Locally made beers, wine and spirits have become another draw for coastal tourists

By Pam George  |  Photograph by Carolyn Watson
From the September 2014 issue

libationvacationnassauvineyards Sample Stories - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #153Kelly Grovola and her family come to the beach from Hockessin for sun, fun — and suds. They always stop at the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton or the Dogfish brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. When Dogfish Head holds events such the annual Analog-a-Go-Go (a salute to vinyl records), Grovola heads south just for that. Sitting on the sand becomes secondary.

She’s not alone. “Our trips to the beach are often scheduled and planned around events happening at the breweries, such as a special beer release or ticketed events,” says Lindsey Timberman of Wilmington, who with Eric Roberts writes a blog on delawarehopscene.com. When it comes to eye-opening ales by the sea, the duo have a lot to type about.

A major storm approaches, and evacuation orders are issued. Still, some folks choose to hunker down. Their reasons for doing so are varied — and confounding to emergency personnel.

By Jack Rodgers
From the September 2014 issue

stayorgo Sample Stories - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #153There is no hiding from the wind of a storm that lashes in from the sea.

But that’s just what we were trying to do on a long ago late-summer afternoon in Rehoboth. The wind did not come politely to our front door and tap gently. No, it sounded like the proverbial train as it powered across a churning sea and slammed into that door, as if intent upon blowing it off. The wind shrieked in the eaves, tore limbs from the sycamore across the street and flung pine needles from trees that leaned like the masts of a schooner rounding the Horn.

We could also sense that the gentle rollers we had ridden with our blue-and-yellow canvas rafts the day before had been replaced with freight-car-size giants now pounding the shore. They landed with a BOOM you could feel through the windows of the cottage. We marveled at first, but in a few moments felt uneasy as cream-colored foam was driven down our street and the snug house no longer felt as secure. The adults quietly filled water containers, and the glances they exchanged told us they were second-guessing the decision to stay.

Viewed from a safe perch far from the storm, those who ignore warnings and evacuation notices may seem quirky at best and downright foolhardy at worst. As we watch footage of cascading stormwater pouring down streets or rescues taking place on some rooftop, the questions always form: Why would anyone stay for that? Who are these people that hunker down while others flee inland?

Turns out, those are tough questions for even the experts to answer.

Culinary shifts play out at coastal restaurants as traditional seafood moves over to allow farm-to-table, vegetarian, ethnic and other influences to come to the center of the plate

By Pam George  |  Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the August 2014 issue

TastyTrends-byScottNathanVegetarian dishes, locally sourced products, gluten-free foods and non-traditional fish are just a few of the trends on the National Restaurant Association’s list of what’s hot for 2014. But judging by area menus, many coastal restaurants are already on the cutting edge — and have been there for some time.
What’s influencing the trends? Customers today are savvier, says Robin Rankin, executive chef at Patsy’s Restaurant in Bethany Beach. “They care if the salmon is wild-caught or farm-raised,” she says. “They come with a long list of questions, and servers have to be extremely educated. I think it’s a good thing.”

Cooking shows, seemingly ubiquitous these days, also have exposed consumers to unusual preparations, and many foodies are well-traveled.
Chefs, meanwhile, are hungry for new ingredients, flavor profiles and techniques. Rankin, for one, has visited Vietnam, South America, France, Spain, Egypt, Morocco and Bulgaria. Spices, herbs and grains from these nations’ cuisines often make their way into her dishes.

While many beach restaurants reflect what’s happening across the country, several trends are particularly strong along the Delaware coast.