We spent the weekend at home and had the opportunity to visit with Mark and Rachel Director; wonderful young adults who are the children of my oldest (in terms of years known) friends, Alan and Joanne. Mark is a Marine Captain who is scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan very soon. Rachel lives in Colorado now but she and her boyfriend, Brian, who is a forest fire fighter will be moving back to North Carolina. It was so nice to see them and especially Mark before his deployment. Please keep him in your prayers!
Then, it was off to what is normally the windiest and coldest place we camp each year; Delaware Seashore State Park on the Indian River Inlet between Dewey and Bethany Beach Delaware. Much to our delight, the weather was generally beautiful except for one day of rain. And...though really windy (as usual), it was relatively warm. So, we walked on the beach and marveled at a the huge waves; biggest we have seen on the East Coast. It was a paradise for wave riders and the ocean was littered with surfers, floating on their boards waiting for the "perfect" wave. It was pretty neat watching surfers actually selecting their ride, getting up on the crest, cutting down across the wave, actually fitting in the curl and disappearing behind a curtain of water. Whether by wave board or surf board, the view from the beach of the skilled riders was endlessly entertaining.
We also launched the kayaks for the first time in the ten years we have been coming here with the boats. On all prior years, the kayaks remained firmly anchored to the roof of the truck. This year, I was determined that, if the weather and wind were "ok", we were launching and, so we did! We went to the Indian River marina in the state park area and launched the boats into the salt marsh in the Tibbett's Island area. The marshes protected us somewhat from the still strong wind but the water was remarkably warm and though somewhat challenging, the paddling was great. The salt marshes were golden in their fall colors yet the trees on the island were still green. For the first time outside of Florida, we saw flocks of snowy egrets and blue herons perched in the trees. There were some cormorants but no geese or ducks in sight which seemed weird given that it is prime migration season.
We spent the one rainy day looking at housing communities in the Rehobeth/Lewes area including a lovely
community called Baywood with one of the most beautiful golf courses we have ever seen. Unfortunately, though we loved the house we saw and considered making an offer, it was a land lease community with provisions in the documents that were not acceptable even with negotiation. So, we looked at an "active adult" community as well called Independence; another nice location with great amenities such as an indoor and outdoor pool, fitness center and all kinds of activities but no golf course. We are still considering this one though. The tax situation in Delaware is really good and we would still be close enough to be part of our family's life.
On our last day (of freedom before returning to work and other responsibilities) the weather was warm and nice and we spent an hour or two on the beach with Dixie, had a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant in the area, Sedona, in Bethany Beach and gathered our stuff together for the trip home.
Final thoughts on the trip:
Vermont is a lovely state but the state parks need to get some electric and water services and need to stay open through Columbus Day instead of closing as of Labor Day. The Lake Champlain Islands are an overlooked gem. Who knew that there is a chain of islands almost bisecting Lake Champlain that go all the way to a point where you turn left and there's New York and if you turn right, there's the Canadian border. The homes along the lake are amazing; again who knew?
Yet the interior seems filled with old, tired towns, seemingly forgotten by time. Farming must be an incredibly hard life here but, the folks at the farmer's markets produced high quality and delicious products with a great deal of pride. It was nice to see that.
It is unfortunate that when people hear "New York", they think of the city instead of the state (though the city is undoubtedly an amazing place). New York State is one of my favorites because there is so much diversity especially outside of the cities. The St. Lawrence Seaway and Thousand Islands are amazing and a mecca for kayaking. The Finger Lakes are lovely and again, who knew that the Erie Canal travels almost the entire width of New York with a series of locks along the way? The Adironacks? Wow! I have skied, hiked and camped there many times and am always surprised at how beautiful and imposing they are. However, during the fall, the colors are breathtaking on the high peaks and the lakes that dot this region reflect the glory of the mountains painted yellow, orange and red. In the words of an old hymn, "how can I keep from singing?"
Til next year....