So started the internet research.
What's within a 3ish hour drive of DC? I started looking west. Surely there is some mountain get away with a pristine clear lake and a cute little cabin? I looked at Deep Creek Lake, Nemacolin, Wintergreen, and a bunch of other lake/mountain areas I had never heard of. I ended up feeling eh about all of them. Eh?
Then I turned east. Do we dare brave beach traffic on Memorial Day? And where to go? New Jersey? Delaware? Virginia? More internet research. Questions posed to Facebook. And ultimately, we decided on Delaware. Bethany Beach, Delaware, specifically.
I have always known that Delaware is a common beach destination for DCers. After all, it's only a 2-3 hour drive. It seems like nearly everyone I talk to rents a house there, has a house there, have friends who have a house there, etc. But my lack of knowledge has kept us from exploring the Delaware beaches for the eight years we have lived in the DC area.
It's time, I told my husband. We're going to Delaware.
We did. And now I have fallen in love. With Delaware.
Prior to moving to DC, all I really knew of Delaware was that Wayne's World clip. And corporate law. It certainly isn't universally known across the country as a tropical beach destination. It's just Delaware.
But ahhhhhhhhhh, Delaware is beautiful, people!
We booked a two bedroom condo at a place called Sea Colony. From the pictures, it didn't look that enticing. It is a community of poo brown condo towers.
|Photo taken from Wyndham Vacation Rentals.|
Not normally my cup of tea. It's a bit on the cheesy side, for sure. But it was right on the ocean, there were multiple pools, and the price was reasonable.
Poo brown and cheesy aside, our condo was awesome. Just look at our view!!!!
I don't know that I have ever had a view this incredible. It's rare that we ever spring the money for ocean front. Generally, when we are lucky enough to take a beach vacation, we opt for "garden view." Or we are a drive, or a long walk, from the beach. It just doesn't seem worth it to pay the premium. But here, there was no premium. Every single condo has an ocean front view!
I could hear the ocean from our bedroom. That. is. awesome.
As you can see, there is also a pool. Five pools, to be exact. Thus, it was possible to go from the beach to the pool back to the condo in all of five minutes. Forget sunscreen? Just pop back up to the condo. Need an extra towel? Pop back up to the condo. Want a beer (in a red plastic cup)? Pop back up to the condo. And maybe the kids don't want to swim or play in the sand? Maybe they want to switch it up with a playground? No problem. Playground on the beach.
|Some kids swing.|
|Other kids sleep.|
Easy, peasy. And with three kids, easy peasy is a must.
So five stars for the accommodation. But what about the town? The boardwalk? The neighboring communities?
The first night we drove to "downtown" Bethany Beach, which was approximately three quarters of a mile from our condo. (Had we brought our double stroller, we would have walked). It had a small town villagey feel, with a short boardwalk and quaint shops and restaurants. It was, for lack of a better word, cute!
We went to a restaurant called Bethany Blues, where the barbecue was fantastic and the servers, and fellow patrons, were ridiculously friendly. A man at the table next to us struck up a conversation with us and teased the kids. We found out later he was the former mayor of the town. Seriously.
The next day was a bit chilly, so we decided to explore a bit. We had been advised that we MUST take the kids to Funland, a smallish amusement park type place on the boardwalk in Rehoboth, a neighboring town. The kids were familiar with these kind of boardwalk rides from our vacation last year in Ocean City, NJ, and couldn't wait to check it out. They weren't disappointed.
Pretty much every ride involved a motorized vehicle of sorts (fire truck, plane, car, motorcycle, bus, boat, etc.) going around in a circle, over and over again. But the kids loved each and every one. It's the simple things, you know?
Rehoboth itself was a nice town. Definitely busier and more crowded than Bethany, and a tad, just a tad, on the trashy side. But it also is home to a large gay population, which translates to cute restaurants and artsy shops - think Provincetown on a much smaller scale. We ate at two restaurants there (Salt Air and Blue Moon), both of which were great, although we had to forcibly remove a screaming child each time. Luckily, pretty much every restaurant venue is family friendly, particularly at 5:30pm, so we got sympathetic, rather than angry stares.
We swam, we flew kites, we ate well, we drank wine on the balcony. We ran into friends on purpose and by accident. We took in the sea air and relaxed, laid back atmosphere. We had one of the best weekends we have had in a long, long time.
We fell in love with Bethany Beach, Delaware.
We got home on Sunday. By Monday, I had already booked our return, for a week in August.