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Holiday Family Fun at the Delaware Beaches

The weather has finally gotten cooler on Delmarva and it is starting to look a little festive.

One of the hardest things for us to get used to since moving to Delmarva is the winter. We used to live just west of Baltimore and I commuted to south-central Pennsylvania for years. We are used to snow. We are used to getting lots and lots of snow. My kids love snow. I love it, too.

Back in Maryland, it was not unusual to get hammered with 24 inches of snow at a clip. One year we got so much snow that my old Volkswagen was completely buried in the snow. The area we lived in had rolling hills and we only had to drive down to Cape Horn Park to find amazing sledding. I regret not going to Ski Liberty before we moved. May be we will go skiing or tubing this year in the Poconos, or central Pa.

The kids still talk about how much fun we had playing in the snow back in Maryland and how we would huddle near the fireplace in the basement to warm up.

I am getting a little misty-eyed just writing that. My youngest was telling me how much he missed those days as we drove over to Cape Henlopen State Park with our dog to go for a walk this past weekend.

As we drove past the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal, he looked over and spotted a Ferris wheel.

“Hey, I have never been on a Ferris wheel before,” he said.

“No, you haven’t.” I said. “Would you like to go?”

“Yes!”

What Delmarva lacks in snow and mountains it more than makes up for in creative events and holiday experiences. Here some ideas and must-do activities on Delmarva during the winter.

Winter Wonderfest: The kids and I went last year to the light show at Cape Henlopen State Park. It was nice we could bundle up and listen to Christmas music while we took in the lights. The kids and I did not stop by Cape May-Lewes Ferry Last year to check out the holiday village. This year, we will be sure to stop by. They have an ice skating rink and if you are interested, they will even give lessons. They also have the Ferris wheel, a major selling point for the youngest child. Wonderfest opened on November 17th and ends December 31st. The light spectacular costs $15 for cars and $30 for vans. The ice rink is a pretty good deal it is $8 for skaters 12 years old and younger and $10 for skaters 13 and older. What is really neat about Wonderfest is that all the proceeds are used to benefit local nonprofits. Last year, the group that organizes the event awarded $100,000 worth of grants to local nonprofits. So you can feel pretty good that your $15 for the lights spectacular is getting put to good use. For details: wonderfestde.org

Santa will be there the day after Thanksgiving

Rehoboth Beach Tree Lighting: The tree lighting takes place on Friday, November 24th, at the bandstand in downtown Rehoboth. I have to admit we have never been to the tree lighting before in downtown Rehoboth Beach. But, we love the boardwalk and we will make it a point to go. The ceremony this year features singing by performers from Clear Space Theatre. The singing begins at 6:30 p.m. and the lights on the tree will be flipped on at 7 p.m. Make sure to stop by Santa’s House on the Boardwalk. Santa will be available at his house starting at 4 p.m. the day of the tree lighting. After the tree lighting ceremony, Clear Space Theatre will be performing Miracle on 34th Street. The Rehoboth Beach Holiday Farmer’s Market at Grove Park also will open on Saturday, November 25th, between noon and 3 p.m. Details: beach-fun.com

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Ok. This is up state in Wilmington at The Grand. The show is on Sunday, November 26th, at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. My daughter loves Rudolph. In fact, she has asked Santa to bring her a charm from Rudolph for Christmas, so we may head up state for this one. Tickets are $33 and $47. Details: TheGrandWilmington.org

Miracle on 34th Street at Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Carriage Rides & Santa: The Farm Stand at The Givens is offering $5 carriage rides through Millsboro on December 9th, starting at 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Santa will be available between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. This sounds neat. Tickets need to be purchased in advance. Details: The Farmstand at Givens .

Christmas at The Train Station: The Historic Train Station in Georgetown is opening its doors on Saturday, December 9th, to show off its model trains. The event will also feature caroling. It is free. Georgetown, if you have never been, has some beautiful old houses. We will do this. It is free and what kid does not love trains? Husbands seem to like them, too. For details: http://www.georgetowntrainstation.org

These are just a few ideas of what is going on over the holidays on Delmarva. There are plenty more, and I am sure the list will grow. If we are lucky, may be it will even snow.

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Hablo Español?

One of the nice things about living on Delmarva is that even though we are at the beach and the area is largely rural,  it has a very diverse feel to it.

Sometimes, I joke that it is  Florida North. It is not uncommon to go to the grocery store and hear people speak Spanish or head to the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach or eat at a restaurant in Lewes and hear Russian or Romanian spoken.

Delaware is a small state, but it still manages to have a very international feel to it.

This is very important to me because I want my kids to grow up knowing that the world is a big place. I want them to experience as much of it as they can. Part of experiencing the world is experiencing the people who live in it. I want them to be able to relate to everybody. I want them to be able to experience other people’s cultures and languages.

The really cool thing about Delaware is that the schools also embrace other cultures. This year, kindergarten students in the district where my kids go to school are learning Spanish along with English. I think that is fantastic. My only regret is that my kids are in the first-grade and third-grades and are missing out on a chance to become fluent in a second language.

I am not giving up, though. Before we moved to Delaware, nearly two years ago, we borrowed some Spanish discs from the library and listened as we drove to school and to the grocery store, etc. The kids loved it. I did, too. We actually learned some Spanish. Granted, we can only say “No, No es un grande coache,” but at least we can say “No, no big car.”

Lewes Library Lewes Delaware

 

I have searched in the library in Lewes and in Milton for the Spanish discs that we used in Maryland, but I couldn’t find it.

I recently bought some discs from a local shop in Rehoboth Beach, but the Spanish is  focused on travel questions and was too fast for us to catch on. So the search continues.

Here are some other options I came up with in case you want to help yourself or your children learn Spanish.

The local library

We love the library. They have everything you need to learn just about anything. If they don’t have what you are looking for they will check other libraries and find it. They sure are nice, and it is all for free. The price of admission is your residency and driver’s license. The libraries at the Delaware beaches offer books for kids in Spanish. So, we will try that. In Sussex County, DE kids can even Dial-A-Story in English or Spanish. To use Dial-A-Story, call (302) 856-3535 or (302) 856-3536. We will give that a try, too.

The library also offers Spanish conversation groups, but the groups do not fit our schedule. Our library also offers online courses. I found one on Babble. It is fun and easy.

Want to learn Spanish? Check your local library, because chances are they either offer some opportunities for you to speak with others or at a minimum, they have books, discs and perhaps even some computer games.

Mass Media

On Delmarva, a large portion of the population speaks Spanish. We have radio stations that are dedicated to Spanish speakers. Sometimes, when I am in my car I will put on the station and just listen. I am finding that I understand some of what is being said. The local television group also has added several Spanish stations to the mix. While I have not watched those stations, I have watched “How I Met Your Mother” in Spanish. It is still funny in any language.

YouTube 

Is there anything better than YouTube? You can learn just about anything from YouTube. When my kids struggled with phonics. We turned to YouTube and found Geraldine the Giraffe. My kids learned phonics and reading became much easier. So, we are going to try something similar for Spanish. I have already found a few channels that we are going to try. I like Spanish for Kids. There are others, but I figure we would start here. It is a little long, though.

Spanish Apps

I have headed over to Google Play and downloaded some free Spanish apps. If your kids are like mine, they love paying with your phone and iPad. So now they can learn some Spanish and I can, too. I downloaded Spanish Solo. It was free. It tells you phrases and it allows you to speak into the app. If you pronounce the lessons correctly it gives you a check. If not, you get an X. My kids are goofs and they will probably go for speaking into the phone.

Spanish Workbooks

Ok, I am a true geek when it comes to books. The more books the better. I found some Spanish coloring books that I believe me kids will like. We love to color and work on art projects, so this is right up our alley. Best of all the coloring books are inexpensive. They are actually cheaper than regular coloring books. I really like Dover Little Activity Books. We will give this a try.

Speak Spanish

With so many Spanish speakers on Delmarva, this one seems obvious. Just say Hola and see if some of the people you meet who speak Spanish will teach you a few words. We are trying this. Little by little we are hoping to build our conversational skills.

If you have any ideas or strategies on how to learn or teach your child a second language, please add your ideas in the comment section.

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Plum Beach Island

Delmarva, particularly, the Delaware side has plenty of beautiful scenery. It is quiet. It is peaceful. The beaches are not like the ones I grew up with. I grew up going to beach towns with high rises, condos and Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Myrtle Beach, S.C., this section of the East Coast of the United States, it is not. The beaches in Delaware, particularly on the Delaware Bay side, are unspoiled. Plants grow in their natural state, birds migrating up and down the East Coast stop here for a layover in the marshes. It is hard to decide which beach is better on Delmarva. They are all pretty beautiful, but I think I have found my new favorite: Plum Beach Island.

Plum Beach Island, Delaware is quiet, peaceful and secluded.

This secluded little beach is out of the way, sandwiched between Broadkill Beach and Lewes Beach. To get there, you have to head toward Broadkill Beach, turn right at the Broadkill Store and then continue to drive until you have reached the end of the road, and there it is: Plum Beach Island. It is beautiful, peaceful and we have yet to see a crowd of people.

Plum Beach has a little parking lot and a small path leading to the beach. If you love nature and quiet this is the place for you. The views are spectacular. The beach opens up into the Delaware Bay, where you can watch the ships heading for Wilmington or out to the Atlantic Ocean. From the beach, you can see a wind turbine off in a short distance in Lewes. It is pretty cool looking.

The waters off of Plum Beach are pretty calm because it is on the bay side. If you do not have strong swimmers in your family, the waters off Plum Beach are pretty tame. The scenery is what makes this place worth the visit. It is beautiful.

Wildflowers grow on a long winding path leading to the beach. On the right-hand side of the path is a marsh, where Herons and other birds migrating up and down the East Coast stop.

Plum Beach Island is surrounded by Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, which includes wetlands.

Delaware is a very ecologically-friendly state. If you visit any of the state parks, like Plum Beach Island, or Cape Henlopen State Park, you won’t find a lot of trash cans. They offer you bags and you are expected to take your trash with you. We live pretty close so we have never really brought much with us; just our dog, Bandit. He loves it there.

You are expected to pick up after your dog, too. The people who vacation or live near Plum Island and Broadkill Beach are a pretty tight-knit and they take preserving the pristine beaches near their homes seriously. They are also really nice, too. So as the sign says in nearby Broadkill Beach: “Leave only your footprints.”

If you go, here are some things you may want to consider bringing: a blanket, towels, sunscreen, binoculars, and a change of clothing. My one son says he does not “like” to go to the beach, but every time we go he always ends up jumping in the surf. The beach has portable bathrooms, so you could always change there if you aren’t staying in one of the nearby houses.

 

Secluded Plum Beach Island is often forgotten. It is off the beaten path before Lewes.

This is a day trip for us, but the houses along the bay our rented out. Even though we live nearby. My kids and I joke that we want to rent one of the houses. I am seriously thinking that I might one weekend just for the views.

You also want to bring a cooler with snacks if you plan on staying for a while. This beach is not near any boardwalk, so no Thrasher’s Fries here. The closest store is The Broadkill Store, which is about a mile away. The store is only open during the summer “Season.”

The sunsets are gorgeous in Delaware from almost any location, but they are particularly gorgeous at this secluded spot.

If you are a budding photographer, this is a must-see spot. My son had a lot of fun snapping pictures with my iPhone. Perhaps, I am biased, but I think he is a pretty good shooter. Delaware is home to a lot of very talented photographers. It is no wonder. The wildlife, the water, the beautiful sunrises, and sunsets were meant to be photographed. So, be sure to pack your iPhone, digital camera, drone or instant camera. This really is a photographers’ paradise.

 

If you decide to stay in one of the beach houses along Plum Island or Broadkill Beach know that you will be away from the crowds, but not too far from civilization. Lewes and its restaurants are about six miles down the road. So are other amenities such as the movie theater, a bounce house, and a bowling alley. Rehoboth Beach is also about 12 miles away.

If you are looking for quiet family time and to reconnect. This is indeed the place.  My kids were content jumping in the waves with our dog and writing silly messages in the sand.  I could imagine if we did rent a house for a weekend, we would roast marshmallows in the bonfire we built and play flashlight tag on the beach.

Scrolling messages in the sand on Plum Beach Island State Park, Delaware.

The kids also loved finding shells on the beach and horseshoe crabs, which are always kind of neat. Horseshoe crabs are abundant in the Delaware Bay. There is also plenty of other plants and wildlife to marvel over, too. I think I love this place. If you are a fan of peace and quiet you may love it, too.

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Fall is the best time to visit Delmarva

Before my husband and I had kids we loved visiting Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach in the fall.

Hotel and house rentals were suddenly much more affordable. The crowds were substantially less, and the weather was generally perfect.

We made it a point to head to a beach on Delmarva every September until the kids arrived and school became the priority.

 

It never dawned on me when we lived outside of Baltimore that we should head to the beach for a  weekend with the kids in September, or even in October for that matter. I wish we would have. Beyond the bargains and the perfect weather, there is still plenty to do and see on Delmarva during the start of fall and the end of summer.

The beach and the boardwalk are still options. The water is still warm, and a lot of stores and shops, at least at the Delaware Beaches, are staying open a little bit longer to try and extend as much of the “season” as they can. This is also the time of year where you can get bargains at the speciality shops that line the streets of Delmarva’s beach communities. I could easily go broke in downtown Rehoboth Beach. The shops have the cutest things.

Nanticoke 40th Annual Powwow Millsville, Delaware

Cultural festivals and special events also are in full swing. The weekend after Labor Day my kids and I hit the  40th Annual Nanticoke Indian Powwow in Millsboro. Then later that same afternoon, we headed over to Rehoboth Beach to the Sand Castle competition. The weather was perfect and it was just a really great day.

We were outside. We got to see dancers from different Native American tribes. We got to learn a little history and experience a different culture. We also got to ride on a tractor. Less than 20 minutes away, we got to hang out on the beach and check out the different sand sculptures. Teams crafted mermaids, crabs, sandcastles, of course, and even the Mystery Machine from Scooby Do. A really smart girl carved out the state of Delaware. She won in the kids’ group. She was sweet and let my youngest take a picture holding her trophy.

That is the thing about Delmarva, you could go to a powwow in the morning and end up at a sandcastle competition in the afternoon. There always is something going on; even when there is nothing going on.

Here are some other perks of visiting Delmarva in the fall:

  • Free parking: the meters, thankfully, have been turned off. Park wherever you like, it is free!!! If you have visited the beaches during the summer, then you know, this is huge! The parking meters in Rehoboth, for example, are expensive and annoying. Just charge me $20 for the day and be done with it. The meters are turned off in Rehoboth Beach and most other places by the second Sunday after Labor Day.

 

  • Dogs allowed: Starting Oct. 1st leashed dogs are allowed on practically all of the beaches. This is great news for us because we just got a rescue dog from First State Shelter in Camden. Our dog loves the beach and swimming. People on Delmarva LOVE dogs, so you will find most outdoor restaurants will allow you and your pup to sit outside. A lot of restaurants even put out water bowls and dog treats for furry tourists. Plenty of hotels and even rentals will let you bring your dog.

 

  • Less traffic: If you have ever driven down to the Delaware beaches or Ocean City, Md. from Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York  and have used Coastal Highway during the summer you have experienced the “beach traffic.” Immediately following Labor Day weekend, the traffic is far, far less. You can pretty much zip along to anywhere you want to go with little to no waiting. Yay!

 

  • Inexpensive lodging: Whether you are staying a hotel, inn, renting a beach house or staying at a cabin at one of the state parks, the rates are going to be substantially lower because it is now the off season.

 

  • Deals abound: Now is the best time to stroll the streets of the downtown beaches. Most of the shops, if not all, are still open and they have substantially marked their goods down. If you are going to towns such as Bethany Beach or Rehoboth Beach, you are going to find a lot more than beach towels. We are talking one-of-a-kind art work, clothes, jewelry and toys.

 

  • Fewer crowds: This is the best part. There is plenty of elbow room. There are still a lot of people  taking advantage of the off-season rates and weather, but there is room to move. It is, dare I say it, the best time of year at the beach.

 

  • Fall Festivals: Once summer is over, the chambers, nonprofits and farms hold events such as Rehoboth Beach’s Sandcastle Competition, outdoor movies on the farm, the Sea Witch Festival, Zombiefest and evening hayrides at Killens Pond State Park. The list goes on and on.

 

  • Nature Trails: Delaware is largely underdeveloped. Nature centers abound once you cross the bridge from the northern part of the state. Delaware Bay and the nature centers like Dupont Nature Center outside of Milford and Prime Hook outside of Milton attract all sorts of shore birds on their way to or from the North and South. Dolphins can be seen jumping in the bay waters off Lewes and Rehoboth.

 

  • Historical Sites: Delmarva is rich in culture and history. In Cambridge, Maryland, people can visit places such as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad. In Lewes, Delaware, Fort Miles still has the barracks and towers that were used by U.S. troops keeping the East Coast safe during World War II. In Virginia, learn about life on the eastern shore at the Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown. There is a lot of history on Delmarva. Now is the perfect time to discover it.

 

  • Federal Parks: Delmarva is home to some amazing federal parks. In Maryland, Assateague is amazing. You can see wild horses in their habitat. In Delaware, Prime Hook is a great place to fish and watch birds. In Virginia, Chincoteague has a lighthouse and wild horses. It is cool.

There are probably at least 20 more reasons to love Delmarva in the fall, but these are just a few.

 

Lightship Overfalls

Canal Park in Lewes, DE. has got to be one the best parks on Delmarva. It has nearly everything. It has basketball. It has tennis courts. It has a playground with a shade covering. (Thank you!) It has a baseball diamond. It has the canal. It has a fishing pier. But best of all, it has Lightship Overfalls.

What exactly is the Lightship Overfalls?

It is a floating museum that was painstakingly restored by the community. Actually, it was once a floating lighthouse. This particular ship was in service in the New England area between the 1930s up until it was taken out of service in 1972. The ship was given to the Lewes Historical Society by the U.S. Coast Guard and was eventually taken over by the Overfalls Foundation.

The kids and I had wanted to check out the ship, but every time we went to the park it was always out of season. So we had to wonder what the Lightship Overfalls was all about and admire it from afar.

Then at the spur of the moment, we decided to head over to Lewes and Canal Park. This time, the Lightship Overalls was open. We were in business. We chatted with a nice lady in the tiny gift shop, jotted down our name in a book, paid our $5 and headed on board the Overfalls.

It was money well spent. We were paired with a docent, a. local volunteer, who gave us the tour. He walked us through the ship, which was primarily used nearly a century ago. We walked down the metal steps from the deck to the sleeping quarters and the mess hall. Everything on the ship looked as though maybe those who served just got up and walked away.

The kids loved it and the docent was great. He answered each and every one of their many, many questions. We got to see where the crew washed their laundry, ate their meals, showered. We even learned that they had to sleep to the endless sound of a siren. I cannot imagine.

Then we headed up to the control room, where the docent let my son and daughter ring the bell. They were thrilled. Then we walked to the back of the boat, where I snapped pictures of the kids next to the life preservers on the boat. We looked out over the canal and then headed off the boat to play in Canal Park.

If you find yourself in Lewes or Cape Henlopen State Park between Memorial Day and early October, be sure to check out Lightship Overfalls. If you are interested in Maritime history, or if you just like boats. It is a cool little museum on the canal. The docents are great. The kids loved listening to the volunteers recount history. It also gets your kids off their devices, out in the fresh air and learning a little bit about history. For us, that is a win, win, and a win.

Here is what you need to know if you plan on going:

  • The ship is open Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend every day, but Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • After Labor Day, the ship is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until early October.
  • If you want to take a group tour out-of-season, think a class trip or some such, contact the volunteers at the foundation. Here is a link to their website. Click here.
  • Parking is free at Canal Park.
  • Admission is $5.
  • Bring your camera or phone for photo opportunities.
  • Enjoy!

 

Broadkill Beach: small, quiet and welcoming

Delaware Bay

 

When we decided we were moving to Slower Lower Delaware instead of “upstate” Delaware, the kids and I drove to Sussex County and met my husband and a realtor just outside of Milton.

We had been to Rehoboth Beach twice in the nearly two decades that we lived outside of Baltimore. Although we were on Coastal Highway, I had no idea where we were.

The kids and I had to drive back to Maryland that day. It was my job to sell them on moving to Delaware. The beach would make a great selling point. I did not realize how close we were to Rehoboth Beach or Lewes’ beach. I saw a sign for Broadkill Beach and drove in that direction. We passed over Route 1, a.k.a. Coastal Highway, and headed down a country road that led to Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and then to Broadkill Beach, a sanctuary for the Horseshoe Crab.

It was fall, October actually, we parked the car and my kids ran up a mountain of sand and then down to the beach. They kicked off their shoes and ran into the water. It could literally be 20 degrees and these kids would go swimming in the ocean if you let them. Actually, at Broadkill Beach, you are swimming in the Delaware Bay.

We met a very nice lady and her young son. After talking to her for a while, I was convinced that moving to Delaware and living near the beach would not be so bad after all.

Since moving to Delaware, we have been to Broadkill Beach many times. It is laid back, low-key and virtually stress-free.

Want to have a bonfire on the beach? Broadkill Beach is unincorporated. Want to bring your dog? As far as we could tell, that seems to be Ok.

We have sometimes been in downtown Milton and have decided to pop over to Broadkill Beach. We don’t have to fight beach traffic. The beach isn’t crowded like some of the other beaches in the area. There is a tiny sandy lot to park across the street from the Broadkill store. We have never had trouble finding a spot. There are beach houses that line the shore. Those lucky people have peace and quiet and the bay to look out at.

If I ever had a family get together or reunion I would love to rent one of those houses. I would have a bonfire and New England-style clam bake on the beach. It really is like having a private beach. One day, I may do it just to do it.

A flag waves over Broadkill Beach, Delaware on the Delaware Bay.

Everyone at this beach is super nice. I met a lady from the Philadelphia suburbs. I believe I know her entire life’s story. She told me that the bay is not deep at all. She said that her kids walked way out and could still touch the bottom.

I will take her word for it. I am more of a float kind of gal and I will stick close to shore.

A few beach houses line the shores of Broadkill Beach, DE. The beach has a very private feel to it.

If you are looking for some laid back, seriously no hassle, kind of off the grid sort of beach fun, consider Broadkill Beach, it is as low-key as it gets.

Broadkill Beach is a horseshoe crab sanctuary. The crabs make their way onto the shore to mate.

If you, or your kids, are into science and biology. Who isn’t? Broadkill Beach is also a horseshoe crab sanctuary. Unfamiliar with the mighty horseshoe crab? No worries.

The horseshoe crab is one of the oldest animals on earth. Up close they look a little intimidating. Although they are “crabs,” they have more in common with the spider, biologically speaking, than other crabs. The horseshoe crabs also have blue blood. Weird, huh? The blood is considered valuable and used in the biomedical field.

The people who live in Milton. Love the horseshoe crab. They also like to help each other out. It comes as no surprise they would encourage beachgoers to help the crab if it gets turned over.

Horseshoe crabs tend to get tossed around by the waves and can easily get flipped over onto their backs. When they do they could die. So, be kind. If you see one struggling on its back. Flip it back over onto its belly. Just don’t touch its tale, because you will hurt it if you do.

Oh, and if you happen to flip one of the horseshoe crabs back over. You will be a hero to your kids because you saved the crab.

Want to learn more about the Horseshoe Crab?  Click here.

Want to learn more about Broadkill Beach, why not take a road trip? It is just off Route 1 South, or Coastal Highway in Milton, DE.  Enjoy!

Broadkill Beach is great. Just don’t forget to take your trash.

 

Welcome to The Nation’s Summer Capital

Welcome to the Nation’s Summer Capital

As you drive into Rehoboth Beach, DE., a sign greets you letting you know this is “The Nation’s Summer Capital.” Yup. Think the Hamptons for the Washington, D.C. crowd. This vibrant beach town is growing in popularity and is no longer the sleepy destination it once was. It has become pretty cosmopolitan.

Rehoboth Beach is located about a two and half hour drive from Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. If you are not interested in driving, you can pick up a DART bus in Wilmington, DE and avoid the beach traffic altogether. If you are heading down from New York or New Jersey, you can take your car on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which drops you off in Lewes, six miles from Rehoboth Beach. It really is easy to get here.

 

Where to stay

Rehoboth Beach is unlike other beach towns because there are not a lot of hotels. If you are planning a trip here, you need to rent a house. The town is a series of charming cottages and beautiful estate-like retreats. House tours are very popular here. If you are looking for a beach rental check with Jack Lingo Real Estate. They handle most of the beach rentals in Rehoboth Beach. Although probably not the most kid-friendly option, The Boardwalk Plaza Hotel is magnificent. If you are doing a couples-only vacation, this hotel offers beautiful views and a Victorian setting. You will feel pampered. The Bellmoor Inn and Spa is also a good option.  Both hotels are upscale with a historic feel. If you are looking to unwind with children and beach house rental is your best bet.

Where to eat

Rehoboth Beach is a foodie’s town. This is the town where sous chefs from D.C. come and open their own restaurants. You really cannot go wrong with almost any restaurant you pick, but most of the restaurants are catering to sophisticated pallets. If you traveling with kids, here is a list of kid-friendly places to eat:

  • Arena’s offers burgers, salads and other fare in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Louie’s Pizza. My kids love their pizza and fries. They are also less than a block from the boardwalk.
  • GrandPa (Mac) offers whatever kind of pasta you can dream up, and of course, everybody’s favorite Mac and Cheese.
  • The Green Turtle offers pub fare and beach views. Your kids can be kids here. So you can relax.
  • Obie’s by the Sea. We are talking burgers, hot dogs and fries and steamed shrimp. If you go here, you are going for the ocean view and a quick escape if you have cranky kids.

If it is just you and your significant other, you can’t really go wrong with just about any restaurant in downtown. But, here are some romantic spots to consider.

  • Victoria’s at the Boardwalk Plaza. I plan on taking my husband there for his birthday. You can sit outside while you listen to someone play steel drums or the guitar. Think white linens and water goblets. It oozes romance.
  • DiFebo’s on Baltimore Avenue offers Italian fare in a street café setting. It lacks ocean views, but the open-air setting will make you feel like you are at a café in Paris or New York.
  • Fin’s Fish House & Raw Bar on Rehoboth Avenue because who comes to the beach and doesn’t eat fish? Vegetarians. Sorry. Go to Fin’s if you would like seafood.

What to do

You can ride bikes on Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk in the morning. Great way to start your morning.

The better question is what can’t you do in Rehoboth Beach? You can, of course, play on the beach. Rehoboth Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in the country. Rehoboth Beach and nearby Dewey Beach have been recognized by the National Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, as being among the top 13 Superstar beaches for their perfect swimming water quality.  You can rent bicycles right on the boardwalk at Atlantic Cycles. Rehoboth Beach allows bikes to be ridden on the board walk between the hours of 8 am and 10 am. May 15th through Sept. 15th.

You can check out the beach arcades. Skee Ball is plentiful on the boardwalk. You can see a show at Clear Space Theatre. It is one block away from the boardwalk. Each summer, the theatre brings in actors and actresses from New York City to perform shows such as “A Chorus Line,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Legally Blonde.” They even offer one-week theatre camps for kids. My daughter did the 101 Dalmatians camp. She loved it.

If you have a YMCA membership, stop by the Sussex Family YMCA for some pool or gym time. They even offer yoga on the beach, Monday through Friday, at 8 a.m. in front of the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel.

No trip to Rehoboth Beach would be complete without visiting Funland. Funland has it all: Skee ball, bumper cars, a haunted mansion, Superflip and boats and similar rides for smaller kids. Tickets for rides are 35 cents each. You can pick up a book of 50 tickets for $15. We rode the bumper cars the other night. It cost of 5 tickets per person, or $1.50 each. If you have multiple kids, Funland is a bargain.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy yourself. As they say in Rehoboth, “Relax, you are at the beach.”

 

 

 

 

 

What’s On Tap?

DiscoveringDelmarva.com

 

Last week, we became the tourists and headed out of Delmarva and on up to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Sometimes, you just have to discover something else besides Delmarva. Our apologies. We also experienced a few technical difficulties. Summer is in full swing, and if you are in need of some ideas to get the most out of it here are just a few coming up this week on Delmarva. We are going to include some events that are happening through the week, because, well, why not?

Delaware

Saturday, July 22nd, The Seafood & Arts Festival is from 10 am to 6 pm at Delaware Seashore State Park at 39415 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach.

Sunday, July 23rd, Darrius RuckerDelaware State Fair. The show is from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm I have only heard Darrius Rucker’s country stuff a few times, but I once saw him play with Hootie and The Blowfish at Elon University. It was a great show.

Monday, July 24th, Gabriel Iglesias,  Delaware State Fair at 8 pm to 10 pm 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, Delaware 19952. Go see Gabriel Iglesias in case you are in need of a laugh.

 

Maryland

Saturday, July 22nd, The Peach-Fuzztival. Get it? Hosted by the Ocean Pines Farmers’ Market 239 Ocean Parkway, Berlin, Maryland 21811. The event will also feature music and other entertainment.

Sunday, July 23rd, Greese, the movie starts at 8:30 pm at Stephen Decatur Park and Town of Berlin Maryland. The park is located at Tripoli St. & Route 113 in Berlin. Long for simpler times? Go see Greese.

 Thursday, July 27th,  Next Generation at Richardson Maritime Museum.
This is a historical event. The event is from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. The Richardson Maritime Museum is located at 401 High St., Cambridge
Virginia

Sunday, July 23rd, The 92nd Annual Chincoteague VFD Carnival and Pony Penning. The carnival is from 7 am until 11 pm

Monday, July 24th, at 6 am Pony Beach Walk in Chincoteague. In preparation for Wednesday’s Pony Swim, at day break, the Saltwater Cowboys will move the ponies from the Northern Corral out to the beachfront then south along the Atlantic Ocean. Be at the Assateague Beach by 6 am Park in the beachfront parking lots and follow the crowds.

Thursday, July 27th, The Pony Auction. The auction begins at 8 am. The auction takes place at the Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival.

 

Disney classics, the boardwalk and Rehoboth beach

Hand Drawn by Hannah Bellistri

One of the things that amazed me when we moved to Delmarva was just how vibrant the arts community is. People on Delmarva really love art. Who knew there was so much culture at the beach?

In Dover, the Biggs Museum is a must-see stop. They recently had an Ansel Adams exhibit. It has more furniture than paintings, but it is still an unexpected gem in the middle of Delmarva. Sadly, the Schwartz Center closed in downtown Dover. I was fortunate enough to tour the building before it did. It is magnificent. Hopefully, someone with an entrepreneurial mind and spirit will reopen the Schwartz and turn it into an enterprise that matches the grand building.

Pinocchio and Snow White at Clear Space Theatre at Rehoboth Beach

Further South, Sussex County has art galleries, a film society, craftsman who make furniture and jewelry, photographers who take some of the most amazing wildlife still photographs I have ever seen and live theatre. Sussex County has a lot to offer in the dramatic arts department. In the western part of the county, there is Possum Point Players in Georgetown. Then, there is the Rehoboth Children’s Theatre. Last, but far from least, there is Clear Space Theatre. Full disclosure, I am partial to Clear Space. I have ties there. The work they do is well-regarded and the people involved in the theatre are nothing short of amazing. The theatre also is located on the same block as the Atlantic Ocean in Rehoboth Beach. That is not too shabby.

So what’s my point? Well, this blog is about discovering fun things to do for families either living on Delmarva or for families who are just visiting.

If you have kids and you happen to live or visit Sussex County, Clear Space Theatre has a neat program on Saturdays throughout the summer. They are offering kids’ shows for $5. Children are encouraged to come sit on stage while they watch the show.

hand drawn coloring page by local artist Hannah Bellistri

  • Every Saturday at 11 a.m., the theatre will perform either Pinocchio or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The company will alternate shows. Admission is $5. 

I have three kids. That is a steal. I cannot get out of a movie theater for less than $100. I am very excited about the prospect of taking my kids to these shows. Here is what I plan: Pack up the car, or maybe give DART a try, go see the show, afterward get a little lunch on the boardwalk, then play at the beach.  If we take the bus, I do not have to worry about driving or parking in Rehoboth Beach. Win, Win, Win. Here is a link to the bus schedule. If you have driven in beach traffic, the bus may just save your sanity.

Clear Space also has children’s summer camps. The kids in the camps also will perform free shows on Friday throughout the summer. My daughter is signed up for 101 Dalmatians. Those performances also are at 11 a.m. on Fridays. My sons watched my daughter at rehearsal this week. They wanted to stay and watch the show. I was impressed. They wanted to stay and watch the show.

Here is the lineup of  the free shows:

July 14:  101 Dalmatians  11:00 am and Noon
July 21:  The Lion King Experience  11:00 am and Noon
July 28:  Witches Britches Rings & Things 11:00 am and Noon
August 4:  High School Musical 11:00 am and 12:30 pm
August 11: Hairspray 11:00 am and 12:30 pm

The Little Mermaid Musical is performed at Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth Beach

The Little Mermaid also just opened at Clear Space. We missed opening night, but we saw the second performance on July 6th. It was amazing. My three kids sat quietly through the entire show and that is saying a lot. They were thoroughly entertained. The show is visually stunning. The eels light up and Ursula is spot on. If you are visiting and have kids or grandkids, I would recommend taking them to this show. They also will have a chance to meet Ariel after the show, where she will hand out coloring pages for The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, and Snow White. The coloring sheets were hand drawn by a local artist, Hannah Bellistri.

Hannah Bellistri, Sussex County artist.

If you are looking for something to do with the little ones while visiting the beach, this is worth checking out.

 

What’s on Tap?

It is Friday night. We are way, way behind in posting what is going on this weekend. Summer is most assuredly in full swing. A LOT of people are visiting this week. We are starting to wonder if this is really slower lower. It’s been a little busier than usual. Perhaps that is because half of New Jersey decided to visit. We don’t blame them. The beaches here are beautiful. They are open and they are free. Nope. You don’t need badges here. We also have a great governor. He is really very nice. No lie. We have met him. Anyway, if you procrastinate or you just want some ideas of different things to do during your visit here are some options.

Delaware

Saturday, July 8th: The 37th Annual Sandcastle Contest. The contest starts at 9:30 p.m. and lasts until 2 p.m. at Delaware Seashore State Park. The park is located between Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach. The annual Sandcastle Contest at the South Inlet Day Area. There will be a professional sand sculptor demonstration, beach-themed crafts and activities for children, the 50th-anniversary park history exhibit, and a special demo put on by the State Park Beach Patrol! The whole event (including contest entry) is free to the public with paid park entry! For more information, call (302) 227-6991. This is a bargain and your kids will love it.

Saturday, July 8th: The 23rd Annual Nanticoke Riverfest. This is an all day event in Seaford and it sounds like fun. It starts at 9 a.m. and wraps up around 9 p.m. There are canoe and kayak races, float-ins, a car show and a youth fishing tournament. It seriously sounds like there is a bit if something for everyone. We may have to check this out.

Sunday, July 9th, Moon Circle is being hosted by Dimitra Yoga.  Yoga, Singing Bowls, Shamanic Ceremony, Meditation, and Bonfire. This event is $35. It runs from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Lewes Beach on Savannah Road, just across from the Dairy Queen. The special Moon Circle gatherings are timed with the phases of the moon so you can experience first-hand the transformational energies of our celestial neighbor. Attuning yourself to the phases of the moon can become a powerful touchstone for setting intentions, navigating the stresses of tumultuous times, and for discovering NEW actions that you can to support yourself and the world you so deeply care about.

Maryland

Sunday, July 9th, Maryland Dove visits the Chesapeake Bay Maritime MuseumThe Maryland Dove, Historic St. Mary’s Floating Ambassador.   This event is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum at213 N Talbot St, Saint Michaels, Md. The Maryland Dove arrived at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Thursday, July 6, and can be seen out on the Miles River and dockside through Monday, July 10. Local school groups will be touring the ship, with Dove open for boarding to all CBMM guests from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. July 8 – 10. Free public access will be available on July 8 from 5 – 8:00 pm.

Sunday, July 9th, Berlin Concert on the Lawn _ Chesapeake Brass Band. This event is hosted by the town of Berlin. The concert is being held at 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum at 208 N. Main St., Berlin.

Sunday, July 9th, Full Moon Yoga.  Hosted by Assateague Island Alliance (AIA) The event is being held from 8 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Experience Assateague’s peaceful surroundings, clear your mind and exercise your body while the full moon rises over the ocean. Practice is led by our amazing instructor Chrissy Ehrhart of Zenna Wellness Studio. Free but park entrance fees are in effect. All levels welcome! BYO beach towel, insect repellent is recommended just in case. Meet at the shade pavilion in North Beach parking lot. 6633 Bayberry Dr. Berlin, MD 21811 If you can’t make it this Sunday they will have two more sessions this summer! August 7 at 8 pm and September 7 at 7 pm. Very zen.

Virginia

Saturday, July 8th, Chincoteague Island KOA, Christmas in July, noon until 6 p.m. Spend time with Santa poolside and snap your holiday vacation photo. Trim a palm tree to make him feel at home while he’s away. Enjoy a fireside Christmas story with S’mores for the kids, and decorate your campsite for the Christmas decorating contest. All in all, this will be a great family fun weekend to help spread the yuletide cheer this summer while Santa is on vacation! KOA will be collecting canned foods to donate to a local charity this weekend as well!

Saturday, July 8th, Star gazing at Wise Point Boat Ramp! Hosted by Eastern Shore of VA and Fisherman Island NWR. This event is from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Telescopes will be provided for visitors to view stars and planets. Feel free to bring your own. Bring bug spray as well. This event is Free and open to all ages. The event is going to be held at 32205 Seaside Road, Cape Charles, Va.

Sunday, July 8th, Art in a Barn by Experimental Film Virginia. Hosted by Art Soaked Weekends.   This event is from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. This is being held at Bill Parr’s Seaview Creek Farm at 24021 Seaside Road, Cape Charles, Va. 23310.  Live Music & Performances with special guests. Local Food, Wine, Beer for purchase. Tickets $10, free admission 18 and under (includes performances, one drink ticket, and free wine tasting). Rain or Shine. 6 PM-10 PM (757.331.GEAR)

This is a casual event, takes place at a 100-year-old restored barn. Come ready to enjoy picnic-style food with local wines and beers featured at our cash bar. Meet people from the Virginia Oyster Trail, the Virginia Film Office as well as special guests. Performances happen throughout the evening featuring the international and local talent of Experimental Film Virginia including Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer (presenting the interactive media and dance film piece called “Truck”), Italian artist Stefano Giorgi, Virginia Opera’s Ann Carolyn-Bird, Italian dance company Balletto Teatro di Torino and harpist Federica Magliano.

It is a great chance to mix and mingle with all the artists of Experimental Film Virginia, in residence for two weeks making films in and around Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

So, if you are looking something that goes beyond the boardwalk or the beach here are but a few suggestions. Have a great weekend.