Running a coastal housekeeping operation is often quite a chore

By Pam George.
Photographs by Carolyn Watson.
From the May 2023 issue

May-2023-issue

Prior to the pandemic, coastal housekeeping companies were cleaning up. Jennifer and Jimi Kellogg, who founded Dust n Time in 2009, had five vans on the road, each ferrying up to five cleaners between jobs. 

Biamby Cleaning Services’ revenue soared from $7,000 in 2009 to six figures by early 2020. And Ecolistic Cleaning, which uses earth-friendly ingredients, had expanded from Annapolis to Baltimore to Sussex County, where founder Courtney Sunborn now lives. Then came COVID-19. In early spring 2020, Gov. John Carney banned commercial lodging and short-term rentals to all but essential workers. Many residential clients did not want people in their homes — and many cleaners didn’t want to enter them.

While news headlines focused on the ailing hospitality industry, housekeeping companies quietly suffered. “We lost six figures’ worth of income,” says Jeannie Biamby

The situation has improved, but the coastal industry is still adjusting to a new normal, with rising wages needed to attract and retain staff while supply costs soar.

When you go to sea with one of America’s southernmost lobstermen, it’s best to just stay out of the way

By Bill Newcott
Photograph by Jay Fleming
From the April 2023 issue

April-2023-issue

The lobsters keep their secrets,” says Wes Townsend almost absentmindedly, pointing us straight out to sea, the soft gray glow of a pending sunrise just beginning to define the dark horizon. 

It is 4:45 a.m. The good ship Paka has been pushing through 4-foot seas and battling 20 mph winds for the past hour, ever since we emerged from under the Indian River Inlet bridge.

Paka rises and falls rhythmically: Sploosh … sploosh … sploosh. Every once in a while, the hull rides a particularly high wave, hesitates at the crest, then freefalls to the trough: SPLOOSH!  

In May 1945, a German submarine surfaced off Cape Henlopen. The officers and crew couldn’t have picked a better place to give themselves up.By Bill Newcott

From the April 2023 issue

April-2023-issue

Imagine you’re waging war from a submarine, patrolling the enemy’s coast 4,000 miles from home. Suddenly you get a radio flash: “Hey, guys, we’ve just surrendered. The war is over.” 

What do you do? Do you turn around and cruise across a stormy ocean to a defeated homeland? Try to find a port in some neutral country?

Or, you might do what German sub captain Thilo Bode did off the East Coast on May 10, 1945: surface, reveal your position via a distress signal — and have your 44-man crew stand in formation on deck, hoping against hope the approaching U.S. warships won’t sink you.

Finally, you just might end up seeing your captured sub towed into the harbor at Lewes — and docked alongside the pier at Cape Henlopen.