What to do on a windy day…..

by Mark Carter on October 16, 2010

There are a lot of great organizations in the coastal Sussex area that work to protect the many beautiful pockets of nature that we are fortunate to still have around. I volunteer with the Surfrider Foundation, and we recently held a great event in cooperation with the Center for the Inland Bays (CIB), however I had never visited the CIB property called James Farm.

I figured today, that my 4 old son and my 5 year old daughter would brave the winds with me and venture out and attend the annual BBQ at the James Farm. I’m so very happy that we did.

The BBQ was from 11 AM – 3 PM, and a $25 ticket included a BBQ feast from Bethany Blues, insanely delicious cupcakes and desserts from a local bakery, some Dogfish Punkin Ale, and lots of other tasty treats. There was pumpkin painting for kids of all ages, an extremely informative hayride, access to hiking trails, and a bluegrass band. Oh yeah….and kids under 10 years of age were free.

So, my two little people and I sauntered south from Milford, across a windy inlet bridge and found our way back to the farm. We strolled up the dirt lane and could hear the banjo in the distance. The forest provided a sanctuary from the wind for us to sit on hay bales and enjoy the music, BBQ and treats (the cupcakes were beyond delicious according to my daughter, especially the rainbow frosting).

My son and daughter each then decorated a pumpkin that would make their art teacher mother proud before we climbed aboard the hay wagon. An older gentleman guided us through the farm and along the periphery of the marsh. He explained various flora (native and non-native) to us as we held onto our hats in the wind. He showed us fox dens, Virginia Creeper, poke bush, native grasses, and taught us about Buckeye butterflies.
After the hayride, it was into the forest to explore the trails and find a way to the beach. The kids led the way and enjoyed splashing at the bay’s edge. A few foot races down the trail and a stop to climb some trees brought us back to the music and a re-fueling of gingersnaps. We claimed our pumpkins, wandered slowly back to the car and called it a day.

This day at James Farm was meaningful in many ways. I had just attended the first ever Delaware Trails Summit. The summit brought folks together from DNREC, CIB, Rails to Trails, Parks and Recreation (from various DE towns), mountain bikers, hikers, horse riders and more to discuss the current status and future of trails in Delaware. DE has the chance to be the first state in the country where one could bike/walk/hike from end to end without getting on a busy roadway…..that’s exciting. It was great to get out and see some of those trails today.

Another reason I found today meaningful was because of my two child’s enthusiasm to be out of doors. Richard Louv authored a book called “Last Child in the Woods” about how kids today really are disconnected with the natural world. He actually coined the phrase, “nature deficit disorder.” I’m thrilled to see that my kids will not ever experience that. To witness them climbing a tree today with wet, sandy shoes on this windy day warmed my heart.

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