Fenwick Island, DE

"More than a beach -- a place to call home" and "Everyday is Earth Day"

A kiss from a butterfly. (Credit: Sue Clark)

We have one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, but what really makes it special are people like the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol. If you love the beach, but find walking over the dunes is just too difficult — no worries, they’ll meet you at the dune in one of their beach jitneys and shuttle you to the perfect spot. Small towns everywhere are special, but how many have potlucks for their homeowners, bonfires and movies on the beach, or a storyteller in the park? The only church in town opens their doors to make quilts for cancer patients, knit shawls for the sick, offer free homemade meals, give away water and dog treats at the beach, and enjoy a community jam session twice a month.

This tiny town has a “yacht club” where the “yachts” are sailboats and kayaks, so competitions are more fun than fierce! Children gather in the summer at the small butterfly and town vegetable gardens to see butterflies emerge from their chrysalis, all while learning how to be nice to each other and the earth. We are nice folks, living and learning everyday to be nice to each other and our planet.

Sandy Pierce passes a bottle of water to walkers on a hot summer morning. (Credit: Janet Legates)

Stories About Fenwick Island

Handicapped citizens and their guardians are treated to parties, mini-golf, bowling, and picnics thanks to our church’s Checkerboard Group. Thousands of international students obtain visas to work in the area, but have no idea of the cost of living at the beach. Working with the church, our citizens volunteer at a help center, serve thousands of free meals, collect and restore bicycles and linens for the students. They even host a Christmas in July, where students can take a photo of themselves with Santa, pick out a gift from the mountain of donated gifts under the tree, and share a traditional Christmas dinner.

Faith, Hope, Love Quilters have made well over 10,000 tied quilts for infusion patients at the Tunnell Cancer Center. Ladies of St. Matthews By-the-Sea UMC stock a “freezer of love” with meals and sweets for any neighbor who would appreciate a homemade meal.

Early Saturday mornings, the street along the dunes is filled with joggers, walkers, bikers, and skateboarders. The local church sets up tables and coolers along the dunes giving away water and dog treats. They always bring the dogs’ favorite (Beggin Strips), as well as healthy treats for the more health-conscious pet owners.

These two never say no to snacks from their pal Brenda. (Credit: Janet Legates)

Notices of town bonfires and movies on the beach are chalked on the macadam of Bunting Avenue along the dunes. Without a boardwalk, families stroll along Bunting and Coastal Highway, enjoying ice cream or popcorn, maybe even stopping for a game of mini-golf. This is a traditional summer evening here in Fenwick. All summer long, you can arrange for a lift across the dunes from the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol. They are happy to help you enjoy the beautiful beaches here.

The Barefoot Garden Club of Fenwick Island works to educate and encourage children to be nice to our earth. We achieve this through weekly story times that blend with the ecological lesson we are exploring. Children, both those living and vacationing here, see live butterfly larvae develop and can experience releasing these butterflies into nature. Together we see butterflies collecting nectar from our butterfly garden plants and herbs. We plant and care for dill and parsley, because caterpillars love to eat them and we watch these caterpillars develop into chrysalis. Children can even take home a piece of parsley to watch the caterpillar metamorphose into a live butterfly. The small vegetable garden grows potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, and squash as well as herbs. During our last time together, we cook the vegetables so children can taste them right out of the garden! We are grateful that Fenwick Island supports our goals and allows us the space for our special gardens. At each session with the children we pledge, “Every day is Earth Day, If it’s cold or wet or hot, Pitch in to save our planet, It’s the only one we’ve got.”

A Fenwick Island local gently cradles her winged friend. (Credit: Sue Clark)