Beach Shopping: Never Leave the Beach Behind

Never leave the beach behind. Memories can last as long as a locally made bottle of wine or a unique piece of jewelry. The shopping starts here.




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Shoppers can bring the beach home with pieces designed by Alice H. Klein, who is inspired by colors of the ocean.
photograph by Rob Nicholson


The end of the traditional three-month beach season may be upon us, but that doesn’t mean the memories of the sand and surf have to stay behind. Take a reminder of the summer season with you. There are ways to do that without grabbing a shot glass with “Dewey Beach” screened onto it or another oversized towel. From food to art to creations made from beach materials, there are many finds worth taking home.

Jewelry designer Alice H. Klein finds the inspiration for her imaginative pieces in the colors that paint the coast in the fall. Her rose gold settings are the salmon of an autumn sunset. And the hues of the stones she uses—garnet, citrine and topaz—are the same ones in the wild grasses, changing foliage and frothing surf. “Being at the beach is inspiring,” Klein says. “Some of these colors remind me of driving down the highway in the fall.”

Her muse has done its work. The pieces she creates are one of a kind. Each is handmade over a two-week period. Each features metals and stones that most other designers don’t traditionally favor. There’s rose gold, yellow gold, sterling silver and even green gold—an alloy of the yellow- and white-hued metal. Klein pairs semiprecious stones such as blue sapphire and peridot with Swarovski crystals, pearls and colored cubic zirconia. The results are inventive. Swoops of gold wire make a necklace, layers of dropped pearls make earrings, and a pink sapphire becomes the focus in a yellow gold band.

“I really admire the work done by [Henri] Matisse,” Klein says. “I try to replicate that in my pieces. It looks like it’s done quickly, but when you look at it closely, it’s more intricate, and you can see that it really took a long time.”

Most of Klein’s pieces end up on display at her store, Alice H. Klein TKO Designs (

100 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany

Beach, 539-6992). But other pieces are designed with specific customers in mind. The process often starts with a request from someone who wants a stone set. It may have been a piece that a grandmother left behind, or a stone that’s worked free of its setting. Sometimes the client just wants a new look for an old piece. Klein draws several designs, then, after the client has chosen one, makes the molds. Finally, she casts the concept, creating an heirloom piece.

“There are lots of people who have inherited a ring, but it’s just not in a setting that they would wear,” she says. “This way, they can enjoy the piece and still have the sentimental value of the stones.”

Of course, Klein’s pieces aren’t the only ones that reflect the beach. There are also the seaglass necklaces at Journeys (117 Second St., Lewes, 645-1475). The pieces, created by owner Roni LaVache, are made from sea glass that washes up on the beach. The clear, green and blue shards are wrapped in either sterling silver or copper wire. From their place around a neck, they make stunning conversation starters.

Shoppers don’t have to take their beach memories home in the form of jewelry. They can also take works of art that will dress up their home, crafted by the hands of beach artists such as Jessica Clark. Clark is co-owner of iLand Art Gallery (

205 Coastal Hwy.

, Fenwick Island, 539-0800). If you go, don’t let her hide behind other artists’ work. Each of her pieces has a story to tell. And if you’re lucky enough to catch her during a slow time at the shop, Clark might share the story with you. Some are the result of her travels. Others tell of her struggle for personal growth. And others, like Sunshine Frosting, a painting made entirely without brushes, hint at what she’s been able to accomplish—professionally and personally. The store also carries note cards printed with her paintings. Each is distinct. “They don’t have a common thread. Some are impressionistic. Some are modern. And watercolors are very detailed,” she says. “But they are all pretty colorful and bright.”

For those who are looking to take a more specific vision of the beach home, there are the artists at Sea Crest Gift and Gallery (

99 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany

Beach, 539-76221). The store is home to the digital photo illustrations by Robert Kirk, which capture the color and life along Delaware’s beaches. The store also carries paintings by Abraxas Hudson, which burst with the light and detail he sees in Sussex County. Other local artists create stark images of watch towers at Cape Henlopen State Park or the excitement of an evening at Rehoboth Beach’s Funland.

Much of the food at the Seaside Country Store (

1208 Coastal Hwy.

, Fenwick Island, 539-6110) has become part of Delaware beach culture. There are the preserves, which are made from an old family recipe and canned especially for the Country Store. There’s the cheese, which comes in seven varieties, and of course, has been passed on from one generation of owners to another. But the item shoppers can’t leave without is the homemade fudge, which keeps owner Stephen Vickers hopping most of the summer.

Vickers and his team spend 12 to 16 hours a day making fudge. “We start making it as early as 5 in the morning,” he says. Each batch of the stuff takes 2½ hours to perfect. The store can produce as much as eight batches—400 pounds—in a single day. And there’s a reason they make so much of it: It’s good. And, fortunately, it can weather a drive back up north. If the fudge is kept in a cool, dry place—no small challenge during a two-hour car ride—it can be enjoyed at home.

Missing out on the brews from Dogfish Head (320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-2739; 703 Chestnut St., Milton, 684-1000) would be a crime. Visitors can pick up kegs, six packs, half-gallon bottles, spirits and all the merchandise ever needed at either the pub in Rehoboth Beach or the brewery in Milton.

For oenophiles who have made the beach their summer home, Nassau Valley Vineyards

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