Eight Things I Love about Rehoboth in the Fall
Summer is clearly the season here in Rehoboth, but is it really the best season? I love the hot frenzy mess that is summer, but I must say there’s a lot to like too when the crowds dissipate and the air gets cooler. In case any of you are wondering, here’s a list of what I look forward to in our town as we approach the autumnal equinox, in no particular order.
1. The Light is Like Gin. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think the light in Rehoboth becomes more beautiful after Labor Day. The full-on, high summer blast from above gives way to a more bathing, golden-slanted light in September. It reminds me of gin.
2. Tomatopalooza. Local farm stands are overflowing with fruits and vegetables and many of them begin offering deep discounts, especially on tomatoes. As I write this, my cottage is overrun with tomatoes. I’m eating tomato sandwiches, drinking fresh Bloodies, and cooking, as fast as I can, pots of tomato sauce to freeze for the winter. Lord, it won’t end but I can’t stop. Luckily, I’ve stocked up on antacids.…
3. No More Clack-Clack. Colorful clack fans might be the rage, but damn the sound is obnoxious, especially when one is trying to read or take a nap on the beach. Then one day the queens and their fans vanish from Poodle Beach. Is there perchance a rule about no clack fans after Labor Day? With their departure, the beach settles into a subdued and dreamy place to spend away a day.
3. French Fry Fix. September is when I feel it’s safe to venture onto Rehoboth Avenue and down to the Boardwalk to buy my annual bucket of French fries. “No crowds” translates to “no lines.” I’ll wait in line to vote, but not to buy a bucket of fries. That would just make me feel desperate.
4. The Monarch Migration. Each fall the monarchs begin their annual migration. No, I’m not talking about all the queens heading back to DC and Philly; I’m talking about butterflies. The Eastern Atlantic flyway brings thousands of majestic monarch butterflies to coastal Delaware on their long and perilous journey to Mexico. They stop here to draw nectar from native flowers like milkweed and goldenrod. It’s truly a magical experience when they appear on the beach.
5. Crepuscular Pollinators. I have planted ginger lilies beside my screened porch because the white flowers release their scents right around the early evening cocktail hour, which is oh so civilized. They do this, I understand, not to provide ambience for me, but to attract those crepuscular pollinators, like moths, that visit at night. It’s also why I lock my screen door.…
6. No More Sweaty Cocktails. Once the heat breaks, I like to make adjustments to my garden. For example, I noticed a blue-flowering hosta in a patch of white-flowering hostas and that will not do. It’s much easier to focus when sweat isn’t running into my eyes and dripping into my cocktail. Sweat might go okay with a margarita, but definitely not with a rum and coke or a glass of white wine.
7. Sweet Meat. Our Mid-Atlantic blue crabs are at their peak, full and heavy and literally bursting out of their shells. Now is the time to bring out those wooden mallets in pursuit of that sweet meat. And if you must know, I don’t pick crabs. I leave that for my Baltimore-born partner. But I do enjoy a nicely sautéed soft shell crab sandwich or a fried crab cake.
8. Open the Damn Windows. Lordy Hallelujah! It’s time to shut down the air conditioning and open up the windows and breathe in some fresh air. One of my favorite things this time of year is falling asleep on linen sheets to the sounds of crickets chirping and the cool night air. A blue Lunesta pill helps too, especially on Sunday nights when there’s an early Monday morning wake up call. In fact, it’s kicking in right now as I finish this column.…▼
Rich Barnett is the author of The Discreet Charms of a Bourgeois Beach Town, and Fun with Dick and James.