Seven years ago I found myself in a marshland over night, and fell in love.
I was staying with my wife’s family at a house in Delaware. Over the last 25 years they have been gracious enough to let me stay with them at beach rentals every summer, starting down at Dewey Beach on the Atlantic coast of Delaware. Gradually we moved up through Rehoboth, and as that city grew increasingly crowded we continued up to Lewes. Lewes was nice enough, but after staying there for five or so years my in-laws decided to try a new place: Broadkill Beach.
My wife and I arrived seven years ago with our 3-year-old son in tow. He was sick, and rapidly infecting us with whatever he had. We couldn’t sleep, couldn’t get comfortable, and were in the middle of nowhere. The outcome could have been terrible, but turned out to be just the opposite.
It’s hard to adequately describe the serenity of the area. Broadkill Beach isn’t a proper town. It’s a community of houses along a single road that runs parallel to the beach. There is one store, the Broadkill General Store, and that’s it. The beach itself is just inside Delaware Bay, so the water is more calm than at those other towns along the ocean. On the other side of the road, behind the houses, you have miles of untouched wetlands in every direction. This is the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Nobody knows about Broadkill because it’s tucked away behind the Wildlife Refuge, and a half hour removed from the entertainment offered by Rehoboth.
I’ve been meditating regularly for years now, and realized that just sitting on the upstairs balcony, listening to the breeze sweeping across the wetlands, and the gentle sound of the waves, left me feeling as refreshed as active meditation. At Rehoboth you can find yourself fighting for a space on the beach during the busy times, but even on July 4th weekend the beach at Broadkill remains virtually empty. Miles of beach to fill with the residents of just a couple hundred houses…that math results in basically a private beach.
After just a few days I knew I would one day own property there. I wanted to wake to see the sunrise uninterrupted by human constructions, and see the stars and constellations of the night sky–none of which are visible at home due to light pollution. Now that dream is coming true, sort of.
You see, when it was just a personal dream it was nice, but seemed a bit unnecessary or self centered. However, in the last 12 months we at RDSP rented a luxury resort for two writers’ retreats, and the thought was planted that perhaps we should take things to the next level. We began to think in terms of a permanent writers’ retreat. What better location than at Broadkill Beach?
During this last summer we spent months on scouting expeditions to find just the right location. We needed a place that could accommodate multiple authors, be secluded yet have easy beach access, with appealing amenities, not to mention be something our team of investors could manage. The house we settled on is unique even among the eclectic beach houses that have built up here and there over the last century at Broadkill.
For one thing, it is at ground level making it accessible to everyone, opposed to most of the Broadkill homes which are on stilts. The rooftop cupola provides a unique place to write, away from distractions or noise, with 360 degree views out over the landscape. The kitchen is equipped with a massive industrial stove top and ovens from a 1960s diner. The spacious custom outdoor shower, referred to by the previous owner as a “bathhouse” due to its size, can handle any needs after beach excursions. And there is so much more! Custom built in bookcases, custom shelving in the master bedroom closet, all seasons room, etc.
Now, after several more months negotiation, our team has finally closed on the house. There will be constant news pertaining to the Broadkill Writers’ Resort in coming days, including the scholarship for writers to attend free of charge, house upgrades especially for the needs of authors, and more. We have a mailing list so you can keep up with all the updates as they happen over at the Broadkill Resort site.
This will be an ongoing endeavor, for both individuals and groups, plus workshops with writing and editing coaches, all in a pristine shoreline environment. A stay at Broadkill offers more than just the beach, though. Below are details about the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, and three nearby towns that offer entertainment and necessities…
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is a 10,144 acre refuge officially established in 1963 to provide protection for threatened and endangered species, as well as many neo-tropical migrating bird species. Prime Hook’s habitat features include salt marsh, freshwater marsh, ponds and impoundments, wooded swamps and upland grasslands and forest. Hundreds of native plant and animal species thrive in this mosaic of these diverse cover types that provide habitat for 308 species of birds, 51 species of fish, 45 species of reptiles and amphibians, 37 species of mammals, and an array of rare insect and plant species.
The closest town, Milton, is only a 10 minute drive away and is full of shops and restaurants. Established in 1672, and operating under several names until 1807 when it was renamed after English poet John Milton, this old ship building community has a historic district full of restored Colonial and Victorian houses, ranging from Gothics with turrets to those with peaked roofs trimmed with gingerbread lace molding.
Further down Route 1, about 20 minutes from Broadkill, is Lewes, a quaint seaside community known for specialty shops, historic buildings, advanced health facilities, and its own beach. Continuing south on Route 1 30 minutes from Broadkill you next come to Rehoboth, a large beach vacation destination with a boardwalk and more shopping and entertainment options than you could take in during a week’s stay.