Monday, December 11, 2017

When it's not all about "Saving Time" but perhaps about the "Things That Matter"

I'm stuck at a crossroads, attempting to merge skillfully into the next levels of automation and technology - and hanging back a bit, not quite ready to admit that losing personal interactions and connections is the best idea. While many folks have pointed out the breakdowns of society which could be resulting from such "progress", it's continually a tempting goal of our it seems to save time and make less effort....and inside my head, a small voice keeps telling me we are headed for trouble. I realize that social media networks are incredible, and sure, we're hinged together now in ways never conceived before. The goals of efficiency and time-saving, spending fewer minutes away from home and reducing our need to speak to one another, are a huge focus in today's world. A giant, MEGA-SIZED focus. And I know what "they" say; folks have more on their schedules than they did decades ago; how we're more in tune with what's happening than ever before; parents need to cut down on the amount of hours they spend shopping instead of heading home after work; that time is precious. And it is precious indeed. But are we better for losing the social connections of being in a local business and running into the neighbor down the street, or chatting with the independent business owner who supports so many fundraisers which take place in the community? On the second point, if we DON'T support that small business owner by purchasing from their shop, how will they remain IN business to be able to offer that community support?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 25th is Small Business Saturday on Delmarva

I believe in small business and supporting the locally-owned shops, restaurants and service companies in our area. "Small Business Saturday on Delmarva" was launched to tell everyone about some of the wonderful small towns hosting celebrations that day. Visit the event on Facebook here. Join us in promoting the events and celebrations which will be taking place across Delaware and the eastern shore counties of Maryland and Virginia. Post your community activities and downtown or Main Street events for November 25th! We're following Small Business Saturday on all the social networks, offering marketing tips for retailers and sharing your local events. Don't forget to invite your friends to come out and share in supporting this celebration of locally-owned businesses here on Delmarva!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Vintage Halloween Images & Greetings

Images of Halloween from years gone by (and a few snuck in there that I thought were just plain funny). I couldn't believe the array of artwork I found upon Googling "vintage Halloween greeting cards"! Had no idea it was once such a popular holiday with elaborate drawings full of details and fun, and of course the advertisements are wonderful. I hope you enjoy looking at this unusual, slightly strange and eclectic collection!

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Lorton Reformatory in Fairfax County | "Changes in Lorton, Virginia"

I took these photos just about two years ago, on a cool afternoon in late October. These photos aren't great, as they were taken on a previous-generation cell phone, but but I hope they are able to convey at least a small hint of the beauty found on this property. I titled this picture "What Was", as the fading light turned skies over the former barn to shades of peach and orange. It's evolving into a new stage of life as the complex nears the completion of it's transition into a place of inspiration, art, history and culture.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beach Towns of Delmarva: Sights & Signs of Fenwick Island, Delaware (part II)

The town of Fenwick Island is nestled along the Delaware coastline, just north of Ocean City, Maryland. A small town with a big presence, this quiet little place is a favorite of countless visitors and summertime guests. While it is home to only about 200 year-round residents, during the warmer months people from all over flock to the charm of a coastal community by the sea. This is the second set of images I'm posting, just casual snapshots of familiar places and area businesses. You may have seen some before, some might be new to you and I've tried to include the name and website (and/or Facebook page) of the business if possible. To see the first part of Fenwick Island, Delaware click here and check out the links at the end of this post to see more of our beautiful Delmarva Peninsula.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Delmarva Peninsula News and Information (DE and the Eastern Shore Areas of MD & VA)

Directory of news, information and resources for the 13 counties which make up the Delmarva Peninsula. Technically, the term "Delmarva" refers to an area located along the east coast which includes the eastern shore portions of both Maryland and Virginia, along with the entire state of Delaware. The peninsula is bordered by water on three sides by the the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware River, Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Note: many of these links marked "FB" are to the Facebook pages of various sites.







Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Made in America | Manufacturing Day '17 is October 6th

This Friday, October 6th, will mark the sixth annual Manufacturing Day across America. I'm passionate about jobs, our economy and products which are made locally, so I was eager to see what would be listed here on the Delmarva Peninsula. Manufacturing Day was created in 2012 by Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, a founding partner of the National Association of Manufacturing, and recognizes the businesses which produce goods in each state. From airplane interiors to food processing, clothing and modular homes to government contracting agencies such as Northrop Grumman, seafood and more are all encouraged to participate.

It's described as "an annual celebration of modern manufacturing during which manufacturers invite their communities - including students, educators, business people, media, and politicians - to their facilities in a collective effort to educate visitors about manufacturing career opportunities and improve public perceptions of manufacturing". The event has grown each year since it's launch in 2012. Here's the top portion of the infographic from (since it's long I encourage you to visit the website to download and view it).

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Vintage Images from Coastal Delmarva | Fenwick Island, Delaware (Part Two)

These are old postcards and/or vintage advertising which I don't believe were included on the first blog post for images of Fenwick Island, DE. Located just steps away from the Maryland beach town of Ocean City, and nestled on the coastline by the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Fenwick Island is loved by many and holds a special place in the hearts of countless visitors, guests, tourists and residents.

Libby's Restaurant closed (maybe around 2000 or a little before?) but the place stuck with me and I was pleased to find a few old postcards at various shops and flea markets.
I always wondered what happened to the horse statue that was out front.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Maryland Landmark for Over 100 Years | the Ocean City Fishing Pier

The pier has been part of my life for decades. It's familiar and comforting, a landmark and a location that makes me feel I'm home again. First enjoyed as a child during occasional visits to the Maryland coastline, I now cherish the opportunities to go photograph it, stroll on the sightseeing portion and take in the stunning views of Ocean City - after all, as the sign says, "Ocean City's best spectator view - Only 50 cents". It is beloved by many and as with most local landmarks, it has history and evolution spanning decades of beach vacations, visitors and summers. Beat up and damaged by numerous storms, the town continues to rebuild it after each nor'easter or hurricane sweeps along the coastline with high waves and angry seas that pummel the structure.

Friday, September 1, 2017

"The Things in Life That Matter" | Dumser's Dairyland, an Ocean City icon

I wrote this several weeks after the news stories began chronicling the issues surrounding the southern boardwalk location of Dumser's Dairyland. It's complicated and so I will just refer you here to the newly created group on Facebook, titled "SAVE DUMSER'S ON THE INLET AND NATHAN'S BUILDING IN OCEAN CITY, MD". See the end of this post for links and additional photos.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

And then just like that, here it is, the last day of August

I don't know where it went and I'm not sure how the days and weeks of this summer somehow, magically I suppose, shrank themselves into just a brief description of blazing hot beach days and sweltering nights on the boardwalk, melting, dripping ice cream cones and streets that turned into wavy, shimmering lines if you stared at them for long. I don't know how the days and nights between the landmarks which traditionally define summer seasons of Memorial Day until Labor Day, and I'm not sure how for one season they can stretch so long and then the next year, vanish and fade like a mirage.......

Monday, August 28, 2017

We Deserve Better from our Health Care Professionals

I'm so angry right now. We just returned home from the walk-in clinic following three days of the other half dragging around the house lethargically, appearing possibly dehydrated and with a history of his health issues as well as parents on both sides having compromised kidney function, I thought we deserved more than to be treated like a pair of idiots. Which, since we are not, made me want to leave there and drive straight over to the hospital with which the clinic is affiliated with, and DEMAND to be seen in their emergency room because something I believe something IS wrong. But you know, the last thing you want to do when you are feeling awful is to stand up for yourself....and so we came home with nothing. No validation of the words we said; no empathy for how similar these symptoms seem to mirror a previous health issue. Not a blink of an eye when we tried to explain a specific concern, topped off by being interrupted by this so-called professional as I tried to speak......

Friday, August 4, 2017

Losing One of the Great Loves of My Life | It's Almost Three Years Later and.....

"Damn it" I muttered under my breath as the car plowed to a halt. I was in that grey zone between too-close-to-stop and dashing-through-an-obviously-red-light and the frustration of being unable to control even this aspect of the day grated on my nerves. I fumed over something else, which like so many instances before today kept appearing to be totally and completely out of my control. I was headed to the bank, with a check just written lying on the seat beside me, which displayed a date of more than two years since I'd said goodbye. Technically speaking, the numbers indicated that it was coming up on THREE years and yet despite searching high and low, far and wide and everywhere else in between, the place for me in the world that so many had mentioned, is nowhere in sight.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Directory of Clip Art, Photo Editors and Sign Generators (Part I)

The following list includes some of the best sites I have found online. Each of them I've explored and used, found helpful and believe are worth passing along to you. While almost all are free, to gain use of the larger images and better quality features there may be an upgrade required. Still, for the amount of creativity and inspiration you can find, even the no charge options are pretty good. From icons and buttons, to map generators and photo editors, creating professional-looking images can really spruce up the visual presentation of your website or blog. Explore catchy ways to post tips or reminders (that you might use in an online group), help readers navigate content more easily (and give your site a clean look), or just have fun with creative options for color palettes, photograph enhancement or visual creations. See Part II @ Directory of Image Generators, Free Clip Art and Visual Design Resources.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sometimes We Struggle - Yet Sometimes We FLY

10:54AM. That’s what time it was before I looked at the tiny clock in the corner of my laptop screen and realized it was well past the “I’m just going to get online for a few minutes and update my pages” zone. I wasn’t even wasting time playing on Pinterest or Googling craft ideas or fabulous vacation homes; but WRITING (yes, using real words…. the kind which when assembled together correctly , create complete and well-defined sentences).

I added my thoughts to a blog post discussing the value of spending locally, replied to comments about small business and shared concise directions for a marketing technique I’d created. Seeing the announcement for an upcoming event, I summarized and wrote an invitation for a select group of individuals, updated my client’s social sites and researched a topic online - and all this without having to backspace sixteen times to reformat what was in my brain. I was ON IT, humming along and cranking tasks out - because the all too familiar sense of “being stuck on what to do or say” hadn’t yet surfaced and for a little while I was free. Free from the baggage which often weighs me down; unencumbered by the weight of struggle and the repetition of having to go back over; re-write and edit. It was all falling into place for me as I soared above the usual constraints and limits I’ve come to know, as I flew high above such petty roadblocks and instead created statements and summaries and concepts with meaning. Lasting only a few hours, it was as if I’d found my way into a world of magic, and in that time I rose above the challenges which generally ground me so often.

I’m all too familiar with struggling so often, fighting to stay focused and searching endlessly for the right things to say or write. I grasp for fleeting moments of productivity which fly by so quickly, wishing I could catch those bright spots in a day and somehow keep and hold onto them. I LIVE for the times in life which aren’t so painfully difficult, thinking perhaps that “success” is a temporary experience for me, and that I’m not privileged to reach it as often as others. To find that such achievements are within one’s reach I mused, on a regular basis, maybe even simply whenever one wanted to be productive - well, I can’t imagine what that could feel like.

No one has ever shared with me that they fight constantly, or how rare the moments of magic happen for them, and thus I’ve come to assume that for regular people the struggle which overshadows my life isn’t present in theirs. Reluctantly, I’ve come to accept that I’m different; to know that a process which may take you an hour to complete may well involve eight hours of challenges for me. Planning ahead and building in extra time, consistently having excuses to use when running hopelessly late on a project; those tools have become part of my life and how I operate, since it’s never clear when I’ll hit the sweet spot and fly. But today….today something clicked and connected…, if only for a short time, I flew.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

"Classic Trucks and Vintage Advertising" | Vehicles at the Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Show

These beautiful old trucks were on display at the Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Association Show held annually in Easton, Maryland. The show, which is hosted by the Tuckahoe Gas & Steam Association each July, features an incredible array of farm equipment and history, steam engines, tractors, antique trucks and vehicles, along with demonstrations of the machines and pulling competitions. Check out the links at the bottom of this post for more on the show!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Signs of Ocean City, Maryland, Part III

Welcome to MORE signs, logos, locally-owned businesses from Maryland's favorite summer time beach town. Already posted in Signs of OC, Part I are: English's, Kohr Bros, Rick's Market, Jonah and the Whale Buffet, Layton's restaurants, General's Kitchen, Nicks Pancake House, Cowboy Coast, Plim Plaza, Yummy Sweet Shop, the Fractured Prune and King Kone.

Signs of OC, Part II included the Oceanic pier, Anthony's Deli, Billy's Subs & Pizza, the Sahara Cafe, M.R. Ducks, Justine's Ice Cream, the Princess Royale Oceanfront and the Cabana motel.

Fisher's Popcorn is a tough name to say - without in your mind, quickly conjuring up images of sticky-sweet caramel popcorn, freshly cooked and best enjoyed while strolling down the boards. For that reason this iconic favorite became the first local business to be included here in part three.

Boardwalk location near 2nd Street, taken August '15
Up close at the counter.... can almost taste the golden crunchiness.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ocean City, MD "Things That Aren't There Anymore" | Attractions and Places that are Gone

This blog post is about businesses, places and attractions of days gone by in the coastal resort town of Ocean City. I needed a place to put all this stuff as it happens so I don't forget it, and while there's only a few entries now I will be adding more photos and info in the future.

Most recently was the demolition of the 94th Street Mall.

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A last look at the downtown English's location after closing several years ago. It's been renovated and is now a different restaurant, however the familiar names and simple brown structures that once dotted the streets are fading from the town.

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January 10th, 2018: This Facebook post on Trimper's Haunted House - Ocean City, MD shared the news that the Aladdin statue had departed from the amusement park. (Photo credit Trimper's Haunted House Facebook page).

"BREAKING: Aladdin has left the building. After over 40 years as a staple of Trimper's Rides, the Aladdin's Lamp funhouse (Salem Aleikum) has been permanently retired. Installed around 1975, the Arabian Nights-themed funhouse, complete with a genie who bowed his head from his seat atop the ride's entrance, offered a variety of dark corridors, floor obstacles, a maze, and illusions that made anyone proceed with caution and a sense of intrigue. Another one for the memory book, folks." More information on the website

News Article: "Trimper's: Losing the lamp, but maintaining the magic"

Follow Trimper's Rides on Facebook here.

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Remember J/R's, "The place for ribs?" It was an Ocean City favorite and beloved destination for than forty years.

There were two locations in OC, one at 140th street and the other at 62nd street, right as you would come off of the Route 90 bridge. (this postcard shows one in Rehoboth as well but that must have been before my time)

I took this in 2014 at the 62nd street location. It was the second one to close with the final season being summer 2015.

This is a photo of the North OC restaurant as it morphed into the Tokyo Crab House & Buffet in the spring of 2016.

Sadly, the 62nd Street building sat empty for almost two years. Here was the rental listing

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Info via Wayne Cannon:

"I would say that the Lagoon was there in the latter 1940's and through the 50's. The original Embers was on 9th Street and Boardwalk or just down the street from it. Sam and Irv Taustin opened that in the latter 50's. They would leave that area and move to where they are now and incorporate the Lagoon in their new Embers Restaurant."

"The Lagoon Restaurant was located where the current Embers Restaurant is located on 23-24th Street on the Bay. When it was the Lagoon it was owned by Dick and "Iggy" Hall and it was one of the first upscale, sit down restaurants in OC. The Taustin's bought the restaurant and property and built the Embers. The Lagoon was incorporated into the building of the Embers."

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follow me on social channels as #delmarvausa || community advocate; localist; artist at #AlteredArt, consultant at Next Level Marketing || Life on Delmarva

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Vintage Del-Mar-Va" | Old Postcards, Images and History of the Delmarva Peninsula

The term "Del-Mar-Va" was born from the land which encompasses three states and nine counties along the east coast. This distinctive area includes the eastern shore counties of Maryland and Virginia along with the state of Delaware, and the hyphenated portions of each name made up it's original title. The peninsula is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware River, Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Importance of Supporting Local Family Farms

Do you believe in supporting locally-owned and operated farms? I think there is something amazing about pulling off the road where a small produce stand is located, perhaps just a basic table with a canopy over it, or sometimes a fancy set up with a wagon and portable display. I always find myself sort of eying up the person who may be present - I wonder if they are REALLY the owner, the operator of the farm, a family member maybe. Does it really matter? I guess not....technically, but part of me is always sort of in awe at the fruits of their labor, gawking a bit at the sweeping fields stretched out behind the stand and admiring the barns and farming equipment that dot the landscape. Not in the sort of way that I think they are so different or strange, but more with the sense of WOW....a real third or fifth generation farm family STILL lives here, continues to make their living, remains a part of this place where their blood and roots and ties run deep.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

News Flash for Small Business Owners: It's not all about You

Why does it seem so difficult for people to reciprocate? What makes some folks happy to enjoy the benefits of your loyalty, perhaps by supporting their local restaurant or shop or service business - yet they cannot be bothered to reach out of their own self/shell/selfishness? - and do the same. As far as small business owners go, isn't there power in numbers? Don't we gain more by all working together?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Franchise is not the same as a Mom and Pop, Locally-owned, Small Business

My heart is breaking a little bit right now as I write this, not only because I'm a little different and thus am perceiving this situation in an unusual way, but because I believe I'm onto something which concerns me. While I don't think many will comment and react and agree, a foreshadowing of the future is staring us down right now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Visiting Delmarva • the town of Milford, Delaware (Sussex County)

Located in the First State, Milford spreads across the edges of two counties, Kent and Sussex. It's charming downtown areas, small shops and locally-owned businesses make this an attractive area to spend a day or afternoon. There is a great museum that was at one time the post office, and the detail of the building is pretty interesting, as are the exhibits inside. You may be surprised to learn that throughout the years, Milford has been home to some exciting discoveries and inventions.

Vintage postcard of the post office - see
further down for what it has become today
A view from Walnut Street

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Definition of an Independent Business Owner

The people across this country who have been behind counters for decades.....the ones who have opened a small shop each morning and then swept down the floors of a family icon at the end of each day.....the mom and pop owners who have greeted countless numbers of visitors and guests who turned into friends and family over their decades of service.....this is the true heart and soul of America. Their stories are what weaves into the colorful shades of our lives, the legacy of our communities, and the sense of belonging into a neighborhood. The presence of their establishments - while not always noted with a sense of urgency, that we must take steps to preserve what is here in front of us - is mourned when suddenly, one day, they are no more. We cannot overlook the contributions of such individuals; we must never take the special characteristics of an independent for granted; and above all, we must remember to always make them a part of our lives to be celebrated and enjoyed and supported.