I can only imagine my parent’s first trip to Bethany: pouring rain, crying children, trying to get us to stop eating sand or going to poke a dead jellyfish. What fun that must have been. Not to mention the 12 hr drive, with a two-year-old and a 2-month-old, it took to get there. And yet, I am so thankful for that disastrous year because despite the thunder and clouds on the beach that year, we return every summer. And each year the weather seems brighter. This year was our fifteenth year as a family, and I can’t wait to further the tradition.
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Most Bethany-goers are families who have gone for generations, but newcomers are always welcome. In just the one week I get to call it my home each year, I have met so many talented and exciting people. We are so lucky to spend the week at a lovely beach shack, rented from the Jacobsen’s. It’s old-fashioned like a lot of Bethany, but it’s beautiful. It is literally 10 steps from the beach and only a block away from the boardwalk with all of Bethany’s unique shops: the bubble guns all in the air, over 12 different ice-cream parlors (we counted), live music nearly every night at the bandstand, and the people. The people there all have a story to tell, a hug to be given, or a song to be shared, no matter their age. And if the homey feel of Bethany doesn’t interest you, Rehoboth, Ocean City, and Dewey, surround Bethany and are always advertising all sorts of events.
Coming every year to the same place may sound crazy to some people, but we wouldn’t change it for anything. Each year we get to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. We stun all the new-comers and old-returners with our impressive new sandcastle endeavors, until the young ones discover how fun it is to jump on top of the castle. We visit our favorite restaurants like the Grotto and Phillips, being so deprived of these particular tastes in Indiana, and try new places out. My mom gets local fudge, a flavor for every taste, from the boardwalk for her birthday every year. Not to mention, drink refills and popcorn refills are still good at Boardwalk Fries and Fisher’s Popcorn each returning year. Tip for fries: get your fries at DB’s and your drinks and condiments at Boardwalk. If you ever want to know where to eat, ask a fisherman down by the beach in the evening or any of the families that come every year. Bethany is our home, and we love to share its joys.
So why go to Bethany instead of Florida like everyone else? Well first of all, you are not with everyone else crowded for a spot on the beach. The beach is open with sand so soft and buildable. Waves just right for boogie-boarding, skim-boarding, and just jumping in the ripples when you’ve just learned how to walk. It’s hot enough that you know its summer but cool enough there are no jellyfish that sting and no one feels like they are melting in the heat. Bethany is the perfect family vacation for everyone to have fun and relax.
I imagine my perfect day always in Bethany. And for me, the ending to a perfect day is Frisbee on the beach with my family until it gets dark enough to lie in the sand and watch the stars light up the sky, hearing the soothing sounds of the waves and the quiet sounds of a little sleepy town.
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