The coastal real estate market remains strong, but the lure of newly constructed homes is creating a challenge for owners selling older ones

By Larry Nagengast | Photographs by Carolyn Watson
From the October 2016 issue

realestate Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #72The deep dive that coastal housing prices took following the 2008 recession is long gone. Formerly underwater homeowners have seen their housing values bubble back to the surface, finally offering the opportunity to net them at least a small profit should they sell.

But making that sale isn’t as easy as they would like because the steady economic recovery has prompted a resurgence in new construction — triggering a clash between the new and the not-so-new, especially in the highly competitive mid-range portion of the market.

“If you look at mid-level, $400,000 to $600,000, that market is extremely strong,” says Justin Healy, broker/owner of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty. However, “new construction is hurting the resale market. People who are shopping look at the new construction — the buyer incentives, the warranties, the new appliances. As a result, a lot of resales are selling for less.”

Nina Mickelsen came late to painting, but is making up for lost time

By Mary Ann Benyo  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the September 2016 Issue

artist Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #72Nina Mickelsen points to an irregular swish of gold leaf on a magenta background with little pink and blue circles. “That’s ‘Sunset in Assateague Bay,’ ” she says. Mickelsen laughs heartily, obviously familiar with the need to explain some of her works. She gestures to “Ocean Breeze” and “Heat Wave,” and there is somewhat of a resemblance between the title words and the images. Sort of. She’s quick to add, “No, you’re right. These are abstracts. A natural artistic evolution.”

On another wall of her studio, bright, playful images depict beach balls, sailboats and seashells, part of her “Beach Fun” collection. Her works on wood, rough linen or canvas, depicting easily recognizable subjects as well as abstractions, all show the influences of her Finnish roots — strong color, clean lines, crisp images, often featuring a lot of white.

Diners have a growing appetite for the bivalve, which raw bars are happy to satisfy

By Pam George | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the September 2016 issue

culinarycoastoyster Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #72During a day trip to Rehoboth Beach, Tina and Rick Betz of Wilmington decided to belly up to the bar at Henlopen City Oyster House. They each ordered a beer and a dozen oysters on the half-shell. As the afternoon progressed, they ordered another four dozen. “The bartender said: ‘Boy, you guys like oysters, don’t you?’” Rick Betz recalls. “So they gave us a dozen on the house.”

Eighty-four bivalves evidently were not enough. They then sat at a table in the restaurant to enjoy fried oyster po’ boys and oyster stew. Too full to drive home, they got a hotel room in town.

The Betzes aren’t the only restaurant customers who love this particular shellfish. The popularity of oysters on the half-shell has been rising. At the end of 2014, they appeared on 9.6 percent of all menus nationwide, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, an industry magazine. That was a 15.7 percent increase from 2010.

This past year, three restaurants with a raw bar opened at the beach: Matt Fish’s Camp in the Lewes area, Chesapeake & Maine in downtown Rehoboth and Starboard Raw in Dewey Beach. Oysters are also appearing on menus in restaurants without raw bars.

“More and more restaurants are offering them,” agrees Eric Sugrue, managing partner of Big Fish Restaurant Group, which owns Big Fish Wholesale Seafood Co. “They are now offering more varieties. The product is getting better, and people are into it.”