A Yummy visit back to Fortescue
I came back for a visit to Fortescue in May of 2013. I was sad to see damage from Hurricane Sandy. Homes were boarded up, some nearly collapsing and memories only remained. A few were so badly damaged, they were torn down. But I saw a resilience in this sleepy fishing village… A strength that can’t be matched. Many homes were being repaired and brought back to life.
Here’s a little information about this great town…..
Fortescue is the self-proclaimed weakfish capital of the world. A weakfish is a large marine fish found along the eastern coast of North America. It is called a weakfish because its mouth muscles are considered weak and the hook often tears free allowing it to escape. It is also the state fish of Delaware.
The weakfish population has suffered in recent years due to over-fishing. Regulations have been put into action to help these scaly specimens thrive once again.
Fortescue is actually an unincorporated community of about 400 people. It is a part of Downe Township, Cumberland County along the gorgeous Delaware Bay.
Fortescue’s name came from Lord Fortescue of Great Britain. He and his wife Mary settled in the area in the 1700’s.
During the Prohibition, it was a popular village for smuggling rum and other alcoholic varieties. It’s access and location was quite convenient for sailors traveling from Canada, the Caribbean Islands and even the great states of Delaware and Maryland.
People that frequent Fortescue today enjoy the relaxation, calm bay water and enjoy sailing on one of the many fishing/party boats. I love it because there is never a tremendous amount of people here during the peak summer season. I don’t have to wait in shore traffic and the beach is quite expansive. I love the friendly locals. They truly care about Fortescue. Plus, it’s quiet. A perfect little piece of Yummy paradise.
It has been hit HARD over the last few decades. Rising waters and massive storms (like Hurricane Sandy) have definitely put a strain on this small fishing village. Damage is often overlooked in our state. It suffered tremendous losses during Hurricane Sandy.
The Charlesworth Inn which was a popular eatery and bed & breakfast for decades in Fortescue had tremendous damage from the big hurricane that they were not able to open its doors in 2013.
Homes on the bay front had a ton of damage. Over 20 homes have been destroyed and only a few restored, but the strength still remains in this small community. With practically no federal or state aid, folks always come together and rebuild this tiny community.
Fortescue’s ecosystem is quite important on the Delaware bay. In late spring/early summer, shorebirds and migratory birds rest and recoup on the beach from their long travels. They’ll fill up on the thousands of horseshoe eggs that lay on the beach and go onto their long journey towards the arctic.
The Fortescue Grill opened this year. It’s great to see something good come out of the recent devastation. It’s located at 102 Delaware Avenue. Phone #8564471200. Please call for days and hours of operation.
There’s also Higbee’s Restaurant which is a popular eatery among the locals. The current owners even wrote a book on Fortescue. There is also a Higbee’s marina. A great place to dock your boat in town.
My heart aches for the Delaware Bay. Often times they’re treated like the red-headed step child when it comes to damage from Hurricane Sandy and other terrifying storms. If rising sea levels continue (which they will) and more fierce storms blow through, there won’t be anything left…. Unless something is done NOW.
Yummy and Yummybaby will be back. The little one loves this magical place. Just bring the bug spray. You may need it.
Until our next adventure, My friends!
Side Note: I’ve been approached in the past about keeping Fortescue a secret.. My question is why? Maybe if the word gets out… they’ll finally get the help they deserve when it comes to funding. There are many businesses (for example the fishing charters) that rely on us folks visiting for their survival. That money gets funded back to the community. It is a beautiful commercially undeveloped town and honestly Fortescue should be celebrated and recognized. I also didn’t want to depict damage (I did take photos). I wanted to show its true beauty and why folks visit the island in the first place.