The annual Best of Delaware feature gets all the glory in each July’s issue but I’d like to think that, this year, the entire magazine presents the very best of the state.
We open with the Twin Poets, brothers Albert Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha, who in December were named Delaware’s poets laureate. Having grown up in a neighborhood now plagued by violence, they know firsthand the challenges of poverty and its effects, especially on young people. They have thus dedicated their lives to service and to their art, which they freely share as a means to improving the human condition. They now have a platform that enables them to reach all kinds of people in need. If you ever have an opportunity to see them read, do so. If you have ever felt alone in the universe, the twins’ obvious connection affirms that we are all one. Read Karen Jessee’s article here.
You may know the famous Starboard in Dewey Beach as one of the state’s premier party places, a place where hundreds of people gather every weekend of the summer to cut loose. If you’re a regular, you may know owner Steve Montgomery by the more familiar name of Monty. You may even know he tended bar there before buying the place. What you may not know is that face behind everyone’s good time is a dedicated family man whose local philanthropy is epic. Learn more in Pam George’s story here.
Surely each of us knows someone who has faced physical or mental challenges that seem, to us, insurmountable. Yet day by day they go about their lives, trying to do their best and, sometimes, defeating all odds. You can read about Ewa Okla, who was born with fixed joints that severely impaired her ability to move. With the help of physicians and therapists at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Ewa and her family have triumphed. Read how she earned her doctorate and more in Eileen Smith Dallabrida’s story here.
On my personal list of Best State Parks, Cape Henlopen shares the top spot with another favorite. The natural areas—the ocean, beaches, dunes, tidal flats and pine forest—are among the attractions, as are the natural areas of our other parks. But Cape Henlopen has something extra that makes it unique—Fort Miles. Decommissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense decades ago, it was handed over to the state piece by piece and added to the park system. As the fort was forgotten, its remains were allowed to deteriorate until the Fort Miles Historical Association formed to save it. Dozens of members now work assiduously to restore and improve what they can and to keep alive the story of the fort and its staff. See Kevin Noonan’s story here.
Then, of course, is the Best of Delaware, our annual list—260 strong—of great places to eat, shop, golf and otherwise enjoy yourself. But the real Best of Delaware is the people who make it happen, those of you who share your favorites with us year after year. We hope you’ll see your nominees, we hope you’ll visit the places on the list you don’t know (like Best Restaurant winners Big Fish Grill and The House of William & Merry) and, most of all, we hope to see you at the big Best of Delaware Party at Dover Downs on July 21. It truly is the best party in the state, if we do say so ourselves.