Crabs, Dolphins, and Anacondas, Oh My!
We are so very lucky. Where else can you live and have a Staycation that can top so many other destination vacations? I had a blast two weeks ago right here in Gayberry, RFD. And I never even got to the beach.
On Monday, pals lured me from my solitary writer’s life for a swim in a friend’s pool. I sat on the pool steps (my idea of a swim), and was tossed a beach ball by one of the three authentic athletes in the pool. Joining the gentle volley from my semi-submerged seat, it wasn’t a matter of if, but when. Minutes later I stretched too far for a save, plunging face first into the game. What fun, even if I violated my own ears above water rule. We volleyed for hours, and I can report that my rotator cuffs still seem intact.
On Tuesday, I worked a bit, then took a ride in the countryside. Did you know that Millville by the Sea isn’t? And you really can hear banjos as you approach Gum Road in Roxana? It amazes me how close we are to Hatfield and McCoy country. And then, in Selbyville, you have the startling conundrum of a tiny town with a J. Conn Scott showroom with the world’s most sophisticated furniture. Go figure.
By Wednesday, deadlines looming, I gave work a perfunctory hour then ran off to lunch in downtown Rehoboth. From boardwalk to beach, I took in the energy, gazed around, and repeated my mantra “And I live here!”
That evening, friends invited us for a moonlight boat ride on Rehoboth Bay, with a stunning sunset and a hilarious conversation about the depth of the bay at any given point. We agreed we could all fall out of the boat and walk home.
Thursday held the biggest surprise. A gaggle of us wound up, for the first time ever, at Jungle Jim’s Waterpark. Have you done it? Do it!
Just getting us into the five-person raft on the giant Stampede water slide caused a bizarre tangle of legs and torsos. I was seated backwards, first to go down the chute but it didn’t matter. I never opened my eyes.
Our overcrowded raft shot down a hideously steep slope, careening at frightening angles along the banked sides of the tube, crashing through walls of water, and speeding dangerously toward oblivion. Yes, I reasoned, this raft was made for five people, but was it made for these five people? Would we be spit out the end, carom off the bottom to be launched over the DART bus station onto Route One? Reach the Beach, indeed. They’d read about that in the Gazette. The whole thing was a cross between a roller coaster and a car wash.
Happily we landed in the water with no more than a thud and the humiliating prospect of untangling ourselves amid public scrutiny.
Thanks to peer pressure I said “yes” to riding the largest of the giant slides, the Anaconda, in which Bonnie and I became airborne like Thelma and Louise. Having survived, I was rejuvenated by floating around in a two-person tube in the fabulous Lazy River. I cannot remember ever having such silly fun.
But was that enough? No. We ventured to the boardwalk for ice cream, then somebody hollered “Bumper cars!” and we were off. It’s called Funland for good reason. Shrieking and squealing, we took out our aggressions on our friends and partners and luckily, nobody slipped a disc. I hadn’t been bumpering since the mid-90s and it seems this too, gets better.
On Friday, I awoke achy all over, apparently having done a full body clench at the waterpark plus suffering a teeny bit of bumper buggy whiplash. But did I rest? No! After breakfasting on coffee and Aleve, I went boating again, this time buzzing over the glass-like waters of Rehoboth Bay, out under the new Indian River Bridge, up the coast past Dewey, Rehoboth and North Shores. Luckily this was a healing, more passive activity as we floated to a perfect spot adjacent to Cape Henlopen, to watch for dolphins, They didn’t disappoint. Fins popped up everywhere, often two dolphins with a tiny baby between them. “The baby looks an arcade prize!” said a passenger and she was totally correct.
We bobbed up and down, while trying to keep the Casapulla’s subs down not up, as we watched the dolphin show. They are gorgeous creatures. So are friends with boats. Love you!
Friday night we picked up our new edition of Letters and, as always, turned first to CAMPshots for laughs and chitchat. Then we had crabs and beer and great conversation with generous friends, and the constant battle to keep from rubbing my eyes with hands caked in Old Bay seasoning. Hard to tell if my weeping was from the spice or the week that was ending.
Saturday morning brought a ride to the Millsboro Art League, deep in Lower Slower Delaware, for a student art exhibit. Bonnie was one of the students, and it was a first showing of her work. For all her loyal attendance at book signings, it felt great to turn the tables and celebrate her artistic endeavors.
Late Saturday I got a text that capped the weekend. There was about to be a mini-flash mob at Big Sissies Bar & Grill. We headed there to take part in the fun, along with an awesome Margarita, great chicken wings, and a terrific sense of community.
I’m not really telling you all this to brag. I just don’t want you, like I often do, to forget about all the magical things that go on here. In an area with the fourth largest population of same sex couples, one of the top five cleanest beaches in the country, a boardwalk on the national short list, and enough award-winning restaurants to qualify as a bona fide foodie destination, Rehoboth-Lewes-Milton-Dewey has it all. Promise me you’ll take the time to engage, celebrate and enjoy it.
Get a group together, rent a pontoon boat, go fishing, have a picnic on the beach, wangle an invitation to a pool, attend a CAMP event, share a whole bunch of silly experiences with pals and colleagues, Gayberry is what you make it. Indulge!
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, and For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries. Contact Fay Jacobs