From the first blush of spring until the last leaf falls from the tree, you will find Kenneth Boulden Jr. in the back yard.“It’s our private paradise,” he says. “People travel all over the world to experience what we have right here.”
Boulden, three generations of family members and a wide circle of friends have a bounty of outdoor amenities to enjoy on two verdant acres in Middletown. There are three regulation-size courts, for bocce, horseshoes and shuffleboard. The pool complex includes a cabana equipped with restrooms and changing space. Folks can congregate around the fire pit, in the gazebo or at the tiki bar.
“Our goal was to create a place where people could have fun on every square inch of ground,” he says. “There is no better feeling in the world than inviting your loved ones over so that everyone can share a good time together.”
Boulden, who is New Castle County’s clerk of the peace, began what would become an outdoor fantasy land with a humble horseshoe pit.
“It was such a big hit that soon people were lining up to play,” he recalls. “I thought, Wow, we need to come up with another activity.”
He remembered the fun he had playing bocce in Sicily during his Mediterranean tour of duty in the military.
“Every little mountain town had a team,” he says. “Everyone loved bocce—and I loved it, too.”
Boulden installed the standard 12-foot by 80-foot course himself. A rectangular court with a net serves double duty, for volleyball and badminton. Croquet is a portable pleasure, as players set up a course on the lawn.
He is continually on the lookout for ways to up the back yard fun quotient. He found his tiki bar at an end-of-season sale set up along Del. 1 in Rehoboth Beach. The merchant was packing up to return home to New Jersey and was eager to sell the only bar left on the lot.
“I had the money in my pocket and he had the truck,” Boulden recalls. “He delivered it the very next day.”