Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the calm before the storm.
It is a time-honored tradition to recognize this area’s “silly season” as that space on a (Coastal Point) calendar wedged between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The truth be told, it’s really not that black-and-white. While those two weekends are indeed busy for our community, there’s typically a little lull after Memorial Day until the schools get out in surrounding areas, and there is a matching lull at the end of the summer when the kids go back to school.
But, for all intents and purposes, Memorial Day weekend is still when things start to really get hopping, particularly on the weekends.
So, yeah, you have one weekend left.
Obviously, that’s an oversimplification. For starters, this weekend plans to be plenty busy, as have most of the weekends around here since Easter. The parking meters sprang back to life in Bethany earlier this week — and parking meters don’t go into action unless there is money to be had for Bethany Beach. And our local restaurants have been bustling, unless that is just their excuse to keep me from getting a table.
And I get that. Nothing can kill a room’s appetite like seeing me sitting in the same room, sweat cascading off my brow and two forks raised in the air like a gladiator waving his weapons of destruction before...
But I digress.
The new season is soon upon us, and I know that often inspires grunts and groans over the crowds coming to the beach. Traffic will take on a whole new face. Spots on the beach become premier positions. “Booty shorts” and other unfortunate fashion elements begin to dot the coastal landscape. And parking? Let’s not even talk about the parking.
I get it. I do. And there are many, many times I find myself each summer staring at the (Coastal Point) calendar hanging on the wall, mentally calculating how many weeks until Labor Day. Summer is hard here, especially if you work in the coastal area.
But, guess what? Life is hard. Wear a helmet.
Like it or not, we live in a place that other people want to spend time at, particularly in the dog days of summer. We have an ocean. Inland bays. Rivers. Walking paths. World-class produce. Restaurants and shops that far exceed what you would expect to find in a community our size. Art galleries and antique shops that make for great ways to both kill some time on vacation and improve the aesthetics of your home. And we’re within a day trip of some of the most-populated regions in the country.
People like it here. Just like you. Just like me.
And it is the true backbone of our local economy. People come here for vacation over the summer and rent lodging, beach equipment, boats, personal watercraft and more. They shop. They dine. They realize what a terrific place it is and maybe take in an open house or start searching around for a second home they can rent out in the summer until they are ready to retire or work from home in our little oasis by the shore.
That escalates our housing market, which also contributes to contractors getting more work in building or modifying homes. It adds to our municipal coffers through transfer taxes and an increased property tax base. That money stays local, and helps a shop owner pay for his or her kid to play youth sports or participate in a club or music lessons, which brings in more money to those services so they can continue to grow and improve.
Do you think your paycheck isn’t dependent on our summer visitors or new neighbors? Think again. That is often where the money comes from that your customers or clients use to pay you for your services. The more money that stays in our community, in any community, the stronger community you will have.
If you believe in taking care of home first, and I most certainly do, you have to believe in keeping home economically vibrant and sustainable.
Yes, many of us work longer and harder hours during the summer because it’s demanded of us in the summer. There are more people, so there are more people to serve. But there are only 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and that means there are largely 98 days to really “get it done.” If you have a bad summer around here as a business, well, that can affect your entire year’s bottom line.
Which can lead down a slippery slope in a hurry.
Enjoy this last week “before the storm.” Get out and spend some time on the beach, take in your favorite restaurant or just casually drive up and down Routes 26 and 54 while you can.
But embrace “the storm” when it arrives. Be patient and courteous with our guests (and potential future neighbors) and give them an experience that will fill their minds throughout the rest of the year. They’re coming because they’ve either heard good things, or they’re returning to an area they love. Let’s give them reason to return.
Hey, it’s only 98 days, according to my (Coastal Point) calendar.