Rollicking music and raucous good times flowed freely during resort towns’ entertainment heyday

By Pam George
From the May 2015 issue

LB-barsphoto Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #93Back in the mid-1980s, when cellphones were in their infancy, John Barczewski and his friends didn’t have trouble keeping in touch — they knew where to find each other on a Saturday night by the time on their watches. At 10 p.m., they met at Schultze’s. By 11 p.m., they were at Tijuana Taxi on Rehoboth Avenue, sipping golden margaritas. At midnight, they were at The Summer House, where they cheered on the “shrimpettes,” female patrons who were so short they could dance on the bar without hitting their heads on the ceiling fans.

Before 1 a.m., they called The Front Page on Baltimore Avenue so a bucket of Rolling Rock beers was waiting for them upon arrival. “We never strayed out of Rehoboth unless there was a band to see,” he recalls. “Dewey was otherwise foreign to us.”

That wasn’t the case for Tommy Cooper in the 1960s, when Dewey was “one big fraternity party,” he says. The Bottle & Cork was hopping, the Starboard was still a dive and there was a beach bonfire at the end of most streets. Cooper was underage in the early 1960s, but “you could get in most anywhere, if you knew the right people.”

Coastal Sussex has its share of endangered species. Here’s a sampling — and some advice on what’s needed to save them

By Lynn R. Parks  |  Photograph by Jay Fleming
From the May 2015 issue

ENDPipingPlover-JayFleming Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #93On average, an adult piping plover, like the one at left, weighs 54 grams, about the same as a quarter cup of sugar. A northern long-eared bat, despite the ears for which it is named, tops out at around 10 grams, equal to the weight of 10 small paper clips. 

The barking tree frog is the largest tree frog in the southeastern United States. But an adult’s body is typically no more than 7 centimeters, or 2¾ inches, long (not counting their legs). 

Diminutive creatures, all of them. But the piping plover, northern long-eared bat and barking tree frog all occupy unique spots in the coastal Sussex web of life. And all three are among the 86 birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fish, mollusks and insects on the list of Delaware’s endangered species. 

An accident took much from Lilly Barnett. But her determination, and the support of family and friends, have given this young girl hope.

By Jessica Gordon  |  Photograph by Carolyn Watson
From the May 2015 issue

Kid-LillyBarnett Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #93Once you hear Lilly Barnett’s story, chances are you will never forget it. It has elements of both fairy tales and nightmares, and at its core, it’s a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit and the power of love.

A tragic accident that claimed one life and altered countless others is neither the beginning nor end of Lilly’s story. But it does divide her life — and the lives of her mom Kelly, dad Bryan and younger sister Summer — into two very different chapters: before July 26, 2011, and after. 

It was a warm Tuesday night when Bryan Barnett kissed then 9-year-old Lilly goodbye as she headed out for dinner with her grandmother. “I told her I loved her and watched her be-bop out of here,” he recalls. “Four hours later, I was in a helicopter.”

The helicopter was carrying Lilly to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Children’s Hospital (often referred to as A.I.) in Wilmington. She was unresponsive and clinging to life after a motorcycle traveling more than 120 mph slammed into the side of Lilly’s grandmother’s Lexus sedan as she crossed Route 1 near Milford. The motorcyclist died at the scene. Lilly’s grandmother suffered minor injuries, but the young girl in the back seat on the passenger side took almost the entire force of the collision. She suffered extensive injuries, from broken ribs and collapsed lungs to a bruised liver.