Local boatbuilders ride a 600-year tide of history

By Bill Newcott  |  Photographs by Carolyn Watson
From the Holiday 2019 issue

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The 20-foot-long, cobalt-blue lake canoe occupies much of the length of David Greenhaugh’s driveway. Even to a guy who doesn’t know a dinghy from a deck boat, the workmanship is striking, the artisan’s attention to detail unmistakable.

Just above the bow, the canoe’s triangular deck plate — made of hard cherry wood — is stained like a fine piece of living room furniture. Inside the canoe, the gloss of white paint is smooth enough to see my reflection. 

Between the white inside and blue exterior, embedded in the long, sweeping starboard gunwale at the top of the hull, a thin red strip of stained wood runs its entire length. This is the only evidence that the shell of this canoe is constructed entirely of redwood.

 

As coastal farmlands vanish, a longtime local crop-dusting family finds work farther from home.

By Bill Newcott | Photograph by Kyle Kaminski
From the October 2019 issue

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The sound awoke me, and even before my brain kicked into gear, I recognized it: The dive-bomb roar … the seconds of near silence … the renewed urgency of an airplane swinging into another approach.

It was unmistakable. There was a crop-duster in the neighborhood. And he was very close.

 

Erased by storms and a broader boardwalk, Surf Avenue was once Rehoboth’s place to be

By Michael Morgan, from the September 2019 issue

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Today, Surf Avenue is a quiet residential street at the north end of Rehoboth just beyond the boardwalk. Beginning in the shadow of the Henlopen Hotel, the tree-lined street runs alongside the beach for five blocks before it becomes Zwaanendael Road at Henlopen Acres. What remains of Surf Avenue today is only a hint of the glory it enjoyed as the early resort’s most prestigious address.

In 1873, when leaders of the Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association (an outreach of the Methodist Episcopal Church) established the town, the focal point of the resort was the meeting grounds about three-quarters of a mile from the beach. Several streets, including what was foreseen as the town’s most important artery, Rehoboth Avenue, radiated from the campground eastward until they intersected with Surf Avenue, which ran along a sandy bluff parallel to the beach. At 100 feet wide, this roadway could easily accommodate the many horses and carriages that early visitors drove to get an unobstructed view of the rolling breakers. When the Camp Meeting Association began to sell lots (at prices ranging from $75 to $150 apiece) in the nascent resort, those along Surf Avenue were quickly gobbled up first. Sales on Rehoboth Avenue, which the association believed was “destined to be one of the grandest avenues in the world,” were not as brisk, and many lots near the campground remained unsold.