Running a coastal housekeeping operation is often quite a chore

By Pam George.
Photographs by Carolyn Watson.
From the 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.

Coastal Delaware is at the crest of a population transformation

By Andrew Sharp
Photograph by Marianne Walch.
From the May 2023 issue


It’s called the gray wave, or the silver tsunami: a striking increase in the number of older people in the population as the baby boomer generation ages, birth rates drop and technological advances increase our lifespans. 

This global trend will strongly shape the coming years, and Sussex County is out in front — nowhere more so than in the coastal area. 

Census figures for southern Delaware are enough to make a demographics researcher spit her coffee. Around 30 percent of the population in Sussex County is age 65 or above, far above the national average (and is even higher on the eastern side of the county). And according to projections, that share is set to increase in coming decades. 

Workers in their 20s might read these predictions and immediately begin pondering the economic implications: Who is going to support this crowd of needy seniors? What about housing and health care? And that’s how the story is often framed — look out, the gray horde is coming.

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


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!