While the countdown to cold weather has begun in the northeast, the current shoulder season is THE perfect time to avoid the summer crowds and those inflated seasonal rates you'd expect to pay for a seaside summer vacation. With that said, say hello to Rehoboth Beach!
Chances are, if you live between Washington to the south and New York--to the north, you're probably somewhat aware or Rehoboth Beach or nearby neighbor, Ocean City, MD. Rehoboth, the far more calm, quieter and sophisticated of the two, is a resort community of approximately 2,000, that expands to over 25,000 during the summer vacation season!
Sandwiched between next door neighbors Lewis and Dewey Beach, the very pedestrian community of Rehoboth Beach is largest beach community before you get down to Ocean City, which seemed like a 30-minute drive south.
Rehoboth's luminaries include Kaythy Lee, who grew up there. It's said that her parents still reside in there, as do the parents of her Today Show partner, Hoda Kotb. In fact, Kathy Lee and Hoda did a segment in Rehoboth for the Today Show. Denzel Washington is also rumored to live nearby and be a quiet visitor. Even Oprah and Tiger Woods (they say) live nearby in The Peninsula--a VERY upscale community nearby on the Indian River Bay.
High Points for Rehoboth's off season include the Sea Witch Festival (Oct 26-28th), The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival (October 11-14) with a star studded line-up of noted performers such as Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Jonathan Butler, Brian Culbertson, Phil Perry, Maysa, Boney James and more. And for you inde film fans, there's the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, November 7-11th.
In terms of where to stay, consider the fact that Rehoboth is a more settled community. Case and point, while there earlier this year, I stayed at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. This family owned property boast old world charm, laden with antiques and memorabilia from the Victorian era. It kind of reminds me of visiting Atlantic City as a child in the sense that I expected to find a salt water taffy somewhere in my room. The service at this Four Diamond property is very warm and friendly. Best of all, it's smack dab on the beach!
Rehoboth is somewhat of a diverse community, not in terms of color so much as sexual orientation. The town has a very celebrated and active LGBT community that seems welcomed by all, so long as they keep the noise down!
On the edge of town there's an outlet mall full of great shopping, which is something most vacationers enjoy. You can't miss it on the way into Rehoboth. There's Nassau Valley Vineyard in nearby Lewes. Boasting the title of "Delaware's First and Only Award Winning Winery," the winery is open for tours and tastings. Lavendar Fields farm might also be an interesting visit. There I purchased soaps, preserves and took lots of pictures of the beautiful scenery all around.
But a highlight on the journey had to be the pleasure and warmth of meeting Reverend and Mr Dunning. Perhaps you recall Extreme Makeover Home Edition's two hour Thanksgiving special last year, profiling Rev. Dale Dunning's soup ministry--Jusst Soup. At the end of the episode, the couple, who had been homeless a time or two themselves, but nevertheless always managed to give to others---receive an amazing new home for themselves, with a cottage for their one son at home who helps with the soup kitchen ministry, while the other son attends college.
In the weeks to come, Rev Dunning will be featured in my "Meet the People" showcase, based on her selfless giving. Meanwhile, I am attaching some of the pictures from the couples new home, which has left no desire unanswered. As we say in the black chuch: "God is good." And the refrain is always: "All the time."
In terms of cuisine, one or two locals made mention of a place called Hobos restaurant for farm to table eating. Planet X Cafe was another I heard mentioned. But neither did I experience. I did, however, experience a very fresh seafood lunch at one of the communities more low key restaurants called Jakes (Old Baltimore Style) Seafood House, where I went totally "old school" and had a fried combination platter that came with sweet potato fries. In a word, DAMN!
For more ideas and plans to visit Rehoboth Beach and it's neighbors, click here for the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center or the Visit Southern Delaware tourism site. Be sure to them "Traveling In My World" sent you!