Science and mystery collide in the area’s long history of odd occurrences and strange sights

By George Contant and Michael A. Hamilton
From the Holiday 2015 issue

henlopentriangle Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #96Unexplained oceanic explosions, freakish mirages, devastating storms in perfect weather, ships that disappear, eerie “electrical fogs,” mysterious sea creatures, UFOs … the list goes on. Such strange and seemingly paranormal occurrences have been reported all over planet Earth for centuries. Intrigued, people search for answers while science mocks or attempts to explain away these incidents. Still, they continue to challenge an unbelieving world.

Mike Hamilton, a fellow researcher of Cape Henlopen history, and I pride ourselves as being rational historians who always prefer to deal in fact. But, like the flat-earth theory of long ago, fact is relative to what we actually know at a given point in time. For hundreds of years, surviving ship captains and crews told of titanic waves that came from nowhere, destroying vessels as though they had been tossed over Niagara Falls. How many tellings did it take before science finally determined that rogue waves are real?

Sales in the coastal real estate market are up and prices are holding steady, as a wealth of new construction competes with existing home offerings

By Pam George  |  Photograph by Carolyn Watson
From the October 2015 issue

realestatephoto Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #96In March 2014, Mike and Kate Dickinson decided to stop renting and buy a new home. They visited existing townhouses in Sawgrass South at White Oak Creek, located off Old Landing Road near Rehoboth, but the properties came with homeowner association fees the couple didn’t want to pay. They moved on to Breakwater, a new community off Gills Neck Road, outside Lewes. Worried about all the construction in that area — Gills Neck Road also is home to Senators, another new development, and the up-and-coming Showfield — they crossed that one off the list too.

They also toured existing homes that needed renovations to modernize the floor plan. But with a 7-month-old son and full-time jobs, they didn’t want that burden. Then they saw a house in Nassau Station, an established Lewes-area community with a mix of residents, from young families to seniors. The Dickinsons, who were married at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church downtown and have family in Lewes, decided that Nassau Station was the ideal neighborhood in which to raise a family. What’s more, the house had all the right stuff: an open floor plan, three bedrooms, 2 ½ baths and a fenced, landscaped backyard. 

Unfortunately, another buyer felt the same way; the Dickinsons were outbid. As a result, they decided to build a custom home on a for-sale-by-owner lot in the same community. “We said: ‘Let’s get exactly what we want,’ ” Mike Dickinson says.

Created at a time when the town was divided, CAMP Rehoboth marks 25 years as an integral — and edifying — part of the community

By Pam George  |  Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the October 2015 issue

camprehophoto Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #96The summer of 2015 started with a bang. Police issued citations for public alcohol consumption on Poodle Beach, a longtime gathering spot for gays, prompting some to claim that they were being unfairly targeted. There was also an unsuccessful attempt to restrict swimming pool use on rental properties, mostly due to noise concerns.

In cases like those, Steve Elkins would like to see all concerned parties “brought to the table” to discuss the issues and suggest solutions. Twenty-five years ago, however, he wouldn’t have received an invitation to enter the meeting room, let alone be offered a seat at any such table. 

Elkins is the co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth, founded back then to bring gay and straight community stakeholders together to create a safe, welcoming environment for everyone who appreciates the area. “I always found that you could accomplish much more when you look at what you have in common rather than look at your differences,” he says.