A cottage at the Delaware shore can offer a holiday reprieve from the bustle of the city, a summer getaway spot filled with tranquility and relaxation or a home for someone year-round. Southeastern Sussex County has become one of the most sought-after home locations along the Mid-Atlantic seaboard, and these houses that have become home, or home away from home, for many will once again be on display next week, as the Friends of the South Coastal Library (FOSCL) present the 21st Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour.
On Wednesday, July 25, and Thursday, July 26, 10 houses throughout Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach and the surrounding coastal region will be featured during the tour, offering a rare glimpse inside of some of the most spectacular cottages and beach houses in the area.
“People plan their visits to the beach around this week every year,” said Kathy Green, who is co-chair of the event, along with Karen Taylor. “Everyone involved has so much fun. The tour really gives them a better idea of the area. We always hear people tell us they never knew these homes were here.”
Eye-catching exteriors lead to lavish, unique and stylish interiors throughout the homes and paint the picture of how homeowners spend their time at the shore, whether it’s a vacation getaway, a second home or an everyday residence.
This year, styles from some of the region’s popular interior decorators will be on display, including Leslie Bixler, proprietor of White Orchid Interiors in Ocean View, and Connie Brittell, ASID, an interior designer and owner of Dovetail Interior Architecture and design. From homes with canine salons to lavish dining rooms and kitchenettes, from New England-style layouts to European decor, this year’s mix of 10 homes offers quite a range.
“There are so many different styles,” said Taylor, “and each one is unique and wonderful in their own way. It makes you want to move right in. Some of these are beach homes, and others are homes at the beach. People are really interested in seeing how others live down here. There are so many ways to make a home comfortable in this environment.”
And it’s not just women who enjoy the event.
“There are a lot of men who come out for the tour,” Green added. “They’re out there with notebooks, getting ideas and taking it all in.”
The Beach & Bay Cottage Tour began as one of the main attractions to garner funds for the Capital Campaign of the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach. When it became apparent that funding for the library from Sussex County was limited, FOSCL introduced the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour as a way to support the community’s resources at the local library while also bringing exposure to the attractive homes in the area.
Last year, the tour raised nearly $88,000, and Green and Taylor are hoping for another great turnout this upcoming week.
A task of this magnitude doesn’t get done single-handedly, though. Between 300 and 400 volunteers donate their time to help the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour run smoothly each year. A variety of service groups, homeowners associations and local organizations also pitch in their volunteer efforts.
Tickets for the Beach & Bay Cottage tour are limited, so those who would like to experience the event are being encouraged to act quickly. Tickets, priced at $30 apiece, can be purchased at the South Coastal Library, located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. Tickets purchased in advance can now be picked up at the library during regular hours, along with the tour guide books and tote bags. Babies and children younger than 12 are not permitted on the tour.
In addition, the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour will once again host their art raffle and dinner raffle, featuring talented artists and acclaimed restaurants throughout the area. Tickets for the raffles cost $1 apiece or $5 for six and are available for purchase at the South Coastal Library and at select homes during the tour. Winners in the dinner raffle will receive dinner for two at one of five local restaurants, while art raffle winners will take home one of six coastal-themed works donated by this year’s featured artists.
For additional information about the event, visit www.beachandbaycottagetour.com or stop by the South Coastal Library for tour tickets. For more information about the Friends of the South Coastal Library, check out www.FOSCL.com.