Martin Luther King Weekend in Delaware 2012

Last updated March 25, 2012



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Day One | Day Two

I'm usually pretty good about writing things down while they are fresh in my mind but January/February 2012 was unusually busy. Those are generally my slow months but with the warm winter, I'd been getting a lot done. So my blogging took a back seat. Hence, this little blog lacks the detail that I usually include.

My original plan for Martin Luther King weekend (January 14-16, 2012) was to go cross country skiing with Norma, Carmen, and Clark.

Why didn't we go skiing? First of all, there was no snow. Our 2011/2012 winter has been unusually warm. Folks predicted a cold winter because we had snow in late October 2011 (see Brandywine Valley) but as I have learned, weather conditions now are not necessarily a good prognosticator of weather conditions later in the season. But even without the bad weather, Carmen's cat, Zowie, had health problems so she decided to stay home in case she needed to go to the vet. Without Carmen, Clark wasn't so interested. So we canceled our cabin reservations and vowed to return during some other "more winter-like" winter.

At the last minute, Norma spoke to her interns, Gina and Susann and asked if they wanted to join us for a short weekend (just Sunday and Monday). They said yes. Having only been in the states for awhile, they wanted to see the ocean. What better time to avoid the crowds than to see the Atlantic in the winter? I had been to Ocean City but never Rehoboth Beach so that is where we decided to go.

Day One, Sunday, January 15, 2012

First, we made a stop in Annapolis. We walked around the historic downtown area and made a stop at the State Capital Building (first photo). Then, having worked up an appetite, we stopped at a buffet (whose name I forget) with a nice window view of the city.

Our main destination for the day was a little section of the Delaware Seashore State Park, just north of Bethany Beach. We were signed up for a park naturalist-led hike on the trails near Fresh Pond, an area constructed in 2007. Our meeting place was a parking lot on the east end of Hickman Road (Sussex County ADC map 35 D10).

It was sunny and cold. The wind was bitter. Fortunately, I had some extra cold-weather clothes to loan out. The hike was about 3 miles long. I'm guessing there were about 18 of us. Our guide spoke about turkey vultures and black vultures. We walked north to Beach Cove where we saw some horseshoe crab skeletons. Gina and Susann had never seen or heard of these before.

Prickly pear plants flourished in the sandy soil. There wasn't much else to see of interest and in the middle of winter, I wasn't expecting much.

We made our way north, stopping at the ocean side of Delaware Seashore State Park near Indian River Inlet. We walked along the beach, looking for shells (second photo). But it was soooooo cold out in the wind that it didn't take long before we were back in the car heading north.

The four of us checked into a motel in Rehoboth Beach, dropped off our stuff, then headed into town. We stopped for dinner at a place called Dos Locos. See third photo. After a little urban exploring, we called it a night.

Day Two, Monday, January 16, 2012

The next morning, we ate breakfast then headed to the outlet stores. Norma bought some much needed shoes because she only has about 30 pair.

Then were out walking along the ocean at Rehoboth Beach. See first photo. There was some construction going on to move eroded sand back to the beach.

I found all kinds of shells and coral.

There were big yucca plants (see second photo) on some of the small dunes between the beach and the boardwalk.

Nearby, we spotted a bright male cardinal. See third photo.

We ate lunch and Gina bought a turtle sculpture because she likes turtles and had one as a pet. She taught us that you can put them in the refrigerator in the winter to induce hiberation.

Driving north, we stopped at Gordons Pond (fourth photo) in Cape Henlopen State Park.
In the late 1600s, the pond did not exist. Instead, there was a swampy wetland known as Martin's Vineyard. Pirates roamed the Cape in those early days, and more than once raided the town of Lewes. In 1715, the land passed to Thomas Gordon and remained in this family for several generations. During this time, there was very little human activity in this area other than nearby salt works, but nature was not idle. Ocean winds and water combined to begin to form a pond here. Naturally, it was called Gordon's Pond.
It took the work of various government agencies during the 20th century to give Gordons Pond the shape it has today. Gordons Pond, now part of Cape Henlopen State Park, is an inviting place to walk or bicycle, watch the birds, and enjoy the scenery.

- from sign at park

At the pond, we walked out and back to an observation platform (fifth photo) and saw numerous waterfowl.

A stop was made in the historic town of Lewes where we walked in the tourist section and caught a bite to eat.

Returning to another section of Cape Henlopen, we stopped for a walk on the Seaside Nature Trail. This led us to an area near the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Along with numerous blue crab skeletons, I also found a whelk egg case. But I didn't figure out what it was until I got home. As the sun began to set, we saw something I had never seen before. It was a white deer. It wasn't albino as there were patches of brown on it but it was mostly white. See sixth photo. It walked with a herd of about 6 other deer. I later learned that white deer are more common where the population lacks diversity and is a result of inbreeding, but overall, they are quite rare.

We made our long drive back that night and dropped off the kids (Gina and Susann) at the Metro.

Norma and I didn't get to do any skiing that weekend but it was all good just the same. We can't fight Mother Nature. It's like my dad once told me, "Life is like a game of poker. You're dealt some cards and you just try to make the best hand you can."