Season of Uncertainty

In a record-setting year for storms in a hurricane season, a Lewes couple decided to guard their home against Mother Nature

Location photography by Grant L. Gursky

New Jersey residents Joe and Melissa Syage discovered Lewes seven years ago, during a weekend visit to see an old college friend of Joe’s who lived in the historic town. The couple instantly fell in love with its boutique shops, restaurants and charm — so much so that they purchased a home on West Cape Shores Drive just two months later. They happily resided there for four years, until they purchased another home in Lewes — this one just 50 feet away, which came with unobstructed views of the picturesque Delaware Bay.

After settling in, Joe realized that nearly every house along the waterfront side of his street had hurricane shutters, except his.

“We’ve had a lot of very windy days, especially during the winters,” Joe said. “Sometimes, it’s so windy here on the Bay, it feels like the windows are going to blow in. For some reason, the previous owner didn’t have them put in. In light of the recent hurricane forecasts and some of the storms we’ve had of late, we just felt that sooner or later we might have ‘the big one.’ So, we decided to have the shutters installed.”

The Syages’ new hurricane shutter system not only adds layers of security, energy efficiency and storm fortification, it’s easily opened and closed from the comforts of their living room.

A quick survey of the neighborhood produced a continuing theme: East Coast Shutters was the area’s trusted source for hurricane shutter selection, quality and installation. Joe then asked his go-to general contractor for an opinion on the matter. He, too, recommended the Selbyville-based company.

East Coast Shutters manufactures top-quality rolling- and accordion-style hurricane-and-storm-protection systems that guard homes and businesses from damage. Their custom-made rolling-shutter systems also provide security, energy conservation and noise buffering — and can be operated with the simple touch of a remote control. The Syages had the X4 remote-controlled hurricane roll-shutter system installed earlier this year. It would be tested sooner than they expected.

When Hurricane Isaias barreled up the East Coast in the beginning of August, it was the earliest date on record for an I-named storm. While Joe and Melissa rode out Isaias in New Jersey, they were confident their Delaware home was protected.

“When we were home in New Jersey and knew this storm was coming, we probably would have been a little bit nervous if we hadn’t had the hurricane shutters installed,” Melissa said. “But we felt very comfortable knowing we’d come back and everything would be okay — and sure enough, it was. The system certainly met our expectations and provides us with tremendous peace of mind.”