Half century later Delaware Beaches get a day to enjoy

If there is such a thing as pay-back in the weather world then Thursday was it. Fifty years after a crushing nor’easter destroyed the Delaware beaches, people along the coastline got to enjoy the perfect spring day.

The great thing about the day is that it’s still winter. The gusty winds kept the temperature from actually cracking the 70 degree mark, but residents in Fenwick and Bethany savored the day knowing that changes could happen at any time.

It was the perfect day for Del DOT crews to work on the road widening project along Route 54. One member of the crew says she’ll hate it if the temperature drops into the 40’s again, so she’s taking it one day at a time.

Fenwick State Park Beach had some choppy surf, but those who chose to walk in the sand weren’t complaining. Tammy Grant of Minnesota was celebrating her birthday with Dawn Kress of Baltimore. “We are going on every beach we can today. I just love it. We just don’t have this in Minnesota,” Grant said.

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For Ron and Louise of Ocean View, it was a chance to give Max the run of the place. Their dog is banned from the beach after May 1.

It was also a chance to reflect on what happened 50 years ago. They have friends who remember the storm of ’62, and they found it remarkable that the weather could be so beautiful today.

Lori Smyth doesn’t remember the nor’easter back then, but her family does. They ran the Blue Surf motel. There is a plaque on the Bethany Beach boardwalk showing the devastation of that time. The motel was the only structure that survived. It was eventually torn down nearly three-years ago. Smythe and her husband now operate Tide Pool, Toys, and Games, which is one of the shops built on the site.

“We are going into our second summer,” she said. “We love days like today because it adds to the year round nature of the Delaware beaches.”

So while newspapers are filled with stories of 50-years ago, it’s probably worth remembering the snap shots of this day. Because when you click on the boardwalk cam from the Coastal Point newspaper or check that forecast from NBC 10 , chances are it will be a stark reality to March 8th.   At least for a few more days.

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