August 23, 2012 at 9:00 am EDT | by Michael Key
Tranquility at the beach

The Towers Bed & Breakfast
101 NW Front St.
Milford, DE 19963

David Rule and Christopher Clawson at the Towers. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Many people think about leaving behind the chaos of the city to find a quieter life near the beach, but few follow through with that dream for more than a weekend. Gay couple Christopher Clawson and David Rule left their busy lives in New York City to start over in the sleepy Delaware town of Milford, working as innkeepers at the Towers Bed & Breakfast.

Clawson and Rule met in their native Michigan but moved to New York together. Clawson worked at a church while Rule had a career in commercial marketing. They both acclimated to city life.

“I loved living in the city,” Rule says, “but I needed a change.”

Clawson agrees.

“We really wanted to slow down after having lived in the city. My commute to work was technically only a few miles, but it would take forever to get there. I couldn’t stand the constant typing on phones and texting. We would get home at 7 p.m. after work and would be too tired to do anything — and it would be too late to do anything anyway.”

A few clicks later on Craigslist, Clawson and Rule found Dan and Rhonda Bond, the overworked owners of the Towers Bed & Breakfast. The Bonds were looking for more hands to manage their inn as they concentrated on their other businesses and the renovation of their own home. Following an interview, the Bonds knew they had found what they were looking for in Clawson and Rule. The city couple packed their bags and moved to Milford to start their new lives as innkeepers.

“It takes a certain type of temperament to manage a B&B,” Dan Bond says. “Chris and David are a perfect fit for this kind of work.”

Indeed, Clawson and Rule seem to have been fully accepted into the community since they relocated in April. Rule, finally able to commit more time to his painting, is showing some of his work at a local art gallery two blocks away from the Towers. As his neighbors browse his work, Rule says, “Everyone here is so nice. The people of Milford have really embraced us.”

“We’re kind of the token gay couple here,” Clawson says.

The couple plans to buy the LadyBug Store across the street from the Towers in January, further cementing their place in the local community. They’re even thinking about buying a bed and breakfast of their own one day.

“I’m loving working here now, but when we were first thinking of getting into the business, we wanted to make sure that it was something that we could do, so it is a good thing to start out as innkeepers,” Clawson says.

“I figured, we could always move back to the city if it didn’t work out, but I love being so close to the beach,” Rule says.

Milford is a small town filled with historic buildings and quaint shops and is only a 40-minute drive from Rehoboth Beach. While Milford’s downtown can be explored in one lazy afternoon, the Towers Bed & Breakfast is a great place for travelers to avoid the crowds at the hotels along the boardwalk and find a more intimate and elegant place to stay. Originally built in the late 18th century, the home was once owned by a governor of Delaware and is now open to guests nearly year round.


Michael Key has worked as a photojournalist for the Washington Blade since 2009 and is currently serving as the photo editor. He has worked on Capitol Hill, in the White House, on the campaign trail and in cities along the East Coast taking iconic photos documenting the extension of marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and other events of interest to the LGBT community. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • So am I missing something from this article? My only take-away is that a gay couple changes course and runs a B&B in small town Delaware. And the point…??

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