later, I still listen to their staff and put my trust and hard-earned dollars in their hands,” Sandy continued. “Sometimes they see a solution to a problem that is far less invasive than I thought. They show me a better way. I feel like they are my friends, assisting me to find the right path that’s best for my well-being and budget. It is never a sales job.”

Continue Looking Your Best

The team at Peninsula Plastic Surgery and their award-winning aestheticians at their newly expanded Renaissance Med Spa pride themselves on giving each client their best skin possible. Whether clients opt for a surgical approach or less invasive treatment, maintenance is key to achieving the best possible results. From skincare regimens to pre- and post-care, the aestheticians, providers Dr. Perrotta, Dr. Pellegrino and Nurse Practitioner Kerri Holloway work together as a team
to give each client their ideal treatment plan.  

Many PPS patients choose to enhance their surgical or laser-therapy results by adding injectibles and fillers to their treatment plan. Injectibles such as Botox and Dysport are popular among both women and men to treat crow’s-feet, furrows in the forehead and wrinkles on the face. Fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane can be used to restore lost volume to the cheeks, rejuvenate the hands and to enhance the lips. Rather than overcorrect a patient’s concerns with injectibles, their Board Certified Plastic Surgeons have the training and expertise needed to recommend surgery, such as a facelift, neck lift or brow lift, in order to achieve the look each patient desires while maintaining a natural appearance. 

Although the main location of Peninsula Plastic Surgery is in Salisbury, their office in Millsboro offers the same state-of-the-art services to beach-area residents of Maryland and Delaware. Providers are available for consultations in both locations five days a week and invite you to join them at their newly expanded Renaissance Med Spa grand opening on October 25 at 5 p.m.



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SPARKS WILL FLY Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane Sparks flying, machines whirring, rock music blaring — welcome to Steel N Glory in Berlin, where proprietor Jordan Pippin comes up with...]]> Sparks flying, machines whirring, rock music blaring — welcome to Steel N Glory in Berlin, where proprietor Jordan Pippin comes up with custom-crafted steel creations that are built to stand the test of time. And that’s the point. 

“I feel like we live in a Walmart era, and it’s just to fill the landfill,” said Pippin, 34. “To make something that can truly outlive myself, I appreciate that a lot. It’s 10-gauge steel. It’s an eighth-inch thick. Twenty years from now, it’ll still
be around.”

Pippin has shown a strong work ethic from a young age. When he was 10, he started as a beach stand helper on weekends. Sometimes, his father, who had a local barbershop, connected him with other odd jobs to make extra cash. Jordan lost his father at age 19. “Before he passed away, he told me, if I don’t get into college, get into the trades,” he said. After a stint at community college, he started his own plumbing business at age 22.

But along the way, his spark of interest in welding grew brighter, starting with a 1968 Triumph motorcycle. He was fascinated with it, and started taking apart the bike to customize it. That led to his buying his first welder, which he used for hobby projects and side jobs over the years.

Jordan eventually realized he didn’t want to be a plumber forever, and welding took hold of his imagination. About four years ago, he went to school for welding in Wilmington. He started doing some research on buying his own CNC (computer numerical control) plasma cutter.

By the end of 2017, Pippin officially shut down his plumbing business to launch Steel N Glory. He’s focusing his fabrication business on commercial work, including signs, construction projects, and trophies. The work is mostly computer-based; he can easily transfer a customer’s design into a digital image that he’ll seamlessly send to his plasma cutter.

“To take a sheet of raw steel, and create a custom sign, or even metal art, is very rewarding,” he said. “It’s fun working with people when you have the ability to do things completely custom. You can learn more about their business, or more about the individual getting the gift, it makes it more enjoyable.”

Today, in the lobby of his workshop (where you’ll also find that ’68 Triumph) amazing steel silhouettes line the walls: rustic cowboys on horseback, a trio of pelicans in flight, a serene ocean sunset. And yet, incredibly, Pippin doesn’t consider himself an artist.

“If someone wants to call me one, I won’t be offended,” he said. “I consider myself more of a craftsman than an artist. There are so many incredible artists throughout [Berlin], I have a hard time considering myself that. I have no artistic talent with a pen and paper.”

Interior designer Tiffanie Adkins disagrees. Jordan fabricated interior and exterior handrails for her new home, where construction was recently completed in West Ocean City. 

After working with Steel N Glory, Adkins added that she expects home clients in this area will seek out Steel N Glory for their new construction, so that the end result isn’t a standard builder-grade home, but instead offers a more customized look.

“He is an artist. I gave him pictures of my design and he made them all come to life,” Adkins said. “He was wonderful to work with. Always up to the challenge, always approached everything with a great attitude, always had a smile on his face when he came to deliver. His talents are just beginning, as far as the scope of things he can do.” 


> a8376442d6d11a9e7edbe05c5c691836 ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING ]]>
MARLIN MOON RISES AGAIN Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Anita Todd If enjoying fresh, local seafood, meats and other culinary delights in a beautiful setting is your foodie dream, then you won’t be disappointed with...]]> If enjoying fresh, local seafood, meats and other culinary delights in a beautiful setting is your foodie dream, then you won’t be disappointed with Marlin Moon Restaurant, which opened at a new location in June.

Previously known as Marlin Moon Grille, the restaurant can now be found at the Double Tree by Hilton on 33rd Street, oceanside. Though the location has changed, and the name is slightly different, Chef Gary Beach is back with his signature dishes and some new creations, as well — all with a fresh flair. 

“We have the same fundamentals and a lot of the same menu items from way back when,” Beach said. “We’ve added a few things I picked up in my travels.”

Making the ingredients the stars of every dish is what motivates Beach to create satisfying and delicious dishes that are sure to please even the most particular palate. 

“We keep it simple, using fresh ingredients, almost exclusively, whenever possible,” Beach said. “I like to keep it interesting, sort of tongue-in-cheek, but I always remain respectful of the ingredients.”

Indeed, succulent seafood, juicy steaks cooked to order and a variety of local fruits and vegetables are prepared with the same flavor and finesse that Beach brought to previous Marlin Moon locations.

Marlin Moon combines an eclectic atmosphere with a mid-century interior design in cool blues, perfect for a beach restaurant. If beach casual with an elegant atmosphere is a design trend, then Marlin Moon has hit the mark. With its oceanfront location, the atmosphere at Marlin Moon is certainly beautiful, but unlike real estate, it’s all about the food. Customers are often aware of Beach’s culinary skills, which result in delectable dishes that are both elevated and simple. In fact, the restaurant opened in June to a great reception, and the response from customers continues to be positive.  

“I’m not a perfectionist; I just like to excel, and we make strides to get better every day,” he said.

Craft beer, wine and an assortment of mouthwatering libations combine nicely with menu selections. Many menu selections can also be made to accommodate gluten-free diets. Beach’s personal favorite dish on the menu is Freddy’s Seafood Pasta — sautéed jumbo shrimp, back-fin crab,
sea scallops, squash and tomatoes in a light garlic sauce, tossed with Mafaldine pasta — named after a childhood friend. 

“He ate four of them in a 24-hour period,” Beach recalls with a laugh. “I had to name the dish after him.”

Dinner always features at least one meat special, such as a bone-in rib-eye roasted to perfection. Other options include veal chops with Marsala sauce, New York strip steaks and fresh, local soft-shell crabs that are flash-fried and served with creole mushroom sauce,
with bacon and tomato. The menu also includes choices such as chicken Chesapeake — broiled, marinated  bone-in chicken breast with lump crab, diced tomato, Old Bay béchamel atop pasta — and beef tenderloin, roasted-garlic-rubbed 8-oz center cut, Blue Stilton-crusted with house tawny port demi-glace.

Food fads may come and go, but one thing that Beach insists on is that Marlin Moon use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.  

“We have purveyors who really take care of us with local products, whether it’s seafood, meats, produce or ice cream,” Beach said. 

Beach did not attend culinary school, but he learned from his family early on that he loved cooking, beginning with his grandmother. She proved to be an impressive creative influence on the young Beach because of her Cajun, French, Spanish and Swedish backgrounds. “She used to cook two full meals a day, so I learned a lot from her,” he said, while noting he also gathered inspiration from reading books and working with trained chefs to create and perfect his own culinary voice and style.

In addition to wearing his familiar chef’s hat, Beach is also the food-and- beverage director for the hotel. 

A winner of the Maryland People’s Choice Award, Marlin Moon continues to exceed expectations with classic seafood and steak dishes with a fresh viewpoint. It’s no surprise that residents and visitors alike have returned to experience this legendary Ocean City restaurant.  The restaurant does not take traditional reservations, but call-ahead seating is available. Marlin Moon is open year-round. Visit their site for menu details. 


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SMOOTH OPERATION Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Bob Yesbek Baltimore-born Jimmy O’Conor really had no choice but to serve a killer crab cake. After all, very few towns are as militant about their crab cakes...]]> Baltimore-born Jimmy O’Conor really had no choice but to serve a killer crab cake. After all, very few towns are as militant about their crab cakes as Charm City. Animated discussions — often fueled by beer — will certainly include such names as the sadly gone Gunning’s (huge orbs laced with Old Bay; make mine fried, thank you), Faidley’s (brave the line at Lexington Market for a softball-size behemoth on a fresh roll, then stand there and eat it), and of course, Obrycki’s (now closed, but they dished up meaty cakes since ’44). There are others, obviously, but these are the ones that stand out for me.

The pocket-sized Woody’s Dewey Beach Bar & Grill in Dewey Beach is Jimmy’s pride and joy. And he has certainly paid his dues. At the tender age of 15, he started working at a Rustler Steak House. By 17, he was flippin’ steaks as the broiler chef. After 10 years as a bartender and general manager of various Baltimore hotspots, Jimmy decided he was finished with the food business. But as is so often the case, it wasn’t finished with him. Big Mike’s Frozen Tundra, a little joint tucked away on the east side of Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach, was about to be offered for sale. And thus was born Woody’s East Coast Bar & Grill.

This paragraph was supposed to be about Woody’s particularly tasty crab cakes and burgers, but a digression is in order: In June 2011, Jimmy found himself in dire need of a kidney. In order to overcome donor incompatibility, a kidney-exchange program facilitated the donation of one of his then-girlfriend’s kidneys to a woman in Baltimore. In turn, the woman’s daughter donated one of hers to Jimmy. This amazing program — where all four operations are performed simultaneously — has saved many lives. When I called Jimmy to fact-check that his “then-girlfriend,” who participated in the transplant, is now his wife, he said yes, then quickly added, “but that’s not why I married her.” I like the way this guy thinks. 

After that heartwarming story, it seems anticlimactic to jump right back into crabmeat and ground beef. But this is the Flavors section, after all, and that’s why we’re gathered here today. Jimmy is a tireless hands-on owner. Though his intention was for Woody’s to be known for the ultimate hamburger, it turns out that the crab cakes consistently pack ’em in. Both the burger and the crab cake sandwich benefit from a grilled roll that gently caresses its contents with a fresh, eggy consistency. As for the crab cake itself, chunks, chunks and more chunks of lump crabmeat are held together with... well, I tasted only crabmeat, with little or no filler or mayo. (Truth be told, I couldn’t call myself The Rehoboth Foodie if I didn’t know exactly how Jimmy does it. But I’ll leave it for you to guess.)

The platter sports two baseball-sized cakes that are very well-portioned for the approximately $33 price tag. On another visit, I ordered the crab cake sandwich. (See? That way I can get the crab cake again, but still act the part of a proper reviewer by saying that I ordered something different.) The expected orb of lightly seared crabmeat appeared, but the real surprise was the roll. Regulars at know how I whine about rolls. They are an integral part of a sandwich, and anything served on a stale or pretentiously too-firm roll must be immediately destroyed.

You don’t want to miss the Dewey Dunker. Thinly sliced beef is presented on one of those great rolls with a side of au jus. Think French dip without the onions and cheese. Another sleeper at Woody’s is the Chicklet; a properly fried breast is slathered with regulation buffalo sauce and topped with blue cheese. Okay, a little pedestrian, I admit, but deliciously executed and on that nice roll to boot.

For the crab cake-challenged, there are also the cheesesteaks. Both the chicken and the traditional Philly versions are stuffed with quality ingredients, sautéed onions and any number of cheesy choices. One of the stars of the appetizer menu is the fried pickles. The dill spears are evenly coated with a crispy spiced breading that perfectly complements the acidic pickle. They are quite good and are served with “Woody Sauce.” Don’t ask. I have been sworn to secrecy and Jimmy knows where I live.

Woody’s Dewey Beach Bar & Grill is located in the heart of Dewey Beach at 1904 Highway One, on the east side. The food and friendly attitude there are well worth beating back the perpetually tipsy Dewey summer crowds. Woody’s is open year-round, from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m., serving lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday until 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The icing on the cake is the late-night menu dished up until 1 a.m. It never hurts to give a call in the off-season at (302) 260-9945. This IS the beach, after all, so ya never know.

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MARINA VIEWS Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Alison Clary The waterfront stretch of Old Bridge Road in West Ocean City contains some of the most picturesque coastal homes in the area. Bill and Cathryn...]]> The waterfront stretch of Old Bridge Road in West Ocean City contains some of the most picturesque coastal homes in the area. Bill and Cathryn Corey’s summer home is no exception, and its multifaceted architecture renders a truly one-of-a-kind residence.

The Coreys constructed their home from the ground up after agreeing to spend their summers in Ocean City, a place they considered a peaceful alternative to their primary residence, in Baltimore. They selected the lot because of its stunning marina views and the waterfront’s potential for docking their boat.

Avid hosts, the Coreys envisioned the home as a summer oasis that could easily be used to accommodate and entertain guests. They wanted their home to be inviting, open, sophisticated and, most importantly, unique. They enlisted the help of Chris Pattey of the Becker Morgan Group to aid them in bringing their dream designs to life through his architectural creativity. In early summer 2017, the Coreys finished construction and officially moved into their waterfront home-away-from-home. 

The house stands three stories tall and can be easily spotted by its breathtaking navy exterior accented with white trim. Its unique architectural design incorporates a series of complex angles, which include multisided projecting rooms, tower roofing, balconies and plentiful yet variably shaped windows. When admiring the home from the street, you’ll likely find your eyes wandering in a multitude of directions.

To offset the bold angles of the home’s exterior, Cathryn chose a sleek and uniform interior with a minimal range of colors. In fact, there are only three wall colors used throughout the entire home — Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart and Sherwin Williams On the Rocks — which inadvertently yet conveniently match the gray-fur tone of the family’s two rescue cats. The simple nature of the color schemes and trim molding delivers a sophisticated, modern vibe.

The kitchen and living areas embrace an open concept, with tall ceilings and minimal barriers between spaces. Ample seating provides opportunities for the family and guests to easily congregate. An array of enormous windows of varying shapes and sizes allow natural light to pour inside while offering stunning panoramic views of the marina. 

With six bedrooms, each with its own attached bath, there is plenty of space for not only the Coreys but also guests. The master bedroom, which is the only bedroom on the ground floor, provides a separate entrance to the home and includes a spacious walk-in closet and its own fireplace. The adjoining master bathroom combines roominess and luxury with a massive, brightly tiled, circular shower. 

Through two separate staircases and an elevator, the upper floors are easily accessible for the Coreys’ two teenage daughters and guests. The third floor’s octagon-shaped corner bedroom is a favorite among the Coreys’ guests because its series of angled windows makes it an ideal observatory for overlooking the marina. The third floor also provides an additional full kitchen, which mirrors the ground floor kitchen and provides extra convenience for guests. 

Because the Corey’s planned to predominantly reside here during the warm summer months, they invested significant effort into developing their outdoor space. The external area fuses coastal living with modern luxuries, such as a hot tub, firepits and a large outdoor shower, among countless other amenities. 

A roomy rectangular pool surrounded by deluxe lounge chairs paints a luxurious picture that feels as though it’s been pulled straight from an ad for a five-star Caribbean resort. The backyard also includes a pool house, which stores an additional washer and dryer set, so family members and guests can conveniently wash wet bathing suits and towels when returning from the beach or pool.

Perhaps one of the most appealing outdoor attributes is the spacious two floors of deck space. “We like to sit on the top deck with our guests and witness the fishing boats returning to the marina,” states Cathryn. She adds, “It’s fun to look at the flags and see what the fishermen were able to catch that day.”

The Coreys are eager to unveil their home to the public during the 2018 Sand Castle Home Tour (September 20-21) and proud to help support the Art League of Ocean City.

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OUTDOOR OASIS Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi When Chris and Jacki Ray decided to create their family’s new custom home in Berlin’s Bay Point Plantation, they were as determined to make its...]]> When Chris and Jacki Ray decided to create their family’s new custom home in Berlin’s Bay Point Plantation, they were as determined to make its exterior as exceptional as its interior. They had long known who they’d hire: Wes Novelli of Hardscapes, Inc., one of the most sought-after craftsmen on the Shore for this kind of project.

Novelli’s skill came in handy, as the Ray job was no walk on the beach. “This was an extremely involved project,” said Novelli, “for a variety of reasons,” including the pool and pool deck, which actually had to be constructed above ground because of the tidal area that the house is built on. This required an extensive retaining wall to be custom-constructed around the pool, backfilled with more than 300 tons of compacted dirt just to begin construction on the patio. The roughly 100-120-foot-long, four-foot-high seawall (which Novelli referred to as “a very impressive structure”) was built by local mason Russell Finecey and serves not only to protect the home from tidal forces but also acted as the man-made perimeter within which Novelli had to work in order to meet his clients’ expectations.

Once the magnificent pool was expertly completed by Trond’s Pool Care in Berlin (“In addition to making a great product, Trond is extremely knowledgeable about the equipment and excellent at explaining it,” said Chris), which also made the outdoor hot tub, Wes and the team began the backfill around the pool. In essence, this process literally laid the groundwork for the incomparable space that would follow, including the upper-level patio, outdoor kitchen with firepit, hot tub, entertainment area and stairway to the second level (which was built by Poole Contracting, along with the house itself).

The gorgeous patio is made from luxurious MSI travertine, set in a French pattern, which mixes tiles ranging in size from 8”x 8” to 16”x 24.” Wes and his crew labored full-time for more than two months, from winter to spring, to get the job done on time. The final result yielded a sprawling yet elegant 2,600 sq. ft. area where the family can play, relax and entertain. The oversize eye-shaped firepit runs right to the retaining wall and allows unobstructed views of the bay. It is also constructed of MSI travertine ledger stone, laid over foundation block and firebrick, with silver travertine capstones, to match the patio stone.

The outdoor kitchen is a tour de force in its own right. Pop-up electrical receptacles, high-velocity propane power burner, Twin Eagles gas grill, kegerator, freezerator, trash compactor are all in attendance to support the service area with full-wraparound granite bar top featuring a backsplash with more MSI travertine ledger stone. Throw in the full complement of state-of-the-art stainless-steel appliances, and it’s no wonder why Novelli says “it’s better than most indoor kitchens.”

Yet, that is not the end of the story. With all the time, money and talent the Rays invested in making this a one-of-a-kind home, you didn’t think they were going to forget about showcasing it at night, did you? “This is far and away the largest and most sophisticated lighting scheme I’ve ever created,” said Wes with regard to what he set up for the Rays. To remain faithful to the quality of materials used throughout the project, in and out, Wes wanted only the best in lighting equipment and products, so he used FX Luminaire, his manufacturer of choice for all such jobs. And he put them everywhere.

For example, in addition to fully lighting the deck area and outdoor kitchen, Wes flush-mounted in travertine lights along the entire border of the upper-level patio and angled them up to shine on the glass railings, which then refract that light to yield roughly three times the amount of functional illumination in that space. In all, Wes deployed approximately 50 distinct lighting fixtures to light the Rays’ backyard space like nothing else in the area. To get even more high-tech — which is what Chris Ray is all about — the light scheme Novelli and Hardscapes created for him can be operated by his cellphone or other smart device. Thus, all lighting zones are WiFi-compatible, and Chris can program each individual light to literally any color and brightness he chooses (bye-bye, tinted bulbs!). Wes adds that since Chris is such a huge sports fan, he suspects the home’s predominant outdoor lighting scheme is Ravens’ purple.

“We really like Wes, not only for his ability to do the work right but also for his artistry and his artistic vision,” Chris said. “When there are multiple contractors involved, Wes always seemed to be the glue that pulled them together as a cohesive team. But there’s something else about Wes that’s great: He can see things before they happen, which is a key reason why he is so amazing at what he does.” 

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RAY OF LIGHT Sat, 01 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi Chris and Jacki Ray are experienced homeowners and no strangers to what makes a home great. So when it came time for them to convert their idyllic lot...]]> Chris and Jacki Ray are experienced homeowners and no strangers to what makes a home great. So when it came time for them to convert their idyllic lot on Berlin’s majestic Bay Point Plantation, they chose respected local custom-home builder Poole Contracting & Consulting. Together, the Rays and Poole Contracting principal Mike Poole created a one-of-a-kind family playground that represents the material manifestation of the loving four-member family itself.

Over the course of the job, which was completed in March, Chris said there were 12 to 15 sit-downs with Mike, tweaking all the nuances and discussing what was possible before settling on a final plan of action. “Mike was meticulous and exacting in every aspect of building our home; he was relentlessly available to us, day and night,” praised Chris.

All that assiduous preplanning resulted in the Rays’ sumptuous three-story (plus garage level), 5,200 sq. ft. masterpiece, which is drenched in light and water views. The house is undeniably seaside-themed but otherwise deliberately does not conform to any particular style. The home’s wide-open floor plan contemplates the configuration of the lot itself, so that exceptional views of Turville Creek and Assawoman Bay into Ocean City were uncompromised and could be had from every room’s perspective. 

On the first level, the first thing that greets people is the custom-made locker room, where the family can store their boots, coats, umbrellas, book-bags and whatever else they want to shed upon entering. Beyond that is the spacious game room, chock-full of fun diversions, and the fully functional downstairs kitchen, including microwave, sink, cabinetry, dishwasher and icemaker… in other words, all the things that serve as prelude to the full enjoyment of the gargantuan porch, which overlooks the bay. The flooring on the first level (except for the tiled bath) is COREtec, an elegant laminate that offers premium aesthetics, great durability, easy maintenance and great under-foot feel. The look is balanced with soothing gray quartz flat surfaces and European-style cabinetry. For sheer luxe fun and family time, there is the custom home theater. Eight sumptuous high-back leather electric-powered recliners with built-in vibration technology set the stage for the stage, which boasts a 100-plus-inch screen and state-of-the-art surround-sound system. The theater also has wall sconces and suede-like wall surfaces and commercial-grade octagonal carpeting that can be found in actual movie theaters.

Just hop the home’s elevator to access Chris’ favorite area of the home, the second level, where the main kitchen, great room and dining area converge. This kitchen includes an impressive full-slab Cambria quartz center island with a waterfall edge, so the top surface spills over the edge and down the sides. The center island also houses a dual-beverage center and refers to an expansive backsplash that was cut from the same stone. The custom portrait cabinetry is a clean, pure white, to maximize the home ambient brightness. The kitchen also sports a custom-wood-built walk-in pantry, dishwasher and other accoutrements.

Off the kitchen are the dining area and great room, which boasts a sky-high 20-foot ceiling that is accentuated by a contemporary-looking custom-fabricated metal-railing balcony that drinks in all the palatial grandeur available from a third-floor perch. This breathtaking space is what greets the family when they arrive via the stacked-glass, double-doored front entranceway. The dining table is an unconventional seven-foot diameter concrete round surface; off of it, through a large barn door, is the home office, which Chris takes full advantage of. There is, of course, a gas fireplace with a large flat-screen TV in the great room, as well. On this same level is a massive, 21-foot-deep open deck with hot tub, along with a large screened porch adjacent to the deck that the family and friends can enjoy.

The master suite is a tribute to minimalism, as Chris is not a fan of clutter. Thus, there are lots of custom built-ins and therefore tons of orderliness, from drawers to charging stations. The master suite can also access that enormous open deck. The master bath features his-and-hers sinks and custom cabinets with modern tub and discrete spaces for the commode and full walk-in shower. Upstairs, on the third level — past the stairwell’s art-gallery-style bank of asymmetrical windows — at one end of the 90-degree plankway is Chris and Jacki’s daughter’s room, which is colorfully drenched in vivid tones of magenta and teal, with a complementary bath in magenta. In the other direction is the guest suite and the navy-themed bathroom, which is shared by their son from his bedroom, which includes his own gaming/living room. This bathroom, one of 4.5 in all, features huge slabs of special-ordered tile that has to be assembled on-site.

Also noteworthy is the state-of-the-art outdoor custom kitchen, which includes not only all the amenities imaginable but also its ceiling contains an elaborate water-draining system by Poole Contracting that allows the family to enjoy it and the adjacent game area even in the midst of a rainstorm.

Other top-of-the-market touches include Celect top-grade siding for the home’s exterior, which was provided by Blue Marlin Siding in Berlin, while Steve Shreve of Jerk Pony handled the barn doors, custom railings and posts. The Rays’ custom InvisiRail railings provide the family and their guests unobstructed views of its picturesque surroundings. The home’s fun yet visually stunning interior is the work of local designer Tiffanie Adkins. Mike added that the skill and dedication of Poole Contracting carpenters Corey Leggour, JT Hazard and Hank Storm proved essential to stunning success of the project.

“I think it’s important to note a key to what makes Mike special — his communication skills,” said Chris. “He really listens and takes the time to understand what you’re trying to share with him. He also offers clear, transparent, open feedback, which is all-important. Add to this his incredible skill, and you can see why we decided to build with Poole Contracting.”

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BETHANY BOUND Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi In 1991, George H.W. Bush was president of the Unites States, Nirvana’s Nevermind was released, Terminator 2 was the top-grossing movie, and the...]]> In 1991, George H.W. Bush was president of the Unites States, Nirvana’s Nevermind was released, Terminator 2 was the top-grossing movie, and the Friends of the South Coastal Library debuted an Eastern Shore classic: the annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour. This year, 10 more exceptional homes have been curated to the delight of tourgoers, including the home of Bird and JP Bishop in Bethany Beach.

The ocean-facing 5,000 sq. ft. home in Pelicans Pouch bears little resemblance to what it was when Bird and JP acquired it in 2016. The open but otherwise eccentric, even quirky, floor plan of the 1990s-built structure had to be essentially gutted in order to create the sunny and bright getaway the couple enjoy today with their three children. The roof was shot, and walls had to be torn down. There was a two-sided fireplace, which, for reasons unknown, was situated between a bedroom and a hallway. The house was odd to put it mildly — but it was an outright steal, so JP and Bird gave the owner his full asking price and rolled up their sleeves.

Bird brought in builders to bid on the reno. Some scratched their heads in bemusement; others turned down the job outright. But all of them agreed on one vital point: The house had outstanding structural integrity. “It’s true; the house had great bones,” said Gail Lednum, design consultant for Creative Concepts in Ocean View and the interior designer Bird brought in to help her visualize and execute the massive task they had ahead of them. Gail was joined by Bethany Beach architect Scott Edmondson of Sea Studio and Dewson Construction in Wilmington — a trifecta of uber-talented professionals whom Bird couldn’t praise highly enough.

The new house leans contemporary and is deliberately well-balanced, with four of the six total bedrooms situated on the third-level, two on each side of the hallway, separated by an inviting loft-type space. The first level is essentially used as an entryway, with a foyer, laundry room and storage space.

It’s on the second level where the living begins. The kitchen received all-new quartz countertops and a center island in bright, crisp tones and a radiant subway-tile sea-glass backsplash that runs all the way to the ceiling — simultaneously adding an exciting dimension to the space while complementing the linen-finish cabinetry. The kitchen is also the only space that retains the original flooring, which was installed only two years prior. What tourgoers are sure to appreciate are the stunning ocean views available from this vantage point, as well as from the rest of the house.

To the right of the kitchen is a media room that was created primarily for Bird and JP’s 7-year-old son that includes Sunbrella-covered three-piece sectional seating and the requisite entertainment electronics, all presided over by grand vaulted ceilings that reach heights of 16 feet, with handcrafted shiplap wood ceiling accents and exposed beams, oozing that nautical-rustic ambience that is a perennial winner on the Eastern Shore. The theme is buoyed by an overarching soft-gray color palette with accents in blue.

Off the entertainment area is the voluminous dining room, which boasts a 10-seat Canadel distressed-wood dining table with a Stanley server that serve up more spectacular ocean views. The great room, meanwhile, sports a huge sectional and two large swivel chairs with an inlaid Greek-key pattern, deploying more durable and utilitarian Sunbrella fabric, because Bird and JP prefer a home that can be lived in rather than tended to like a museum. The great room also has a custom-built linear fireplace with a custom surround all over off-white frisé carpeting.

The stunning master suite on the second level basically amounts to a tribute room for Bird’s beloved mother, for whom Bird has set aside the space when she comes to live with her permanently. The room features a Coastal Living Oasis bedroom group with king-size bed within a saltbox-white palette. The room comes with its own private, screened-in porch, stocked with outdoor furniture and coordinated cushions. There are also custom built-in dressers and a custom walk-in closet with barn doors. The master bath includes a luxury walk-in shower with flower-burst custom-tile (each petal is applied one at a time) and a seamless clear-glass door. The second level also includes a guest room with a king-size bed and upholstered headboard. Throughout the home, windows treatments are from Hunter Douglas, alternating between Woven Woods and Palm Beach shutters.

The third-level bedrooms continue the clean, crisp themes, with bright splashes of creams, whites, off-whites, taupes and grays. A carpeted hallway leads to JP and Bird’s bedroom, which was redesigned so that they could see the ocean while lying in bed. The third level also has a custom-built full-size dayroom-style common area for all upstairs occupants, where you can read, catch up with your mobile devices or just gaze at the Atlantic. The upstairs bedrooms also come with three-panel doors, and each has its own bathroom, for a total of seven baths throughout
the house.

Lots of newly installed, gargantuan picture windows — both traditional rectangular and porthole oval — bathe the house in sunshine while providing unobstructed views of the great outdoors, which the Bishops greet via an enormous Azek deck off the dining room and kitchen. Double chaise longues, a large dining table and a huge outdoor sectional are the trappings of countless summer days and evenings reveling in the majesty of both nature and the personal Shangri-La the Bishops have crafted in for themselves in Bethany Beach. And on July 25 and 26, you can revel in them, too.

2018 Beach & Bay Cottage Tour

July 25–26  •  9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Tickets: $30.00, available online, by mail-in order or at the South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach. A non-transferable tour ticket gives you access to the homes for the two days of the tour (each home may be visited only once).

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COASTAL CAROLINA Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jennifer Cording Balancing the breathtaking scenery of bayside Worcester County with an extensive collection of artwork was the house-building challenge for property...]]> Balancing the breathtaking scenery of bayside Worcester County with an extensive collection of artwork was the house-building challenge for property owners Christie Taylor and Fred Sprock, along with their construction team at T&G Builders in Berlin. 

“You’ve got art on the outside and art on the inside; how do you get the balance?” said Sprock. The problem was solved with a clever combination of house height and an inside-out wall design. The couple and their architect, Jeff DelSordo of Charlotte, NC, designed the backbone of the house as a central corridor that amounts to a built-in art gallery. It left the rooms unfettered by solid exterior walls. Instead, windowed and screened walls open the outside to those inside the house, and the center of the house is left for the couple’s personal artworks, solving their dilemma of “how to hang paintings in a house without losing the windows,” Taylor said. 

“Whatever room you’re in, you feel like you’re outside,” added Taylor, whose sketches were the main inspiration for the design. A painter of salt marshes and the owner of an art gallery in Charlotte, she knew they wanted to invite the beauty of the nearby Chincoteague Bay into the house as much as possible. They also felt the best views would be achieved at a height. “We knew we had to go up to get a view,” Taylor said. “That’s why we have a treehouse.”

Along with mixing the indoors and the outdoors, Taylor and Sprock wanted to meld the past with the present. Throughout the house — and in addition to traditionally painted walls — they incorporated farmhouse walls constructed of spaced boards. Furniture and framed photographs from their respective North Carolina childhoods are placed around the home “to mix that traditional look with the modern,” said Taylor. 

The house includes other features that make it stand out, as well, said Ron Wesche, sales and marketing manager for T&G Builders. Completed in 2012, the building has a central elevator; a southern-style sleeping porch; wide-plank reclaimed wood flooring and wall finishes; Marvin integrity windows; first-floor breakaway walls in case of extreme storm flooding; vertical knotty, shiplap cypress siding for a timeless look on the exterior; and a rooftop deck where birdwatchers come to search for brown-headed nuthatches on Delmarva Birding Weekends. 

“We offer one of the most informative and customer-friendly experiences available locally when thinking of building or improving,” Wesche said. “The team knowledge and current technology make for a clear understanding of the process and a complete visual of the project prior to starting. Our reputation continues to get stronger and stronger each year, and I attribute that to the experience, which is followed up with everlasting quality.”

Taylor and Sprock agreed. “They were very committed to giving us a great product,” said Taylor, who noted other features they and their guests enjoy, including a firepit, screened porch, metal shed roof, natural materials, carport and mudroom. The four-level house also features spacious art studios — one each for Taylor and Sprock, both of whom are paint artists themselves. A central tower where the elevator is located begins at the ground floor and stretches up through all four levels, serving as the springboard for the L-shaped rooms on each level. Each level also can be reached by a staircase and features a powder room and a utility room. 

The ground floor is home to the mudroom and elevator entrance, while the second floor holds the studios, two guest bedrooms with baths, as well as the sleeping porch. The third floor is home to the den, kitchen, living/dining room, and the screened master bedroom with his-and-her bathrooms and a deck. The fourth floor holds an attic and the rooftop deck. The couple have frequent guests, who can receive T-shirts with the name of the property, which Taylor and Sprock call “Camp KissmyAssateague.”

Along with their rescue dogs, Clara and Louise, Taylor and Sprock have achieved their dream of living and working in a way that “celebrates the landscape.” As Fred said, “We’ve never looked back. We’re glad we did it. We love it.”



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GENUINELY FLOORED Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jennifer Cording Large or small, if the project requires tile, East Coast Tile & Flooring continues to demonstrate that it has it covered. From the interior of a...]]> Large or small, if the project requires tile, East Coast Tile & Flooring continues to demonstrate that it has it covered. From the interior of a ship’s cabin to the interior of a spacious home — two of the most recent projects by the company — East Coast Tile & Flooring has the experience to install the product properly with stunning results. 

In business for more than 70 years and operated by third-generation owners, East Coast Tile & Flooring is known for top-notch service and the excellence of its tile installation. “If it has anything to do with tile, we can do it,” said Dave Slater, showroom manager.

Recently, East Coast completed an extensive remodel of the traditional-meets-modern home of Jeff and Stephanie Hensal in Selbyville. The company removed nearly 2,000 square feet of existing downstairs flooring before installing wood-look tile to complement the home’s airy, open floorplan, which was accented with dark wood furniture and bold color in rugs, pillows and wall hangings. 

With the wide-plank flooring in place, East Coast Tile then installed a porcelain kitchen backsplash with an alternating pattern of varying sizes. A wood-tone pattern echoed the authenticity of the wood-look floor tile, as well as the earth tones of kitchen’s granite countertops and raised dark-wood panels on the island counter. This plan complemented the space’s modern stainless steel appliances, its white, raised-panel cabinetry and timeless drawer pulls.

The homeowners were a bit apprehensive during the extensive remodel, according to Slater, however, by project’s end, Jeff and Stephanie Hensal were exceptionally pleased. “They’re thrilled,” Slater said. “They’re super-happy with the entire project and they’re fantastic advocates of East Coast Tile.”

East Coast Tile & Flooring’s state-of-the-art showroom offers a substantial selection of marble, granite, glass, metal and ceramic tiles from around the world. Their experienced staff regularly assists architects, designers, installers and homeowners on projects of various sizes and budgets, whether a modest tile purchase or a complete home renovation.” 



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GETTING THE JOB DONE Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi Joe Curcillo might very well describe himself as a shark. Not in the sense that he’s circling hapless beachgoers in the ocean or monomaniacally...]]> Joe Curcillo might very well describe himself as a shark. Not in the sense that he’s circling hapless beachgoers in the ocean or monomaniacally trolling for profits at the expense of his humanity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: This attorney-turned-business consultant is monomaniacal only when it comes to helping businesses maximize their bottom lines through team-building and the creation of an enriching work environment for everyone. So convinced is he that team-building is the key corporate strategy of the 21st century, the part-time Bethany Beach resident has authored Getting to ‘US’: Discover the Ability to Lead Your Team to Any Result You Desire, published by Thought Emporium, Ltd.

Coastal Style spoke with Curcillo recently, to get his perspective on the modern-day workplace and what employers can do to get the results they seek.

CSM: What kind of law did you practice and where did you attend law school?

JC: For the majority of my career, I focused on criminal law. The first half of my career I was a prosecutor, and during the second half I was a defense attorney. I have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Temple University, and a juris doctor from Temple University School of Law.

How did you get involved with team-building?

That is an interesting question, because I think that we are all involved in team-building in everything we do. The first time I recognized the importance of team-building was when I studied trial advocacy at Temple Law School. As part of the training classes, they broke us into teams. How well you performed as a team directly impacted how you did in the class. I guess, when I think about it, the same was true while I worked toward my engineering degree. Individuals did not build buildings and highways; teams do, but I never thought of that until you asked. When I began practicing law, I worked in the district attorney‘s office. I quickly realized that the office had to operate as a team to be successful as administrators of justice. I could not put together a proper case without coordinating my team of victims, witnesses, police officers and the other various agencies involved. It was up to me to lead the team if I wanted to be a successful prosecutor. I knew that as a trial lawyer, I never really worked alone. My team won, or I lost.

How long have you been advising companies on the merits and virtues of team-building?

The answer to that is my entire professional career. I always sought out positions where I could find challenges to getting people to work together. In doing so, I realized that my counterparts in other departments or agencies were in the same situation. So, offering advice to other team leaders, brainstorming problems and teaching the effectiveness of teams became second nature. In later years, I offered my services to clients, the private sector and charities, to help them become a more effective cohesive unit.

In what ways, if any, do you feel that your law background helped prepare you for or make you better at advising companies on effective team-building strategies?

The advice that I offered companies was usually to help it grow more in the marketplace and become more functional. Rarely was it a matter of life and death. In law, the ability to build the team was to protect someone’s freedom and life. Therefore, the fact that I learned team-building under life-and-death circumstances makes advising corporate clients more strategic with less pressure. If a client corporation is in a difficult situation, and they are facing a potential ticking time bomb, I thrive on that pressure.

How does an employer go about measuring the success of a team-building strategy over time? In other words, how does an employer know his team-building efforts are working?

All great leaders have a clear vision and a goal. The leader need only look at the team to observe the progress and make sure that there is constant motion toward the end zone. By creating a single unifying vision that binds the team together, the leader only needs to be sure that the team is always heading in one direction. Every player has a role to play, and every player must have their eyes on the same prize. So, look at the bottom line. Look at the progress. Look at everyday interactions. If they are heading in forward motion, you have built a unified team. 


How does an employer decide how much money to spend on team-building activities in the course of a fiscal year?

I think that is a difficult question. It’s sort of assumes that team-building activities are exercises that occur on a periodic basis. I firmly believe that every day that a team comes together to work on a project is a team-building exercise. Every penny that you, as a corporate executive, put into your management team is money spent on team-building. Leaders should spend their day leading the team. In my mind, that means they should be building the team every day.

What are some classic examples of team-building activities that virtually any company can utilize?

Based on my prior answer, the ultimate team-building activity is to focus everyone on the end goal. Making solid leaders, no matter what the size of their company, who pay attention to the skills, qualities and abilities of the individual players on their team is essential. Once you have a handle on the abilities of your players, point them in the direction that allows them to best feel satisfied by contributing to the cause. It is not an exercise. It is an everyday reality.

What role does the size of the company play in determining the kind and number of activities per year it should engage in?

Not every company can pay for team-building party days. So don’t. No matter the size of the company, management must realize that team-building is an integral part of their jobs. It does not cost money to listen to the needs of the employees. It does not cost money to simply humanize your staff. Frankly, some of the smaller companies I have worked with cannot afford any “team-building exercises.” They are just too small and don’t have the ability to take a day off to have a team-building rally. But, they are small enough that a little bit of personal attention paid to the individual employees will yield great benefits and create a cohesive team.

For companies that don’t have a lot of employees or deep pockets, what are some effective activities that they can do to reap some of the benefits of team-building?

This is a topic requires more time than we have here. If I may draw from an article that I have written in the past, the short answer is once a manager has amassed and organized the knowledge she possesses in her industry, leadership is about finding the “GLUE” that binds your team together. GLUE stands for:

Gathering information on your team members

Listening to the team members

Unifying the team by finding each if their niches

Empowering and Execute your vision

While I can spend a lot of time discussing the intricacies of each of the about four areas, for today, I suggest just being aware of the four steps is a good start, and it deserves reflection.

Are there ways in which you’ve seen team-building activities and strategies evolve over the years?

Absolutely. People do not want to be pampered. They no longer want to feel important, they want to be important. The company needs to build the team from the top down. Today, the leaders need to be trained to be more aware of the players and learn what the team is capable of accomplishing. The best strategy in today’s world is to find a role a person can invest in and allow that individual to achieve their potential. Nothing will build a better team than on-the-job action. Teams will thrive when the leaders know how to trust and empower.

Do baby-boomer staffs get motivated by different things or different approaches than might Gen-Z, Millennial or now, Gen-Z workforces?

Actually, I believe that all generations want the same thing. People are people. If they are given an opportunity to achieve their own level of nobility and honor within an organization, they will feel good about what they are doing. It is up to the leaders across all generations to find team roles that everyone can accept. Not every player on the football team needs to be the quarterback to feel like they are contributing. Do not be as concerned about the generational differences; instead, we should be concerned about the needs of the individual players. Then, help each person become the best that they can be in the role that you have assigned to them. If your strategy is simply to allow each person to shine, generational labels mean nothing. Everyone wants to be a valued employee. Find their value, or, dare I say, they may not belong on the team.

Can you share a couple of examples of create, unique or outside-the-box team-building activities that you’ve advised companies to do or that you’ve seen them do?

There are a lot of fun team-building exercises. I’ve seen people do trust falls, scavenger hunts and crazy camping trips. They’re all fun, and they get everyone out of the office.... But these temporary measures do not take the place of listening to and respecting the team. I believe that the team is built from the top down. You can teach team members to trust each other, but the real goal is getting them to trust and produce for those leaders. No exercises or games can replace a leader who knows her team and their individual abilities. I once attended a team-building party where the team members played games and bonded. The team leaders stayed back at the office to hold down the fort. I flipped out. It was the leaders who needed training.

What are some of the most common or most important DON’Ts that companies should be mindful of when planning team-building strategies and/or activities?

As I was saying earlier, team-building exercises are fun. Unfortunately, too many companies rely on the motivational-type and excitement exercises. The end result is a temporary placebo. The results are not long-lasting, and in many situations, the employees are just looking for more funding for game time in the future. The focus of a real team-building effort needs to be productivity and results. So, birthday parties and pizza parties are always fun, but the company should never lose sight of the reason why the team is in existence. Allow your team to feel good about their accomplishments and achievements. Celebrate the end goal, and do not make the mistake of celebrating before you cross the finish line. So many employees return from team-building workshops laughing about how much fun they had but never really understanding how it related to the work they have to do. That is a mistake. Instead of worrying about random activities, focus on how each member of your team can play an active role in making your unifying vision unsinkable. Then, lead, trust and empower. That will build the team of your dreams!

Joe's book, “Getting to ‘US’: Discover the Ability to Lead Your Team to Any Result You Desire,” is available on Amazon. To learn more about Joe, visit

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TOP BRASS Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Brian Shane When Tom Davis was nearing retirement from the state police in 2014, he thought about going back to school and finishing his college degree. He...]]> When Tom Davis was nearing retirement from the state police in 2014, he thought about going back to school and finishing his college degree. He thought for sure that he’d be done with law enforcement. But what else would he do? Two decades earlier, he had been a music major studying the trumpet; now it was calling him back. 

“I was in my car, driving — I don’t remember what I was listening to — but there was something somebody was playing that was very complex,” Davis said. “Whatever it was I listened to really inspired me.”

Davis was accepted into the music program at Salisbury University. He dove headfirst into being a full-time student of music performance — picking up where he had left off as a younger man, with dreams of a career as a professional trumpet player.

He practiced every day, honing his chops and relearning breathing techniques. He played small gigs before joining the Delmarva Big Band as lead trumpet. “That’s pretty much my favorite thing to do, because it’s high, loud, and fast,” he said.

Davis spent his no-frills childhood in a modest rowhouse outside Baltimore. He was in the fourth grade when he first picked up a trumpet, “and pretty much haven’t stopped playing since,” he said. “I saw Louis Armstrong on TV and kind of had a natural attraction to it. Then, in elementary school, they had some of the kids come through the classroom and play. That got me interested in trying it out.” 

He loved the trumpet and dreamed of building his career around it, but there was another calling that was competing for his attention.

“As a boy, I remember seeing police officers and was impressed by them,” he remembered. “I was brought up to respect my elders and authority figures, so the police were like knights in shining armor to me.”

As a young man, Davis studied music at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County but dropped out in favor of full-time trumpet performances because the money was really good. But he needed benefits, like insurance — especially since he had just married his sweetheart, Stephanie, who today is his wife of
32 years. 

A friend who was a trooper convinced him to enlist, saying he had the right disposition for the job. That was the start of a distinguished 26-year career with the Maryland State Police. But being a trooper effectively squelched any shot Davis had at a music career.

He enjoyed a highly decorated career as a trooper, starting and ending at the Salisbury barracks, except for seven years as the commander of a criminal interdiction unit. One of his fellow troopers on that detail — where they chased bad guys and seized record amounts of cash and narcotics along major highways — was Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis. Sheriff Lewis said Davis “saved my butt on more than one occasion.” There’s one case in particular, Lewis recalled, that may have cost Lewis his life, had Davis not intervened.

“Some guy had a fully loaded machine gun on the bypass during a traffic stop. He was ready to take me out. Davis was behind me and well-hidden in the shadow. It was dark, around 5 a.m.
The guy went to grab the gun. Davis was screaming and hollering. The guy later admitted he was going to kill me,” Lewis said.

Though Davis was done with the state police in 2014, law enforcement was not done with him.

His former state police coworker James Pilchard had taken a job as police chief in Snow Hill. Pilchard asked Davis to join him as an assistant chief. “I promptly told him no, because I was done with law enforcement,” Davis said, “but after several more phone calls, I gave in.”

Davis agreed to stick around for a year or two, but not even that much time had passed when Chief Pilchard departed the job. Town leaders tapped Davis to take over as acting chief before he was offered the job permanently. He’s now in his third year serving as Snow Hill’s top law enforcement officer. 

Police work has allowed Davis to use his trumpet not only onstage but as a part of peoples’ most personal moments. He’s played solos for wedding ceremonies and “Taps” at police and military funerals. When Senator Jim Mathias lost his wife, Kathy, to cancer in 2011, Davis played at her funeral. The solo Davis performed, the theme to CBS Sunday Morning, had been one of Kathy’s favorite melodies. 

Lee Knier is a Salisbury University trumpet instructor who worked with Davis on his music performance degree for about two years.

“He really is the real deal,” Knier said. “Here’s a grown man, a professional with grown children, he’s successful — and he comes to class on time and prepared. You can’t get any better as a role model for students. And he was always very encouraging to my other trumpet students. He was an inspiration to them.”

Davis was already a good player when they met, Knier said, so he tried to help him by finding some corners of the trumpet world that he wasn’t as familiar with.

“He’s very competent; he’s one of the best jazz players in the state of Maryland,” Knier said. “If you put him in a situation where there’s no [sheet] music and we’re just playing, put him in a black T-shirt, he’s perfectly at ease. And, here’s a guy who, as a police officer, has had someone try to get his gun from him, and he handled it.

“But,” he added, “put him in a coat and tie, and tell him to play this piece by Bach, and his knees start shaking. Nerves are all about what your comfort zone is.” Ultimately, Davis sees parallels between the brotherhood of police officers and that of musicians. He’s cultivated a personal network of musician friends, some of whom are world-class players, and “they care because you care.”

“They want to make you a better musician,” he said. “They look out for each other — just like the police. It’s a true brotherhood.”

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HONORING HERITAGES Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Nick Brandi Joanne Guilfoil overcame her share of hurdles en route to becoming the accomplished artist, writer and educator she is today. As a child growing up...]]> Joanne Guilfoil overcame her share of hurdles en route to becoming the accomplished artist, writer and educator she is today. As a child growing up in Westchester County, NY, in the 1950s, Guilfoil missed an inordinate amount of school due to illness, which severely impaired her reading-comprehension level and placed her years behind her peers. Her struggle to catch up wasn’t easy, but Guilfoil had the eye. She had an innate gift for visual perception and reproduction, which she channeled into drawing, sketching and eventually painting. She ultimately earned her doctorate and became an art professor and highly skilled painter — she even became a writer. Today, the author of the popular Flying Over Delmarva: Spray Planes, Banner Planes & Bi-Planes has fittingly chosen the Berlin’s 150th anniversary as the release date for her ABCs series follow-up, Berlin Maryland ABCs, a colorful tribute to the history, characters and traditions that make “America’s Coolest Small Town” unlike anywhere else in the world.

Coastal Style recently sat down with Guilfoil, to get a better a better view of what makes this intriguing and multitalented woman tick.

CSM: What made you decide to write an ABC book about Berlin?

JG: Well, I was in Berlin and had gone into Victorian Charm with hardcovers of my book Flying Over Delmarva, and I met the owner, Steve Frene. At one point he asked me: “Well, what about an ABC book on Berlin?” And I replied that I didn’t really know anything about Berlin, so he gave me this book on Berlin published by Arcadia and said, “Now get to work!” [laughs], which I intended to do, but I had put the project on the back burner until I realized that 2018 is the town’s 150th anniversary, at which point the project shot right to the top of the list, so it would be in time for the season. Plus, Steve and Debbie have grandkids, and there was nothing like this that had been published about Berlin, so that became another reason to get the book done, something about Berlin for the kids and grandkids.

You donate time, as a volunteer, to paint and maintain the nose art of a B-25 in Georgetown, Delaware. Do you come from a military family?

My father was a shipbuilder in the Navy during World War II.

Did you move around a lot as a child, as so many military families do?

No. He served his time but then went to school to become an engineer, so for the first 13 years of my life we were residents of Valhalla-White Plains in Westchester County.

I’m told you were sick a lot, growing up. Is that true?

Yes, it was before the era of vaccination became the norm in the United States, and I had all the childhood diseases and missed a lot of school. Then, I was ice-skating and fell and broke my arm, so I couldn’t write. After that, I got hit by a car, so some time in the hospital and more school missed. Oh, well.

When I was in fourth grade, my mother got really bad pneumonia, and I got it, too, so we were basically quarantined, and there was nothing to do all day but lie in bed. It was so boring. Eventually, I think my dad brought me some pastels — which, in retrospect, for a kid with pneumonia, probably wasn’t a very good idea. But anyway, he brought me a book, too, called Misty of Chincoteague. Now, the problem was, I couldn’t read, and nobody knew that. But I could draw, so I made a zillion drawings of Misty of Chincoteague — and all I knew is that it was a pony somewhere, but I didn’t know where. The point is, from first grade through sixth grade, I was able to get by because, back then, you could do group work, so I’d always do the drawings and art, which I was good at, and that’s how I got by.

So your reading deficit went basically undetected. 

Yes, for writing assignments, I’d basically just hand in the same work year after year, until sixth grade.

What happened in sixth grade?

I transferred to this new school, the Virginia Road School, in Valhalla, and I had this male teacher with big, brawny arms, named Mr. DeGiorgio, who was on to me. He called up to his desk and said, “You didn’t read this book,” and I said, “So?” Well, he slammed that ham-hock arm of his down on the desk and said, “You take this book home, and you read it to your mother, and I want a note from her when you’re done.”

Do you remember what book it was that he forced you to read?

Oh, yes. I’ll never forget it: It was Pippi Longstocking.

By having to read that book, did you effectively catch up with the rest of your class?

By the end of sixth grade, I was much closer to grade level, and by seventh grade, I was basically caught-up, and life was good.

At that time, were you already aware that you possessed an innate aptitude for art?

Yes, definitely. And that was very important, because it was very traumatic when my family uprooted me from Valhalla and made me move to Montgomery County in Maryland. I remember it being a terrible adjustment but that the art was the thing that got me through. That and sports.

Oh, then, despite your sickly childhood, you were athletic?

Yes, I was a tomboy and jock — and a brat! [Laughs.]

Where did you go to college?

The University of Kentucky.

Did you play any sports there?

Yup! I played guard on the women’s basketball team and did a double major in art and art history. It was tough: Half the day in the gym; the other half was in the art studio, so I dropped basketball after two years.

Still, it’s not all that commonplace for someone with genuine artistic ability to also excel in sports.

I know. I thought I was crazy for a while. I’d roll into art class all sweaty, and the kids would look at me like there was something wrong with me [laughs].

Where’d you get your doctorate?

University of Oregon. It had the program I was looking for, where I could study what I wanted, which was environmental design, and I got to study architecture and landscape design.

Did you eventually teach at the university level?

Yes — studio art and art education at the University of Kentucky and later Eastern Kentucky University.

Where do you live now?

Selbyville, Delaware.

How long did it take you to complete ABCs Berlin Maryland?

Oh gosh. Maybe a couple of months. I didn’t waste any time. I got in and got it done.

What did you learn about Berlin that intrigued you the most?

I guess it was the historical figures that are actually part of Berlin’s history, not Ocean City’s, like Stephen Decatur, War Admiral and Man o’ War, to name just some.

Did you make any new friends there?

Definitely. Patrick Henry, Steve Frene, Anya at the Worcester County Art Center and Olga at World of Toys — the best toy store ever — and the folks at Rayne’s Reef. It’s the people of Berlin who make it as great as it is.

Speaking of Patrick Henry, I notice that, like Patrick’s, your work is highly representational, very precise and eerily lifelike.

Thank you! In fact, I call it “precision painting.”

You’re big on acrylics. Why is that your medium of choice?

I can use water; I can do blending; there’s no smell; it dries quickly; and I can do a lot of layering easily. I’ve worked with oils, but I must admit I prefer acrylic.

Will your art be on display locally anytime soon?

Yes, we’re having a show in the Spotlight Gallery at the Art League of Ocean City in August, which will showcase 20 to 30 of my works.

What’s next on the literary front?

ABCs Bethany Beach is done and will be out by the time this article runs, and next is ABCs Ocean City, Maryland. After that is a coffee-table book about the chickens of Delmarva, from backyard broods to family farms, believe it or not. Love those Delmarva chickens. A chicken was my first and only pet!

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THE FAMILY MAN Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Jonathan Westman Wayne Lednum sure has seen the landscape of the Eastern Shore change in his day. The spry octogenarian, who turned 85 on June 7, founded Creative...]]> Wayne Lednum sure has seen the landscape of the Eastern Shore change in his day. The spry octogenarian, who turned 85 on June 7, founded Creative Concepts in Bethany Beach with his wife, Bobbi, in 1973, within sight of Sea Colony’s first high-rise, which was still under construction. During a candid conversation, the patriarch of the third-generation business recalled some of the company’s earliest days and shared the importance of surrounding oneself with honest, hardworking individuals as keys to its success more than 45 years later.

“Bobbi and I were happy — me to be away from corporate life and her from the suburban life,” Wayne said of moving his family to the Delaware beaches. “Freedom and fresh air were ours. We had youthful enthusiasm and an indomitable attitude that didn’t know failure was an option. Our three sons, Craig, Steve and Scott, were in high school and tasting Ocean City freedom themselves.

“The Sea Colony building, and its opportunity, were in front of us every morning as we drove to work,” he continued. “I hasten to add that the building was empty of people except for weekends — and then only if it was warm. There was no local business for beach décor, not that anyone walked through the door all week anyhow. Back then, in order to call Salisbury, you had to have an operator to complete your telephone call… now that’s rural!”  

Wayne left a managerial position at Montgomery Ward to relocate his family and pursue his entrepreneurial passion. Originally a window-fashion and home-accessories store, Creative Concepts rapidly expanded its offerings to include furniture and complimentary interior-design services to create a full-service shopping experience for customers.

“There were less than a handful of furniture stores from Ocean City to Rehoboth Beach at the time, along with an independent decorator who primarily did government work at Dover Air Base,” Wayne said. “Our first store was 1,200 square feet, including the bathroom and storage. Our first employee was our youngest son, Scott, who was too young for Mom to be comfortable leaving him alone at home. I think he is still mad at me for paying him $5 — I’m not sure if that was for a day or a week.”

The original store was located in South Bethany’s York Beach Mall, and the Lednums expanded their operation by moving to Creekside Plaza in Millville. Wayne and Bobbi opened a second location in Lewes in the early 1980s and later built their flagship showroom in Ocean View in 2005. Today, Creative Concepts has more than 30 employees and roughly 30,000 square feet for showroom and warehouse space between its two showrooms.

Family has always been a welcome and trusted component of the Creative Concepts business plan. Eldest son Craig is the furniture merchandiser and accessories manager. Steve is in charge of the warehouse and delivery operations, as well as the window-treatments division. Scott oversees construction and building management. Daughter-in-law Gail Lednum is Creative Concepts’ lead designer, while grandsons Justin, who works full-time in the showroom, and Corey, who works in the warehouse in-between semesters at college, collectively help further the Lednum family legacy.

Their successes were not without challenge and sacrifice, however, as long hours and a longing for more customers dominated those early years of the business. 

“There wasn’t a middle class down here, just many working couples surrounding the necessary beach enterprises,” Wayne said. “That meant scraping by financially in the winter and working seven days and six nights in the short summer season.”

The family’s biggest challenge came in March of 2017, when Bobbi, whom Wayne married 61 years earlier, passed away at age 79. Heartbroken by the loss of his wife and best friend, Wayne carries on today with his trademark enthusiasm and spirit, guided by irreplaceable and inspirational memories of the love of his life.

Wayne also has the full support of his talented and dynamic team of employees, who feel a familial connection to him and continue to learn from him.

“I feel I have been very fortunate to work with Wayne on a daily basis,” said Patti Marro, who has been the company’s bookkeeper for seven-plus years. “His years of knowledge and experience have helped me, because I can apply what he has taught me at work in my personal life.”

“Mr. Wayne has been a mentor to me. I have improved my life tremendously just by knowing him,” said Shawn Stevens, who serves as warehouse manager and has been employed with Creative Concepts for 15 years. “This is a wonderful place to work, and the Lednums are like family to me. Mr. Wayne calls me his ‘other son.’ He’s an awesome guy and a father figure to me.”

“Wayne is an amazing and unique man,” said Lewes location designer Robin Wall. “I was able to meet Bobbi, Wayne and Craig on one of my very first days on the job. From that point, I knew this was a business that held high standards for honesty, integrity and great personal relations.”

“I’ve always been an idealist. I believe you gather together people who want to work, work together and want to function as a team,” Wayne said. “I don’t have to drive my enthusiasm; I believe it. Even at 85, I wake up eager to go to work every day, because I know that when I get there, my family, my incredible staff and the best customers anyone could ever ask for are all going to be there, too.”

302-539-6989  (Ocean View), 302-645-6200  (Lewes)


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DOUBLE TAKE Sun, 01 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Alison Clary It is certainly not a secret that you can find a cheap swimsuit at just about any apparel store in a coastal area, but the options are slim when you...]]> It is certainly not a secret that you can find a cheap swimsuit at just about any apparel store in a coastal area, but the options are slim when you are looking for a long-lasting swimsuit that is designed for your specific body type. Body Double Swimwear in Fenwick Island has been able to stand out among other Shore retailers for over three decades because of their wide-ranging selection of high-quality swimwear for women of all sizes and their knowledgeable team’s unique and supportive approach to ensuring customers find the perfect suit for their bodies and lifestyles.  

Recently, Body Double underwent a change in ownership when longtime employee and patron Liz Welsh purchased the store from its original owner, Nancy Ruppert. Liz’s relationship with Body Double began long before she became the store’s owner, as she worked in several different roles under Nancy for nearly 10 years prior to taking on ownership. 

“I’ve always had an innate connection with the store and its ability to help women of all sizes and backgrounds feel their best in swimwear,” said Liz. 

After graduating from Syracuse University and testing the waters in corporate America, Liz packed up and moved back to her home-away-from-home, Fenwick Island. “With each new job and new city, my mind was always wandering back to Body Double and what life would be like if that store was my own,” said Liz. 

Liz easily resumed her former role at Body Double, but she also began taking on larger responsibilities, which allowed her to fully learn the intricate details of the business before obtaining ownership. Soon after purchasing Body Double, Liz collaborated with Gina Drago of Gina Drago Design to execute a large-scale renovation aimed to better align the store with its coastal setting and Liz’s style.

“Nancy has created an amazing brand over the past 32 years, and through the renovation, I wanted to add my personal touch while keeping the roots of the store,” said Liz.

When you enter, it is likely you will do a double take because of the extensive remodeling and reorganization. Everything from the floors to the color scheme was updated. “Liz’s only request was to create a rustic, coastal space with an inviting feel and an easy flow,” said Drago. 

Despite these vast renovations, the center point of Body Double Swimwear’s year-round business remains focused on swimwear. To accommodate more body types, Liz has extended sizing availability from kids through size 24W. “We really do have something for every woman, whether you are a size 00 or an H-cup bra. If you let us help you, I promise no woman will walk out of the store empty-handed,” said Liz. 

The team at Body Double takes pride in their ability to help women find their ideal suit, and they make every effort to make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable. They make it a point to immediately greet each customer as they walk in the door. Once customers enter the fitting rooms, the Body Double team make themselves available to grab new sizes or other options. They even provide personal suggestions if the customer desires. 

Body Double carries over 50 popular brands, including Nanette Lepore, La Blanca, Trina Turk, Tommy Bahama and Miraclesuit. Liz has also added collections from popular swimwear brands Seafolly and Karla Colletto, as well. 

Liz has expanded to include more clothes, specifically dresses and coverups for juniors, missy and plus-size women. Popular brands include Gretchen Scott, Tommy Bahama, Cabana Life and Coolibar. Liz has also added activewear back to the store and carries brands such as Beyond Yoga, K-Deer, Dona Jo and Southwind Apparel. 

You’re invited to join Liz and her team Saturday, July 21, at their grand re-opening soirée.


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PERSEVERANCE & PRIDE Tue, 01 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Bob Yesbek You can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. That proverb was put to the test by misfortune and hardship on March 28, 2014, in the form...]]> You can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. That proverb was put to the test by misfortune and hardship on March 28, 2014, in the form of a fire at Josh and Jess Wiggins’ Blue Water Grill in Millsboro.

They had purchased the restaurant from John Rishko, now a Delaware Realtor and former owner of Rehoboth’s Stoney Lonen (along with Nelia Dolan, now with SoDel Concepts). Rehabilitation of the 1950s-built structure took such a long time that Josh and Jess risked losing their employees — until the proprietors of Arena’s restaurants and Paradise Grill stepped up to the plate, offering temporary employment to Blue Water Grill’s staff. As a result, when Josh and Jess eventually turned the key on their newly rebuilt eatery, over 90 percent of their original staff returned. This is not the sort of thing you see everywhere: Sussex County restaurants are a breed unto themselves.

Josh Wiggins is no stranger to professional kitchens. He cooked alongside Baywood Greens’ opening chef Mike Clampitt at the long-gone Sea Horse in Rehoboth (Mike is now the boss at Po’Boys Creole & Fresh Catch in Milton) and also at the Gilligan’s on the Canal in Lewes. Combined with Jess’ front-of-house expertise, they eventually fulfilled their dream of restaurant ownership. And their hard-and-fast rule of local sourcing is evidenced by their menu. Whether it’s produce, chicken, fish, beef or whatever, you can be pretty sure that your lunch or dinner grew, flew, swam or grazed nearby.

Lunchtime favorites include Josh’s signature bacon-wrapped scallops and the popular broiled appetizer combo with crab dip, clams casino, crab balls and those scallops. The dinner menu offers scallop Imperial, the Blue Water pasta (penne topped with shrimp and crab lounging happily in Asiago cream sauce, alongside tomatoes, spinach, carrots and mushrooms) and the chicken roulade stuffed with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes in a roasted red-pepper cream sauce. My go-to dish at dinner is actually a special: lobster roll salad with house pepper-parm dressing and avocados on butter-leaf greens sourced from Fresh Harvest Hydroponics right there in Millsboro.

The current menu at Blue Water Grill includes the popular “you-name-it & grits” section, where you can pair cheddar grits, fried green tomatoes and a tomato puree with your choice of fish, blackened shrimp, chicken or maybe even a crab cake or a steak if you ask nicely. Or, you can belly up to the bar from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (and all day Sunday) for the happy-hour bar menu, which includes special prices on bites like fish tacos, shrimp, mussels and wings.

As if the regular menu weren’t extensive enough, Josh loves to populate his Blackboard Menu with daily lunch and dinner off-menu specials. In spite of the maritime subtext of the restaurant’s name, there’s a large and varied selection of non-seafood apps and lunch/dinner entrées. One of my favorites is the marinated hanger steak entrée. Sourced from Travis Reid’s Black Angus ranch in Frankford, the dish is served with crispy potatoes and prosciutto Brussels sprouts drizzled with a roasted garlic demi.

In their spare time (really?!) Josh and Jess also prepare prepackaged “heat & eat” meals in two sizes for the homebound, single retirees, people with special dietary needs or simply those who want to eat controlled, health-conscious portions. These special menus rotate every two weeks, with pickup on Sundays and Wednesdays. They are also equipped to host and cater any type of event, with customized menus tailored directly to the client’s particular event, budget and even dietary preferences.

Things don’t get much more small-town than the friendly every-night meet ’n’ greet at Blue Water Grill, located at 226 Main Street. They are open every day. Call 302-934-5160 to double-check their hours. See the entire menu at

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