Out and About in Delaware's State Parks
|by Stephen Schilly|
|Lovin' the Life...
This past weekend, my partner, Bob, and I found ourselves at happy hour at the Blue Moon. While that's a common ritual for many who visit the resort area, it was something out of the ordinary for us. Bob has always been a very social person and used to enjoy the opportunity to meet up with friends over drinks. I, on the other hand, have never really been into the bar scene. Over the years, I guess my influence got us out of the habit of attending happy hours. On this particular afternoon, we arrived early and decided to sit on the front deck and enjoy the activity on Baltimore Avenue. It wasn't long before a steady stream of patrons arrived to fill the bar to capacity. I was grateful to be seated out front away from the wall-to-wall crowd. As we sat talking, two younger men joined us on the front benches. It was very clear from their excited discussion that they were new to Rehoboth Beach. It wasn't long before we struck up a conversation with them. They seemed surprised to learn that Bob and I lived in Rehoboth. One of them asked, "What do you love about Rehoboth?" It seemed like an odd sort of question, but it got me thinking. I started taking a mental inventory of my personal favorite things about our hometown. Food being "big" on my list, images of pizza, boardwalk fries, frozen custard, caramel popcorn, fudge, and salt water taffy invaded my subconscious. Next came thoughts of favorite area haunts, the CAMP Rehoboth courtyard, Lori's Caf, karaoke at the Purple Parrot and Cloud 9, shopping at Elegant Slumming, Gordons Pond beach and Poodle beach. All these places and things are an important part of what makes Rehoboth "home" for Bob and me. Yet, somehow they didn't quite define what is best about the town. Then it suddenly came to me. The single most important thing that I "LOVE" about Rehoboth is the people! Over the years, I've come to appreciate and treasure the diverse group of individuals that make Rehoboth such a vibrant community. It has been an amazing gift to live in a town that accepts and celebrates our differences as individuals. Many people throughout the community have helped make my life richer and far happier than I could have ever imagined. Rehoboth's small-town atmosphere makes it unique among the busy coastal resorts. The town truly has many wonderful attributes. But the most important one is the special people who make this town what it is..."home!"
Park Explorations: Fox Point State Park
In the on-going series exploring Delaware State Parks, our next stop is Fox Point State Park. Located on the Delaware River off I-95 just north of Wilmington, Fox Point is comprised of 170 acres of land running 4 miles along the waterway. It is truly a "window on the river." Looking north, visitors frequently have views all the way to Philadelphia. To the south stand the majestic twin spans of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. There is no better place to observe the busy shipping traffic that move to and from the commercial centers along the river. As one of Delaware's "newest" State Parks, this unique facility has a very special story regarding its development. The land which now forms the site was originally created when the Pennsylvania Railroad began filling the river bank to create additional lands. In 1958, S. Marstan Fox, for whom the park is named, began a battle to stop the filling process and turn the property over to the people of Delaware. It wasn't until the late 1970s that the land finally came under public control. Unfortunately, much of the material used to fill along the river was contaminated soil. In order to use the land as a park, it was necessary to deal with these soils. In 1990, when the property was turned over to the Division of Parks and Recreation, the process began to clean up and "remediate" the site. The remedy for the problem was to "cap" the site using an impermeable layer of thick plastic covered above and below by layers of clean fill and topsoil. This system allowed the Division to complete phase one of the process that transformed 15 acres of the property into a fully functional park. Those 15 acres have created an unusual oasis among the industrialization along the Delaware River. They are a wonderful place to escape and experience the scenic beauty of this important waterway. Amenities found on the site include paved pathways for walkers and joggers, playground facilities, pavilions, bathrooms and volleyball courts.
For information on Fox Point, its programs and fees, call the office at Bellevue State Park, 302-761-6963.
Nature's Best Bets If you are looking for fun and exciting ways to spend your spare time, why not check out the Seaside Nature Center at Cape Henlopen State Park? The Center is open 7 days a week, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will have extended hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through
September 6. The Center provides programs designed for individuals and families. A highlight of any visit is viewing the five 1000-gallon aquariums that feature different aquatic habitats. You'll be glad you took the time to explore this exciting facility!
Seining the Bay Sun., Wed., and Fri., 9-10:30 a.m. Investigate the diversity of life in the shallows of the Delaware Bay, using a 30 foot net. This hands-on program will introduce you to the organisms that inhabit our coastal waters.
Participants are encouraged to get in the water and pull nets, so you must wear closed-toed shoes during the program. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. the day of the program. Programs will begin as soon as all tickets are sold, or no later than 9:15 a.m. Maximum of six tickets per person. Limited to 30 participants. $4.00 per person.
Birding Basics Saturdays, 8-9:30 a.m. Come brush up on your birding skills. We'll take a walk through a maritime forest, coastal dunes, and to the shore to look and listen for birds. Fun for the whole family. Some binoculars and field guides available, but bring them if you have them.
Osprey Outing Sundays, 9-10:30 a.m. Bring your binoculars for an Osprey Outing. We'll learn all about ospreys, how they hunt, what they eat, and how they raise their young. Then we will journey to look at an active nest and watch the parents raising their young.
Stinging, Biting, Poisonous Sea Creatures Aug. 17, 11 a.m.-Noon Many misconceptions arise about the creatures that are and are not harmful in the bay. Come dispel the myths and learn about the creatures that do and don't carry painful stings, bites, and poisons. We'll discuss jellyfish, sea urchins, stingrays, sharks, eels, and more.
For more information, contact the Seaside Nature Center at 302-645-6852 or check out our website at www.destateparks.com.
Stephen Schilly is Park Operations Administrator for the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation. He may be reached at email@example.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 11 August 12, 2005