July 02, 2007

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

It felt odd to go back to my old haunts of the 1950’s through 1970’s. I wanted to dress up as the foil man again and roam the North Shore beach, but Adam wouldn’t let me. He said I’d probably get arrested. To see and read examples of, and theory in reference to my past performances as the foil man you can go to my “Family Album,” (see links on side panel) or the following entries here on my journal: August 3, 2003, August 5, 2003, September 4, 2003, December 10, 2003, January 24, 2004, February 28, 2004, March 12, 2004, April 4, 2004.

I slathered up with number 30 DPF suntan lotion and went to the beach with Adam and Stephen one day, though Ruth and Samuel didn’t go with us. Instead, they watched us from the shady balcony of the house Adam had rented. We all drove to the state park at Cape Henlopen one day and visited Fort Miles, the WWII Observation Towers, the old military base there, and walked on the beach just before sunset. The sand dunes on Henlopen are the highest point on the coast between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras, and the beach is one of the best-preserved natural beach areas on the Atlantic seaboard. The photograph at the top of this entry is on Cape Henlopen.

We ate in most evenings. Ruth and Adam took turns cooking in our well-stocked kitchen. However, one evening we ate out at Adriatico Restaurant. I had eaten there several times in the past during return visits to Rehoboth Beach, and always enjoyed the upscale Italian cuisine. However, this time our meal was a disaster. The drinks as always were excellent. However, my Caesar salad was warm, not room temperature but about 110 degrees Fahrenheit warm. I sent it back, and after 15 minutes, another extremely warm salad was brought to me. I think they put the salad on plates right out of the dishwasher, and the Romaine lettuce was not refrigerated. I ordered gnocchi and they were over-cooked with a glue-like pasty texture. I was so disappointed. Additionally, service was extremely slow, though normally I don’t mind that, as I like a relaxed and leisurely dinner out. I will never return to Adriatico, so why complain? Because restaurants in Rehoboth Beach are pricy with a la cart menus and typical entrees ranging from 15 to 40 dollars. At such prices, food and service ought to be excellent.

I was amazed at the exponential growth at Rehoboth Beach. Everyone wants to live at the beach, but I wonder how it's possible to maintain such expansion. Condominiums, town houses, villas, and single homes are going up on every available scrap of land. At the same time, infrastructure is not keeping up with the real estate boom. Roads are particularly impossible, the system being basically nineteenth century with the exception of Highway One, the only four-lane road near the beach, and it has traffic lights every quarter to half mile. At the same time, Rehoboth Beach is one of the most reasonable resorts to live because local taxes are extremely low. AARP rates it as one of the five most reasonable places to live in the coninental United States.

I took walks on the boardwalk and beach every day, indulging in the contrast between the beaches in Delaware and Florida. The boardwalk itself is a Northern Phenomenon. The beaches in South Florida don’t have them. The sand is finer in Delaware than that in Southeast Florida, though the Gulf side has powder white sand. Delaware sand is pale brown to beige while the sand in Southeast Florida tends to be gray, and composed in part of ground up coral and shells. The ocean itself is different, a dull opaque steel blue shading to greenish-brown in Delaware, transparent aqua to emerald green in South Florida. The Ocean up north looks cold and is cold. The atmosphere is charged with the tension between cold sea and warm land in summer. In winter the contrast reverses, the water being slightly warmer than the frozen land, and Nor’easters rip cold sea-foam into the algid and damp coastal air. On the other hand the warm Gulf Stream helps to level temperatures in Southeast Florida. The water temperature in January runs in the low to mid seventies. When frozen Canadian air does drop down to South Florida it is sucked out over the warm water and returned to the land as a moist and chilly but sub-tropical blanket that protects tender tropical vegetation from frost and freeze. These contrasts make both kinds of beaches wonderful for different reasons, and I love them both.

It would be nice to be able to live near northern beaches and southern beaches.

H-m-m-m-m-m-m, no wonder there are so many snowbirds!

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