Whether she’s making Manhattans at Big Fish or just pulling beers, to bartender Michele Smith, everyone is a regular. A small group of bartenders and servers were waiting around the bar at Big Fish in Rehoboth. Not really hanging out, more like checking in. The beach restaurant usually has a line outside prior to opening and, for as much anticipation as people have to come in there was a proportionate amount on the inside among the staff. The bartenders and servers were checking in with Michele Smith, who had the evening off but still carries the kind of quiet authority that comes with 17 years behind the bar. Colleagues peppered her with “hellos” and “what are you going heres” but mostly they wanted to know whether she thought Gary was bringing macadamia nut cookies. Some regulars bring her the occasional gift, but on Thursdays Gary could be counted upon to
It might be difficult to believe, but even when a person is taking advantage of all the best a beach weekend or vacation has to offer, they still are missing out on a depth of experience that relies on storytelling. A lot of times, people are afraid to take a chance beyond the “traditional” beach experiences. People come to the beach, hit a boardwalk or two, have the ice cream or french fries that they have deemed the only one worth trying at the beach, but then what? What makes a vacation really memorable is the story that goes with it, not just a list of things that everyone does at the beach. The narrative makes a trip cogent and that begins with the will to just go out and take a chance. The appeal of a good, “What I did this summer story” is a little bit about exclusivity.
Walking through the stables at the Wicomico Equestrian Center at Winterplace Park, it’s easy still to get a sense of the old grandeur—lantern chandeliers light the halls and separate lines of stalls set in rich wood and cast iron bars. What’s less easy to get, is a sense of the transformation imposed on the once-great barn by the nonprofit Wicomico Equestrian Center board and membership. In the heady 1980s, the center was an absolute palace. Originally built as a monument to the upscale equestrian set, the 81-acre park boasted the finest barns, the most state-of-the-art facilities, and even a wading pool for horse relaxation and rehabilitation during events. Eventually, though, the park fell upon hard times and its glory faded. With the exception of the occasional stall rental, which did more damage than revenue production, the park fell into disuse and disrepair. Meanwhile, Rand Thaw and some other members of