Wanderlust Wednesday – Rehoboth Beach

Dr. V came down to Delaware while I was spending the month as a research fellow at Winterthur (see some posts on my time there here and here). We decided on a day trip down to Rehoboth Beach for some throwback beach fun. Dr. V, Puerto Rican born and raised, generally makes fun of mainlander concepts of beach. “You have coast, not beach.”

I’m not a beach person. I don’t like laying out in the sun. I wear a swimsuit about twice a year. It had been over 30 years since my last trip to Rehoboth Beach with my grandparents to see my grandmother’s aunt. All I remember of her was her claw foot bathtub in a sagging Victorian cottage typical of Rehoboth. I remembered going to The Avenue restaurant in the 1970s, a wood-paneled joint complete with cigarette vending machine which fascinated my five-year-old self. On this trip, I didn’t have any expectations except for some kitsch and salt air.

And yet we had a great time. The drive down reminded me a lot of my childhood, passing farm market stands and crab decks. Some lolling under the beach umbrella to the sound of the waves, remembering how to jump over or dive through waves and not get ground into the sand, beach tchotchkes and skee ball, the big “Dolly’s” taffy sign perched on the store at the entry to the boardwalk (somehow much smaller than I remember as a kid).  Don’t buy Grotto pizza on the Boardwalk – it’s tiny, more expensive than a New York slice at $3, and tastes like it came out of a Chef Boyardee box – remember the crust mix, canned sauce, and powdered cheese? On a lark we went to Dogfish Head’s restaurant (we were parked at that end of town and wanted to make a quick getaway afterward). That was a joke – they make great beer, but the food was pointless. I think they expect people to drink so much they won’t notice. If you want good food at a brewery, go to Iron Hill.

The people watching is supreme. Veteran beach bums, kids building legendary sand forts (at least to themselves, and that’s what counts), four pasty women in bikinis and goggles holding hands tiptoeing into the water, teens that really should seek a little more coverage (which gave me an interesting perspective on my own teenage past – eek).

We relaxed so much, I didn’t take hardly any photos. The point about the beach is to not think too hard about it.


RL Fifield, 2013.


About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.