Delmarva Drives
Atlantic Assault PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Friday, 13 November 2009 08:49

It seems as though Delmarva generally dodges the bullet when it comes to hurricanes. Charlie, Bob – most of them swing eastward and go into the Atlantic without causing too much trouble. Even Isabel, whose original track had her slamming into Salisbury head-on, shuffled over to swamp DC and Baltimore. Her devastation along the Chesapeake was, fortunately, a rare thing.


Ida (ok, so it’s the remnants of Ida, but if it looks like a duck…) reminds us of how generally lucky we are. The Weather Channel says the wave action is similar to a Cat 1 hurricane, although the winds are far less. (Sustained winds of 65 to be a Cat 1 storm. We’ve been peaking at around 50. Close enough.)


When Ocean City first implemented its beach erosion/stabilization project, Nancy Howard – now an Ocean City Council member – was in charge. She oversaw the planning, the implementation, the public relations. Whatever happened, however it turned out, she was going to be the first to hear about it. If it worked, a lot of other people would be trying to share the glory. If it failed, she’d be out there on what was left of the beach all alone.


The project wrapped up just about the time Hurricane Hugo started chugging up the Atlantic coast. It looked as though he’d rumble into Ocean City, but then decided to wreak havoc on the interior of the Carolinas instead. I called her after Hugo dissipated and asked her what she thought when it looked as though Hugo had OC in his sights. “My first thought was, ‘Bring it on. We won’t know if it worked until we get hit.’ And then I thought, ‘What am I thinking? We don’t want a storm like that ever hitting us. This is protection, not a dare.’”


From what The Weather Channel is showing, much of the beach is gone. But the Boardwalk, the hotels, the infrastructure are still in place. A little battered, perhaps, but still standing.


When the weather settles, stand in the parking lot at the Inlet and look over to Assateague. Before the big nor’easter that created the Inlet, the OC beach and Assateague were side-by-side. The distance Assateague has moved back is a sign of the natural movement of a barrier island. If it weren’t for the beach stabilization project, Trimper’s, the Boardwalk, Seacrets, Fager’s Island, the high-rises – all would be gone. Looks like Nancy’s project did exactly what it was designed to do. Sand can be pumped back along the shoreline. It’s not so easy to replace structures and roads.






Last Updated on Friday, 13 November 2009 08:53
Awards Time PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 12 November 2009 15:18

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Talbot County Bike Guide

You’re probably not thinking about hopping on you bicycle and pedaling around the Talbot County countryside today. Hard to appreciate the autumn colors through driving wind and rain. But you could make some plans for better weather with the Talbot County Bicycle Guide. It won the award for the Best New Program at the recent Maryland Tourism Summit.


The fold-out guide covers six themed rides, each about 30 miles long. The color-coded maps are well-detailed, and the written directions are equally in-depth. The maps even suggest good spots for photo ops. There’s also a list of bike rental and repair shops. Even the paper is user-friendly; it’s thinker than most maps, able to withstand frequent foldings and the occasional rain shower.


Kudos to Talbot County Tourism Director Debbie Dodson and her team.


Southern Delaware Tourism Award

Southern Delaware Tourism is seeking nominees for its 2009 Tourism Recognition Award. It goes to the individual or organization which has had that biggest impact on the region’s tourism. The nominee’s work had to have happened before September, 2009. The 2008 Award went to The Apple Scrapple Festival Committee. That event draws about 25,000 people to Bridgeville each year. For more information or to make a nomination, call 301-539-5443.

Channeling My Inner Mike Seidel PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 12 November 2009 07:56


It’s lively out there today! Campbell Field Airport in Accomack Count suggests that Virginia adopt “Laughter in the Rain” as the state song for the next couple of days. I’m 30 miles inland, and the wind is howling around the house. Along the coast, the beaches are getting hammered; Mike Seidel is being blown around in Virginia Beach, wave action is reportedly fierce, and common sense says to stay home, tune into The Weather Channel, and be ready for local flooding and power outages.


So, of course, I want to go to the Inlet at Ocean City. I want to see it for myself. I can claim that it’s my old reporter’s instincts coming to the fore. I’m used to being in the center of the action, and this is the biggest action around. So I should be there experiencing and reporting on it, right? And, c’mon, admit it, you’d be there right next to me, reporter or not.


While we truly don’t want to see anyone get hurt, and we wince at the knowledge of what property damage means to people, we get a guilty pleasure watching The Weather Channel crew dodge flying debris and lean sideways into wind gusts to tell you how the rain hitting them feels like needles. It’s like NASCAR. You say you don’t want to see any wrecks, but what gets shown on the replays? There’s this vicarious identification with Jim Cantore, Mike Seidel and the rest. They’re crazy, we say, nutzo for standing out there, trying to find a place where they can set up the satellite dish and get out a signal; tying their North Face hoods tightly around their heads in a vain attempt to stay dry while pointing to the surf and getting sandblasted by grit from the beach; peeking around corners of buildings while siding, roofing, and the occasional lawn chair sail by. But we want to do it, too. Whoo-boy, what a rush!


It really isn’t safe. The Weather Channel crews are professionals and there’s this ‘you should not try this at home’ vibe when they report. It makes life easier for police and safety officials to manage the situation if sightseers and amateurs stay out of harm’s way. The TV reports will show us what we need to see. But still….


Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2009 08:05
Shooting Stars Over the Shore PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Wednesday, 11 November 2009 17:02

One of the benefits of living on Delmarva and the Eastern Shore is seeing the night sky. Even if you live in a built-up area, it’s flat easy to get away from the glare and find a dark place to stare at the stars.


Which is why on the nights of Nov. 17-18, I’ll be straining my neck to watch the Leonid meteor shower fall over the Chesapeake Bay. As Earth orbits through the dust trail left by a comet named 55p/Tempel-Tuttle, we’ll be treated to a spray of shooting stars, fire rain, ‘Tears of Our Ancestors,’ falling stars, or Talpak Rye. (You’ve got to be a fan of Stargate SG-1 to recognize that translation.) That’s all the comet dust burning up as it hits our atmosphere.


The Leonids are one of the biggies on the meteor schedule, right up there with the August Perseids and December’s Geminids. No, I don’t just know this stuff. I looked it up on www.theskyscrapers.org. They have the calendar of meteor showers, complete with dates and number of shooting stars to expect.


Meteors fall during the entire time the planet passes through the dust field. During the day, there’s enough sunlight and other distractions to keep up from noticing them. At night, though, it’s a celestial fireworks show. The show really gets going after midnight, when the constellation Leo rises in the southeast. If you don’t know your constellations, Leo stretches across the sky in a couple of parts. Look for a right-angle triangle of stars pointing southeast. That’s Leo’s head. Conditions permitting, you’ll be able to see the shooting stars until dawn. If it is particularly quiet where you watch, you may even hear them hiss, sizzle, and pop as they burn up.


The Leonids peak every 33 years, sending off hundreds of sparks in the sky. The last peak was in 2001. A sucker for a good light show, I got up at midnight and drove to the inlet in Ocean City. About twenty other meteor fans were there. Unfortunately, there was enough cloud cover and mist that the meteors weren’t visible. The only time something streaked across the sky, setting off shouting and pointing fingers, it turned out to be a seagull.


As I write this, the remnants of Hurricane Ida are howling outside my window. The forecast for next Tuesday is partly cloudy with a chance of showers on the 18th. Not the most promising prediction. But barring total overcast or pouring rain, I’ll be sprawled on the riverbank in Tyaskin, wrapped up in a blanket with a thermos of spiced cider, making wishes on the falling stars.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 17:07
Book Signing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Tuesday, 28 July 2009 19:53

Author book signing

I'll be at several events over the next couple of weeks, displaying and selling Art Drives on Delmarva. On Friday, Nov. 13, I'll be at gardenArt on King in Onancock from 5-8 pm as part of that town's monthly 2nd Friday Art Stroll. On Nov. 22, it's Scribes on the Shore at the Oxford Community Center from 2-4 pm. And on Fri-Sat, Nov. 27-28, I'll be at Chesapeake East Gallery and Studio at 501 W. Main in Salisbury for their showcase of artisans event. And listen to WSCL/WSDL radio for sponsorship announcements brought to you by Art Drives on Delmarva and DelmarvaDrives.com.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2009 08:05

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