I just returned from a week in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The beach in the fall, you say?
Why? No swimming, no sunbathing.
Yes, and yes.
But miles of beautiful wind-tossed beach, a nearly empty boardwalk, crowd-free shops and delightfully line-free restaurants.
Rehoboth in the fall: quiet peace.
Not that I’ve only visited this lovely Delaware beach town in the fall. My relationship with Rehoboth goes back twenty years. For many seasons, our church youth group camped in nearby Cape Henlopen for a retreat. On Friday evening, the entire group descended on Rehoboth for a night of fun, food, and rides. Along to help that year, I was at once stunned and surprised by the beauty of this beach resort. Having grown up in New Jersey, I was hardly aware that the Delaware shore existed. After an evening of dining on delicious cheese steaks and shopping in the many charming alcoves, I was determined to return to Rehoboth.
And return I did, almost every year, and in every season.
There were the fall weekends with old college friends, renting rooms in bed and breakfasts and biking on the boardwalk.
There were weeks spent in glorious condominiums overlooking the Atlantic, and days spent beneath colorful umbrellas on sandy beaches.
There were lovely oceanfront stays in a Victorian hotel, long walks on the beach, and lingering strolls through the charming town.
There were family vacations when grandkids dipped their toes in the cold water for the first time and created sand castles decorated with shells and seaweed.
There was the time I broke my toe the day before our departure, and I still managed to make it to the beach, my toe enclosed in a plastic bag.
And there are the delicious restaurants- too many and diverse to name, they range from the lowly Mom and Pop diner to the exclusive top drawer establishment. Boardwalk fries, ice cream, popcorn and salt water taffy- yes! But also those serving upscale seafood, Chinese, Thai, Italian and Spanish cuisine. We love them all!
Year round events pack the Rehoboth calendar, from summer concerts and fireworks to home tours, art displays, and jazz shows, to the Sea Witch Festival, Christmas tree lighting and parades.
Known as “The Nation’s Summer Capital”, Rehoboth traces its beginning to the late 19th century, when a beach camp for the Methodist Episcopal Church was founded to provide summer religious gatherings. The source for the name, Rehoboth, comes from the Bible (Genesis 26:22). In early Hebrew, Rehoboth meant “broad places.”
That year, a post office was established, the first of several hotels were built, and the original Rehoboth boardwalk was constructed. A railroad later brought more and more visitors to the beach, including many from Washington, D.C. Today, sun worshippers swell Rehoboth’s summer population to over 25,000.
A seaside resort, historic in nature, beautiful in all seasons- this is my Rehoboth. Coming there is like coming home.