Cottage tour ready to impress, again

Outstanding architecture, astounding landscaping, inspiring home furnishings and stunning design have all combined to make particular homes and dwellings some of the most sought-after and admired ones in the area. Next week, guests on the 19th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, to benefit the Friends of the South Coastal Library (FOSCL), will once again have the opportunity to witness it all and visit 10 exceptional homes throughout the Bethany Beach/Fenwick Island area.

“This is probably the most interesting mix of homes we’ve ever had on the tour,” said FOSCL President Faith Denault. “There is such an eclectic mix of styles and furnishings, and each home on the tour has a different feeling towards it. Tour-goers will be extremely happy with the lineup.”

The houses included in this year’s tour, which will be held on Wednesday, July 28, and Thursday, July 29, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., run the gamut, from authentic beach cottages and sophisticated models to contemporary and tranquil bayside homes.

“We have four private community homes this year that require people to be bused to,” Denault added, “but people’s patience will be well worth it.”

A limited number of tickets, priced at $30 each, were still available mid-week for the tour, which has sold out every year since 2000. Ticket holders will receive a tote bag with copies of Coastal Style, Delaware Beach Life and Going Green on Delmarva magazines, along with a program booklet and surgical booties provided by Beebe Medical Center, to be worn in all the homes.

Now in its 19th installment, this year’s tour promises another exquisite selection of homes.

“This year’s tour is shaping up well,” noted FOSCL public relations chairperson Joan Gordon. “Ticket sales have already been doing very well and, with no two homes even similar, it should be a very enjoyable event for everyone.”

Tour-goers have the option of visiting all 10 homes in one day or spreading the viewing over the two-day span. Gov. and Mrs. Jack Markell are serving as this year’s honorary chairs for the tour.

Tickets became available for in-person purchase earlier this week and can be purchased at the South Coastal Library, located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. They can also be bought at Cattails, Japanesque, Perfect Furnishings, Sea Needles and Wear It Out in Bethany, at McCabe’s Gourmet Market n South Bethany, at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, Carolina Street and the Rooster’s Nest in the Fenwick Island area, and at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, from now until the days of the tour.

Previously reserved tickets are now available for pick-up at the South Coastal Library. Any remaining tickets on the day of the tour will be available at the library only. Children younger than 12 and babies, as well as photography, are not permitted in the homes.

Two raffles that have become a tradition on the tour will be held again this year.

The Dinner for Two raffle will feature prizes at some of the area’s most popular restaurants, including the Bistro at Kool Bean, DiFebo’s Bistro at Bear Trap Dunes, DiFebo’s on 26, Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grill, The Parkway or Sedona.

The Art Raffle will also be held, featuring framed artwork now on display in the library from noted local artists, including Aubre Duncan, Tara Funk Grim, Dorothy Harrison-Braun, Laura Hickman, Tinsel Hughes and Cheryl Wisbrook.

Raffle tickets cost $1 apiece or $5 for six, and are available now at the library. They will also be sold at selected homes on the days of the tour.

While book sales help generate a few thousand dollars for the library each year, the Beach and Bay Cottage Tour has become the primary fundraiser to help support the expansion of the South Coastal Library and the Joshua M. Freeman Cultural Center.

Recent state and county budget cutbacks, attributed by the economic downturn, have hindered financial support for the library’s maintenance and expansion. This past fiscal year, state funding was cut between 5 and 10 percent, and libraries have been notified that they can expect another 5- to 10-percent cut on top of that for the 2011 fiscal year.

“This tour is our major fundraiser,” noted Gordon. “The library has been expanded, but there’s always new furniture, equipment and a stage and sound system that need to be maintained. We want to do stuff with their programs, and the tour is really shaping up to let us do that.”

“This is a very fulfilling event for all of us involved,” said Denault, “especially with the cutbacks. We have been able to help out the director and staff. It’s just great to be a part of everything.”

For additional information about the 19th Annual Beach and Bay Cottage Tour, visit or contact the Friends of the South Coastal Library at (302) 537-5828. E-mail FOSCL president Faith Denault at or Vice President Karen Taylor at to volunteer as an individual or organization for hostess duty, to direct traffic for parking or to sell tickets or advertisements.