The last post of our East Coast swing involves the First State, so named because it was the first of the 13 original colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Delaware is also one of the smallest states in the country. Only Rhode Island beats it out in terms of diminution.
I must be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about going to Delaware, especially after being in New York and Washington, DC. It just didn’t sound very interesting because you never hear about it unless someone’s talking about easy incorporation laws or our current Vice President, Joe Biden. Even getting there took a test in patience, as the girls wondered aloud when we would get to our destination, through the peaceful but increasingly monotonous rural landscapes we drove across.
But I needed to have an open mind, because RAS’s family have properties in Bethany Beach. He also wouldn’t consent going to New York and DC without coming here. We stayed at his cousin’s newly constructed place, a duplex that looks like this:
Even though a few things needed fixing up, it was still quite palatial and fun for the kids. It was about a block from the beach, too:
Pretty nice, huh? I had no idea the beaches here were this appealing. And thanks to the Gulf Stream, the water is surprisingly temperate. It all came as a complete surprise, kind of like a little punch (OK, more like a love tap). And it was a nice break from the urban craziness we had experienced all through the week before.
The town of Bethany Beach is quite small – just under 1,200 permanent residents according 2012 estimates. However, it morphs into roughly 12 times that much in the summer months. Visitors from DC and Baltimore come here, but more head to nearby Rehoboth Beach to the north and Ocean City, Maryland, to the south. So much fewer, Bethany calls itself “The Quiet Resorts” along with adjacent Fenwick Island.
Here’s the main drag in almost its entirety:
For the first time on our trip, we went out to breakfast at the Penguin Diner, which is just out of sight from the above picture. It’s a diner with a 1950’s look and plenty of overloaded but delicious plates of food. How could we go wrong with the place voted “the best diner in Delaware” last year? By whom, I’m still not sure.
Anyway, NLS took on an enormous stack of chocolate chip pancakes:
Everywhere on the walls of the restaurant are pictures of penguins done mostly in crayon. JRS, being the artist she is, had to make her contribution:
RAS, of course, had to order his scrapple, which is seemingly loved only by those in the mid-Atlantic region of the US. Since his family is from Maryland, he grew up eating and loving this stuff. In the 10 years we’ve been together, I can’t bring myself to eat this, which is a mixture of cornmeal and pork parts (I don’t even want to know what parts), and neither can the girls. And they love breakfast meats. Well, we all have to draw the line somewhere.
We eventually did go to both Rehoboth Beach to visit RAS’s aunt and look around at its famed boardwalk, and to Ocean City, because we thought the girls deserved a little amusement park fun:
Ocean City is chock-a-block with high-rise condos…and low-rise condos, plus crab shacks, mini-golf courses, frozen custard places and a Sunsations beach store every 500 feet. The girls and I tried to count the total of these stores, and we lost track. Honest.
But the best part about this whole trip was both of them saying, “We can’t wait to come back, Mom.”
That makes all the hassles, planning and money spent on your vacation all worthwhile!