The chance to grab tickets for the 16th Annual Beach & Bay Cottage Tour is quickly dwindling. This year, 10 homes throughout the Bethany and Fenwick areas will be featured, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of the South Coastal Library. Each home is new to the tour and brings with it complete originality and sophistication.
“We work hard every year when the tour comes around,” said tour coordinator Joan Gordon. “There are even new sections of towns that have never been featured before, so it’s nice to be able to bring that, too.”
The tour will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, July 25 and 26, from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner will be returning as the honorary chairperson of the event.
Since its start, the tour has grown immensely in popularity, both for tourgoers and homeowners.
For Barbara Brown, living in her Georgian-style Briarcliffe home with husband, Ralph, is nothing short than a dream-come-true. After her husband recovered from a daunting heart attack, he promised her the two would make a move from their Pennsylvania home to southern Delaware, an area they’d vacationed at for more than 10 years. In September 2005, the two made the transition into what Barbara describes as her dream home.
“We don’t always agree on everything,” she said, “but we fell in love with this house right away. It’s been a blessing in disguise. We’ve been able to turn the worst of times into some of the best.”
In the past, the two spent much of their time at the beach looking through other model homes.
“I really enjoy seeing other houses,” Barbara Brown said. Originally from Chester County, Md., she would participate in a similar tradition, known as Chester County Day.
“There were 50 homes involved with that,” she said, “and it was really difficult to get through all of them in one day. Here, it’s relaxed and people can really enjoy themselves.”
She took the Beach & Bay Cottage Tour last year, which helped conjure ideas for this year as she prepares to showcase her home. “When you have all these people come through your house in two days, you have to get it looking the best it ever has.”
“It’s a great way to see different homes and neighborhoods,” she said. “I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Bold colors and the tranquil calming of the Caribbean lead to the muse in Debbie and Bruce Davis’ home in Forest Reach near Ocean View. Complete with their two cats, the true cottage home draws much inspiration from their Cayman Island timeshare, as well as aspects from the home of local artist Aubré Duncan, who participated in the tour in previous years.
“My husband and I are really drawn to attractive colors,” said Debbie Davis. “We aren’t afraid to use color.” She and her husband have taken the tour in the past, and were fervent in their agreement when asked to showcase their home.
With their house debuting in this year’s tour, Debbie Davis said she has been keeping busy, and staying anxious. “It’s all very exciting,” she said. “I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I have a mixture of emotions.”
Since preparing for the tour, she has been busy with decorating and cleaning. “I’ve had a lot of fun shopping, and it’s all for a good cause,” she said. “I’ve really been pushing to get stuff done.”
Tickets for the tour, priced at $30 each, have sold out more quickly each year it has been held, and with a limited number, participants are being encouraged to buy them before it’s too late.
They are now available at the South Coastal Library, located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany; at the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce just outside Fenwick Island; at Japanesque, Perfect Furnishings, Rose Garden and Sea Needles in Bethany; at McCabe’s South Bethany; at Carolina Street and Southern Exposure in Fenwick; and at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth. Any remaining tickets will be available for sale the day of the tour at the South Coastal Library only.
In addition to perusing the homes, tour participants will receive a tote bag with copies of ChesapeakeHome and Delaware Beach Life magazines and a program booklet.
A Dinner for Two Raffle will feature prizes at popular local restaurants, including the new Bistro at Bear Trap Dunes, DiFebo’s, Isabella’s, Mancini’s, Magnolia’s, the Oak Arbor Inn Restaurant, the Parkway Restaurant, or Sedona.
Framed artwork will also be raffled off, featuring work from local artists Aubré Duncan, Carol Dyer, Dorothy Harrison-Braun, Laura Hickman and Michael Orhelein. Art raffle tickets can be purchased now at the library or at select homes on the day of the tour for $1 each or $5 for six.
“Turnouts have been wonderful,” added Gordon, who has been quite pleased with results in the past. “The homeowners are always very enthusiastic, and everyone has a great time. We try not to disappoint anyone.”