Yoga and dining out certainly should be counted among the many options retirees can immerse themselves in at Southern Delaware’s coastal beach towns. And, as interesting as those two activities can be, so are some of the people who provide them. Meet Erin Shivone and Harkaitz Urrestarazu, an entrepreneurial married couple who practice their respective crafts with a joie de vivre that is downright catchy. Erin is a health coach/yoga instructor/massage therapist and Harkaitz (meaning “rocks” in Euskera, the Basque language) is a chef at The Pines.
Erin co-owns the Lanikai Wellness Studio in Paynter’s Mill (Milton) where you can find great massage, health-coaching and yoga. She also has a dedicated retiree clientele for her yoga classes at Lewes’ Five Points, Be Holistic | Wellness.
“Yoga offers so many benefits for all age groups. For seniors it helps build strength and flexibility”, she says. “Staying strong in our muscles and bones allows individuals to continue doing what they love into later years. Increasing flexibility prevents muscular tension and injuries. On a mental and emotional level yoga brings a sense of peace and calm. Having a daily practice even if it’s 10 minutes of mindful breathing and movement can change our lives for the better”.
Harkaitz grew up in San Sebastian, Spain and has been a chef for 25 years. He went to culinary school right out of high school there and has been cooking ever since.
According to Erin, the culture in Spain is that everyone cooks. His first teacher was his grandmother. The family had a fish shop which is probably why one of his favorite things to cook at The Pines is the catch of the day. Harkaitz expanded his knowledge while doing his internship at Arzak, a three Michelin star restaurant in San Sebastián. His favorite Spanish dish to cook is menestra de verduras.
How they wound up here is a story they likely will tell their grandchildren when that time comes. Erin was born in Wilmington and had family in Rehoboth where she often vacationed. She attended U of Delaware for two years but transferred to San Francisco State University for a degree in Liberal Studies. While there, she signed up for “Semester at Sea”, through the University of Pittsburgh. With 400 students from throughout the US, she traveled by boat for 65 days, visiting 9 different countries. You might say she has a wandererlust having also lived in Washington, DC, New York City, and Florence, Italy. Eventually, she wound up in Spain where she met Harkaitz in Benasque, a small Pyrennes town.
“I showed up with a backpack and ended up staying six months, she says. “Harkaitz had a cute little restaurant and was part owner in a bar. He’d come with his friends to the restaurant where I worked so we got to know each other”. Their long-term relationship didn’t start immediately since Erin was moving back to Delaware but they kept in touch through texting, calling and visiting each other. “I was working at the Blue Moon saving money to go back to massage school and he was trying to sell his restaurant and his portion of the bar, she explained. After about a year they moved to Hawaii together. Erin went to massage school and opened up a business and Harkaitz worked in a restaurant. They spent six years there, got married on Kailua beach and had two kids Kai (11) and Noa (9). They relocated to Rehoboth Beach/Lewes to be closer to family. In addition to their local careers here, they also organize a yoga retreat to Spain in the fall. Erin teaches and Harkaitz cooks. Interesting couple – to say the least.
Erin and Harkaitz are two more reasons I LOVE LIVING HERE! It seems like you find another great story of people just grabbing life by the coattails and enjoying the ride ALL AROUND our coastal communities!
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist