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Delaware’s Quaint Villages an easy D.C. getaway

Enjoy history, river walks, water parks and more

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Quaint Villages, gay news, Washington Blade

Visit Delaware’s Quaint Villages for an unforgettable summer getaway. (Photo courtesy VisitDelawareVillages)

It’s that time of year again, the warmer weather is here and Washingtonians are ready to plan weekend getaways. It can be difficult to book extravagant vacations out of town, but did you know that you don’t have to look very far for a convenient escape?

Delaware’s Quaint Villages in Kent County are just a short drive to riverside towns steeped in history and nestled among pristine woodlands. Whether you’re an outdoor adventure seeker, history buff, or wine and beer connoisseur, there’s something for everyone. Here is just a taste of what a weekend itinerary could consist of:

History Buffs & Nature Lovers: Smyrna and Dover

Located on the beautiful banks of Duck Creek and Lake Como, Smyrna is the ideal watering hole for swimming, fishing and boating activities. Recognized as a “Globally Important Bird Area,” Washingtonians can hike the nearby salt marshes at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest remaining tidal marshes in the mid-Atlantic region and watch thousands of migrating shorebirds who call the area home each spring. After a hike, casually stroll among the area’s beautifully preserved historic buildings before heading to Painted Stave Distilling to dine and down premium small batch handcrafted barrel aged spirits made with ingredients sourced from local farms and housed in a 1940s-era movie theater.

If you’re a history buff instead, then head over to Dover to visit the First State Heritage Park, an urban park linking historic and cultural sites, such as the Delaware’s Old State House and Legislative Hall Capitol, both treasured historical sites in a city that has been the seat of Delaware’s government since 1777 and the first state to ratify the United States Constitution. Be sure to stop by The Countrie Eatery for an old-fashioned homemade breakfast while you’re in town.

Centrally located in Dover, the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is an ideal place to stay to be close to all that the historic downtown has to offer as well as enjoy the hotel’s entertainment options, including a racetrack, a spa and fine dining.

Waterparks, River Walks & State Fairs: Milford, Felton and Harrington

There’s a big benefit to being the second smallest state in the United States, traveling between villages isn’t a challenge. Next up on the itinerary is nearby Milford, Felton and Harrington. Washingtonians can start with a stroll along Mispillion Riverwalk Park, the largest municipal park in Delaware. The mile-long park threads its way through the heart of downtown Milford, conveniently connecting shops, inns, cultural sites and neighborhoods along its winding scenic trails. For lunch, fill up on hand tossed pizza and homemade pasta at Frederica Pizza & Pasta House or check out Mispillion River Brewing.

In neighboring Felton, a tranquil small town still home to many commercial and recreational fishing boats, and an ideal place to grab the fresh catch of the day at JP’s Wharf Restaurant & Bar. A local favorite, where everything is cooked to order with the freshest of ingredients, JP’s catches its own Rockfish and harvests oysters and crabs in nearby waterways. Also in Felton, is Killens Pond Water Park a 66-acre pond surrounded by more than 1,440-acres of parks, woods and trails to satisfy anyone who enjoys hiking, fishing, boating and swimming in a pristine setting. The park also features a nature center, year-round campgrounds and waterpark with two 54-foot-high speed slides and tunnels and pool to keep every adult, child and toddler happy.

Then head over to Harrington, home of the Delaware State Fair (July 20-29, 2017), to enjoy a day at the Harrington Raceway & Casino where you can watch a horse race or catch live entertainment at the Bonz Lounge.

There is so much more to discover and experience in Delaware’s Quaint Villages. So, jump in your car or book a rental and escape the District for the weekend.

Wendie Vestfall is executive director at Kent County Tourism. For more information on visiting Delaware’s Quaint Villages, visit visitdelawarevillages.com.

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Real Estate

Can you buy a home with Bitcoin?

Buyer, seller must agree to terms before using cryptocurrency

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Bitcoin. Most of us have heard of it. Increasingly, many are looking to invest in it. For many, cryptocurrency has now gone beyond being somewhat of an exclusive province for the more adventurous and risk inclined investors and is becoming far more mainstream, as more than 100,000 vendors worldwide accept it as a valid currency. All of this leads to an important question – can you purchase a home with Bitcoin?

For those hoping to do so, the good news is that it is a possibility. In fact, it is a possibility that may not be as distinct or far-fetched as many might have expected. First and foremost, both buyer and seller must agree on the exchange of Bitcoin for the property. As opposed to situations where more traditional forms of payment are utilized, a Bitcoin transaction requires the agreement of all parties up front.

Although you can buy a home with Bitcoin, this doesn’t mean that most buyers are in a place yet where they actually do. Certainly, using virtual currency to purchase real estate is still a very new and novel idea, so of course, there is still some hesitation in certain sectors of the market. Often, these concerns center around a lack of regulation and understanding of cryptocurrency. Others have concerns about how Bitcoin transactions will be taxed. All of these questions and concerns are understandable, and it is expected that as cryptocurrency continues to become more mainstream these concerns will lessen, and purchasing a home in this manner may be an option for an increasing number of buyers.

There are also definite pros and cons to a bitcoin home sale. One of the advantages, for many, is that the transaction can be completed very quickly. Often, after everything is signed, the transaction can be completed in as little as 10 minutes, depending on network congestion. On the other side of the coin, however, it’s important to be sure that you trust the other party if you’re making a real estate purchase. Bitcoin transactions are often not reversible, so it’s important to be certain about your choices ahead of time.

Ultimately, while there are many ways to finance the purchase of a home, there’s only one way to ensure that you have a smooth and successful real estate experience – and that’s by getting connected with the Realtor who knows and loves the community that you’re interested in.

As an LGBTQ home buyer or seller, you want someone who values you for who you are, who understands your needs and real estate goals, and who will be committed to helping you achieve them. At GayRealEstate.com, that’s where we come in. It is our passion and our purpose to connect LGBTQ homebuyers and sellers, with agents across the country who have the talent, experience, and dedication necessary to make your real estate experience the best it can be. You deserve nothing less. We would be honored to help you get started on your next real estate journey today. Contact us anytime.

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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Real Estate

The trendiest paint colors of 2021

Ultimate Gray, Illuminating, Urbane Bronze among year’s hues.

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Pantone’s two colors of the year are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. (Image courtesy of Pantone)

Last year, I decided to forego writing about the paint colors of the year, since many people in our vibrant community were out of work. Buying Farrow and Ball paint for $125 a gallon, it would seem, was not the first thing on their to-do lists.

So here we are in 2021 where the Pantone color of the year is…wait for it…Ultimate Gray. 

Aren’t we tired of gray yet? Sure, Pantone pairs it with an outrageously bright yellow called Illuminating, which I would have guessed was a blue-toned white had I not seen it online. The combination of gray and yellow has been used in linens and fabrics for several years, albeit in softer hues, so while the stronger hues have been updated for 2021, I don’t find them fresh or exciting anymore.

There is an array of colors in the lineup this year that are reminiscent of dirt. Dulux has Brave Ground, a neutral earth tone that “creates a feeling of stability, growth and potential, and provides a firm foundation for change and creativity.” That sounds like a color I need to have in my paint collection just to write articles, negotiate real estate contracts, and watch the news.

Sherwin Williams brings us Urbane Bronze, which they describe as “sophisticated” and “rooted in nature.” Harvard naturalist Dr. Edward Wilson would have likened it to biophilia, a term he coined for humankind’s desire to search for “a connection to nature and other forms of life.” I think it would accent cicadas nicely.

Contemplative, the 2021 choice from Pratt and Lambert paints, is a color to think about. It’s a deep moss like that found in the rainforest or on the front of my house. I guess it’s time for a power-wash. 

Teal has been around for decades, but it became so over-used that 20 years ago, Crayola removed Teal Blue from its crayon collection. Now it’s back in Benjamin Moore’s Aegean Teal, a deep, muted blue-green-gray combination, the ocean’s equivalent of mossy Contemplative.

Southwestern dirt is represented by Behr’s Canyon Dusk, which looks a little like a New Mexico landscape on a hot, dry day, without the cacti interspersed or the mountains on the horizon. Or try it on the exterior of your organic adobe home.

Glidden suggests using its 2021 choice, Aqua Fiesta, a softer, muted turquoise-aqua blend that won’t overpower your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen walls, and will promote a feeling of calm where used.

Dutch Boy has selected Earth’s Harmony for 2021. While the name implies a brown tone, this color is actually a cheerful blue that takes you to the moon and back. (Well, to the sky anyway.) Check out how it looks on kitchen cabinets on Dutch Boy’s website. Forget the gray-on-the-bottom and white-on-the-top cabinet theme and liven up your kitchen with this vibrant color.

Now, if you’re not already on overload, Valspar gives us 12 new colors to select from. Many are neutral and all are muted. 

The brown and tan tones include Maple Leaf (think Vermont maple syrup candy), Unforgettable (a perfectly forgettable beige), Arizona Dust (refer to Behr’s Canyon Dusk above), and Gallery Gray (gray is possibly a misnomer – it looks tan to me). 

The blues and greens are Lucy Blue (teal by another name), Blissful Blue (a mid-toned blue gray), Granite Dust (a very light blend of green and gray), Garden Flower (a happy green with only a touch of gray), and Academy Gray (more akin to teal than gray and the darkest of their 2021 choices).

In addition, Valspar gives us Soft Candlelight (a not-too-bright yellow), Cherry Taupe (a neutral with slightly pink tones), and my favorite, Dusty Lavender (true to its name, although anything called Dusty makes me want to go and take a shower).

Clark and Kensington paint combines its colors into three collections of six colors each: Understated Impact, Mindful Living, and Creative Escape, which sound like things to ruminate about while doing goat yoga. 

Each collection features hues that are like the blues, greens, tans, and grays created by every other paint company. The one exception is Red Tulip, found in the Understated Impact collection. It’s more of a ruby or garnet than a true red, but it’s nice to see someone paint outside the box. 

This month, I hope to see more decorating in gem colors: Garnet, Amber, Citrine, Emerald, Sapphire, and Amethyst, with accents of Smoky Quartz and Tiger Eye, and a smattering of Sky-Blue Topaz, Rose Quartz, and Pearls. 

Now, wouldn’t that make a nice flag?  Stay colorful, my friends.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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Real Estate

Multiple offers? Multiple headaches? Here’s some medicine

Tips for navigating our hot seller’s market

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With low interest rates and lots of people on the move, many homes in our area are drawing multiple offers.

As a seller’s agent, multiple offers can be great. Who doesn’t love options? Does my seller want to take offer A, B, or C? (Or even D, E, or F?).

As a buyer’s agent, multiple offers can mean more stress, headaches, nail biting, and taking on more risk. Lately it has been described as a seller’s market. With the combination of low interest rates and a global pandemic that led thousands of people to decide to look for a bigger house with more rooms, outdoor space, and a more desirable location than their last residence, the result has been multiple offer bidding wars on homes that buyers find desirable. So, what are some suggestions for handling this multiple offer laden market? Here are a few tactics I have learned over the years:

  1. Do a pre-inspection so that the home purchase is not contingent on a home inspection. If you find too many red flags, you can just skip making the offer and keep looking.
  2. Ask your lender to approve you beyond just a pre-approval. This might take more energy on the front end so that you can have the bank give you a solid approval letter, but it might mean that you can close on the house in less time and seem like a more solid choice than the other offers.
  3. Be willing to ask the sellers what they need. Some sellers want a high price, while other sellers are OK with a decent price, but with features such as a rent-back for a month or so while they coordinate closing on their new home, or even begin looking for their new home. Being flexible can be crucial to winning the offer.
  4. If you are a seller, and need to sell before buying the new home, you might just want to move out, get a six-month or a one-year rental and put the house up for sale. You might find that the profit you make in a multiple offer situation could be enough to cover the cost of the rental and make the search for the next house less frantic and stressful.

These are just a few ideas a good Realtor can help their clients to decide on. Find a trusted Realtor to help you. Oh, and happy Pride month everyone!

Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Rutstein Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or  [email protected].

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