Gifts of the sea

September 2, 2014
Enjoying a moment on the beach are (l-r) Lisa Graff, Martin Larrett, Shelagh Larrett, and Ray Graff. SOURCE SUBMITTED

I was fortunate to buy a vacation home in Lewes years ago, and houseguests used to ask me if I thought our coastal towns would lose their magic after I retired here. The answer is a resounding NO. Friends from London are here now and have enjoyed the Lewes trolley tour, the shops on Second Street, and walking the labyrinth at St. Peter’s Church. They were wowed by the pastries and bangers at The Buttery, and we strolled along the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park with Gracie who didn’t mind sand between her toes or the taste of salt water.  An evening sunset cruise on the Cape Water Taxi provided scenic views of the marsh, herons and a stellar sunset too.

In contrast with Lewes charm, we took them to Rehoboth Beach on a breezy summer night. First stop to the lobby of the Boardwalk Plaza to meet the  23-year-old African grey parrot named Peanut and the multicolored sun conure called Emro. Hostess PJ suggested we order the house specialty, an English Rose martini, as she seated us on the verandah in view of the ocean.  We could watch smiling families, joggers and walkers with ice cream cones in hand! Martin had to take a picture of a flock of seagulls suspended in midair hoping for a French fry. Shelagh lined up to purchase Fisher’s popcorn and we ate warm handfuls while we walked past Nicola Pizza and pointed out the famous Thrasher’s. Martin had to try some peanut butter frozen custard from Kohr’s - “Heaven on earth,” he says.

My guests seemed to enjoy my screened-in porch as much as any site. Martin took numerous pictures of cardinals and blue jays perched either on or in the bath - two birds they don’t see in the UK.

He purchased a signed copy of Kevin Fleming’s book “Wild Delmarva,” which he called “Marvelous!” Shelagh bought many bits and pieces, as the Brits would say!

Visitors can remind us how lucky we are to live by the sea where restaurants serve local produce and provide superior service.  My husband and I are regulars at Fish On, where we know the staff by name. We always hoped to run into Matt Haley because we wanted to thank him, not just for the cuisine but for hiring the best people - the kind who make you feel welcome as soon as you walk in the door.  Matt Haley could be described in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift From the Sea.” She writes, “I want to live in grace as much as possible…in inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated to outward harmony. May the outward and inward man be one!” To Matt, the humanitarian, we thank you for your gifts to all of us.

I owe my readers an apology. It seems that no mail has gotten through to me for the past several months while I badgered you for not writing. So if you wrote to me, please try again at and tell me where do you take your house guests when they visit you?