The heart of the beach
The sun was just beginning to set at about half past eight when I began my walk back from the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand to my friend's house on Munson Street. It’s a bit of a walk, but I was taking it slow and enjoying myself, stopping to pause on the Avenue to take in the sight of people enjoying ice cream, petting their dogs, or buying a tub of popcorn.
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This was a rare pleasure for me, finding myself alone for a relaxed stroll in Rehoboth. I live near Bethany Beach, so when I make my way into any given beach town, I usually park closest to where I am going. I get there and then leave. It leaves little time for evening strolls down sidewalks.
By the time I made my way off the main drag, though, the tone changed from the buzz of vacations and excitement and the setting sun to the tree-lined, quiet embrace of a neighborhood. I had walked this same way just a couple hours before, but I guess I didn’t notice it in my rush.
As I continued under the canopy of trees, I saw couples sitting on their porches reading books. Others were having evening drinks. Pet owners were giving their dogs a nightly walk, and lights flickered to life in the windows of the houses. It was a snapshot of an intimate, neighborhood setting at the beach, and all at once I felt myself falling in love with Rehoboth Beach in a way I hadn’t before.
I stopped for a moment and inhaled. It smelled like fresh-cut grass, the sea, and perhaps a touch of sunblock. I made a little vow to stop parking so close to where I needed to go and to take advantage of all the aspects that make a town so beloved.
The next week, I found myself again at the house on Munson Street with my friend, and this time we biked our way from Rehoboth to Dewey and back. As simple as it was to do, in all the years I have lived here, I had never had the opportunity to take that ride. It made me feel carefree and adventurous.
I feel invigorated for my sense of exploration in beach towns a little further from home. It’s funny because it’s a bit characteristic of our area. We become attached to our specific beach town and that is that. But what would happen if just for a day you visited Bethany or Lewes or Fenwick or any other place that isn’t quite your own?
Perhaps your perspective of a town or place might change. Perhaps you might fall in love with a new little spot, in a town you thought you already knew, as I have with Rehoboth.
So what are you waiting for? The heart of the beach is calling.