Best of Delaware 2019 Editors’ Picks: Retail & Service
The Purple Parrot Grill is a 2019 winner for best place to see a drag show.//photo by Moonloop Photography
What team sports give us—that sense of camaraderie, belonging and excitement across ordinary social divisions—we can also find in an individual athlete who manages to fascinate us with their singular skill. Gymnast Morgan Hurd of Middletown has done just that ever since she ascended to the ranks of national and international gymnastics competition. Her modesty, determination and unique sense of self—the girl wears glasses during those full twisting dismounts, for goodness sake!—makes her not just a great athlete, but someone to look to for inspiration and motivation. Most recently, she brought home the gold against an international field at April’s Tokyo World Cup, so don’t be surprised to see our local star at the next summer Olympic games.
Delaware Pride Merchandise
Upstate: When shouting from the rooftops, “I love Delaware!” isn’t enough, consider stocking up on plenty of First State finds at Heart and Home. This gift store has something for every Delaware lover in your life, from Simply Southern tees to Delaware towels, aprons and totes. The store can also personalize anything with its vinyl stickers. How cool is that?
4770 Limestone Road, Pike Creek, 999-8980; 230 Peoples Plaza, Newark, 392-8980; 108 E. Main St., Newark, 737-8980, heartandhomede.com
Downstate: Forney’s Too is a Dover boutique overflowing with Delaware-themed gifts, because owner Gary Knox designs and prints many of the items himself. His “Simply Delaware” shirts are one-of-a-kind—we love the super soft “roots” tee, which features the silhouette of the First State with tree roots coming out of the bottom. Forney’s Too also sells a colorful selection of 302 tumblers and decals.
102 Loockerman St., Dover, 734-2425, forneystoo.com
With the spotlight on the concept of fundraiser as an epic party for good, the Light up the Queen Foundation hits it out of the park each year with its Shine a Light events. Musicians from throughout Delaware gather to perform around a theme—usually a standout year in music—to raise money for the foundation’s various music scholarships and residencies while keeping Wilmington’s historic venue alive with the sounds of musical performance.
Light Up the Queen Foundation, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, 500-5597, lightupthequeen.org
Funky Home Decor
Upstate: The Beehive is a quirky spot that sells refurbished home decor with intricate designs, and the owner, Kimberly Reynolds, is friendly! Her specialty is painted furniture, but she also sells gifts, lamps, mirrors, silk flowers, and much more. Reynolds wants customers to walk in feeling inspired to decorate their home and encourages them to paint a piece of furniture from her store, most of which come from different state sales and auctions. She can also paint the furniture in a color of the customer’s choice so that they receive a one-of-a-kind item!
5807 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, (609) 707-1249, facebook.com/The-Beehive
Downstate: With about 30,000 square feet of land, Antique Alley offers a diverse market for all things home decor. You can find furniture, railroad items, primitives, neon signs, and much more! The market is diverse and they sell fresh merchandise every week. They even offer free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate in a cafe and you can catch NFL games when you take a break from browsing!
18208 Sussex Highway, Bridgeville, 337-3137, antiquealleyde.com
Upstate: Don’t leave any nook and cranny unturned at Everything But the Kitchen Sink, which sells exactly what its name suggests. Shop for everyone thanks to the sizeable selection of Scout bags, Mariposa wine stoppers and frames, holiday decor, Vietri glassware and John Matouk bed and bath items. This multi-level shop will occupy you for hours.
425 Hockessin Corners, Hockessin, 239-7066, thekitchensink.com
Downstate: Where do you shop for the person who has everything? We suggest S.A.L.T. Provisions, a self-described “Coastal General Store.” The Bethany Beach market has been open a little over three years, and each year the merchandise is more exciting. Gourmet food products surround men’s and women’s tees, dresses, board shorts and more (who wouldn’t appreciate a Prosecco- or Whisky-lover accessory and tasting set?). There are yummy smelling soaps and candles, silly shot glasses and an abundant array of marinades, rubs and spices. If you can’t decide on a single item, assemble a one-of-a-kind gift basket.
123 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach, 537-1217, saltprovisions.com
Greeting Card Selection
Whimsy is a spin-off of its previous boutique called Apropos. They have cutesy stationary for weddings, comfy fashion apparel, pretty pencils, books, and of course, their witty greeting cards.
Powder Mill Square, 3838 Kennett Pike, Suite 101 Greenville, 656-4800, whimsygreenville.com
Hyperlocal Radio Station
It seems like the days of truly local radio have been long lost to consolidation from massive media conglomerates. But 99.1 FM Radio Rehoboth, broadcasting direct from the heart of Rehoboth Beach, keeps that home-town feel for the 2019 listener while providing a wide array of goodness across the airwaves. With local weather, traffic and news, plus locally based public affairs and arts programming, there are few other places around the state where you’ll find this many neighborly voices on the air.
37290 Rehoboth Ave. Extension, Rehoboth Beach, 401-9991, radiorehoboth.com
Inspiring Comeback Story
A catastrophic fire destroyed much of Willey Farms last fall, but the family-run Townsend market was determined to rise from the ashes. With the support of the community behind them, plans to rebuild began almost immediately. As of this spring, Willey's was able to reopen Willey's Market in a temporary location, as well as its garden center and greenhouse.
4060 DuPont Parkway, Townsend, 378-8441, willeyfarmsde.com
Local Music Booster
Hometown Heroes—a weekly radio show promoting local musical artists—just celebrated its 20th anniversary on WSTW 93.7 FM. Mark Rogers has hosted the show for the past 13 years, and has proven to be dedicated to cultivating homegrown talent.
Under the baton of musical director David Amado, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra delivers not just a big-city symphony experience for upstate Delawareans, but also performances that reach into all three counties and a variety of venues. That means there’s little reason to head to Baltimore, D.C. or Philly to hear the type of performance many larger cities can only dream of, because we’ve got the gold standard right here at home.
100 W. 10th St., Suite 1003, Wilmington, 656-7442, delawaresymphony.org
Scenic Delaware Photography on Instagram
Upstate: If there’s ever a question in your mind about how beautiful and interesting Wilmington is, Andrew Kucienski’s Instagram page will remove it. Kucienski captures the everyday life views of the city of Wilmington—colorful landscapes, skyscrapers, and people. Each place has a story and Kucienski displays that throughout his work.
Visit andrew_k_photography on Instagram.
Downstate: Elliot MacGuire’s Instagram page is a gateway to all the beautiful places in southern Delaware. Full of bird’s eye views and calming waters, MacGuire’s page is a traveler’s dream.
Visit elliotmacguire on Instagram.
One Stop Shop for Gifts
Upstate: The products at Bloom, based on inspiring artists and designer studios, deliver fresh merchandise and unique, quirky displays. Their diverse designs don’t disappoint, which makes it a great place for everyone to get gifts.
1725 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, 510-4990; 165 East Main Street, Newark, 454-7266, bloomfolly.com
Downstate: Bella Luna is your one-stop shop for all things whimsical. They offer gifts ranging from apparel to home goods. Their mantra is home, body, and soul and the store definitely embraces that with pops of color reminiscent of the ocean blue!
127 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, 227-0267, facebook.com/bellalunatic1
Place to Buy a Hostess Gift
Upstate: Yes, a bottle of wine or a bouquet of fresh flowers is nice, but the next time you need a hostess gift, step it up a notch and head to Adorn Goods. The cozy Centreville shop has everything you could need for the home—and more—including handmade dishes from Laura Zindel, bright tablecloths from Le Jacquard Francais and gorgeous cutlery from Sabre Paris.
5712 Kennett Pike, Centerville, 575-9657, adorngoods.com
Downstate: The Wooden Indian Ltd. in Rehoboth Beach has become a shopping destination and for good reason—owners Paul Roscosky and Joe Yasik sell an eclectic mix of items, ranging from Herend, Moser and Waterford glassware to gourmet condiments, cookies and cocktail mixers. Win the hearts of any hostess with one of their gift baskets or select any of the more casual, beach-friendly wares, like Caspari acrylic glasses.
25 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8331, woodenindianltd.com
Place to See a Drag Show
Upstate: What is it about drag performance that goes with brunch as well as a bloody mary and eggs benedict? Whatever it is, The Queen has nailed it, showcasing the “ladies” of DragDiva monthly for nearly two hours of all-ages drag fabulousness at the oh-so-civilized hour of 1 p.m. (giving you plenty of time to recover from the previous evening’s festivities). With themed performances that range from Disney princesses to the Spice Girls, each brunch is a new adventure.
500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 652-5577, thequeenwilmington.com
Downstate: What used to be just whispered about can these days be said loud and proud—Rehoboth Beach has been central to the lives of LGBTQ Delawareans and Washingtonians for decades. It’s no surprise, then, that The Purple Parrot Grill’s Sunday night Birdcage Bad Girls Club drag show (hosted by Miss Julia Sugarbaker) has become an epic centerpiece to the city’s nightlife. Strutting down the catwalk every week at 10 p.m., it’s the perfect excuse to head in to work on Monday a little worse for wear.
13 Rehoboth Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, 226-1139, ppgrill.com
Radio at Work
Starbucks not enough of a kick to get you through the workday? Sing along with Wilmington’s WJBR (99.5), playing “one great song after another” to help the time pass for tired employees everywhere. During the holiday season, the station puts its contemporary playlist on hold to deliver Christmas music around the clock.
812 Philadelphia Pike, Suite A Wilmington 19809, 765-1160, mix995wjbr.com
Source for Vinyl
Music lovers of a certain age will recall the delights of shopping and the old Main Street location of Rainbow Records when vinyl records were hip the first time around. Then, the emphasis was on vinyl without the “vintage” qualifier. These days, with both vintage and new LPs back in vogue, the knowledgeable staff at Rainbow’s new location and their constantly updating stock will keep those chasing that old-is-new-again feeling coming back over and over.
218 East Main Street, Suite 114, Newark, 368-7738, rainbowrecordsde.com
Upstate: Owner Liza Fragomele has brought her Soho-sensibility to Trolley Square with Trudy. Among the high-fashion clothing, it’s the accessories that really shine, allowing fashionistas to easily update their wardrobes without breaking the bank.
1801 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 516-7406, shoptrudy.com
Downstate: Hula Sue sells a variety of beach-chic essentials (think sundresses, rompers and tees), but it’s the accessories that make the boutique stand out.
149 Rehoboth Ave. #D, Rehoboth Beach, 227-1012, shopstylecrush.com