Out to the sea, again and again…

When the temperature recently reached 100 degrees and Washington became hot, humid and unbearable, I slipped out of town and headed east, out over the four-mile-long bridge over the Chesapeake Bay, across the flat Eastern Shore of Maryland and out to Delaware and the sea…

The waves rolled in from the Atlantic, a salty breeze blew cool and the sandy beaches stretched north and south as far as the eye could see. To arrive and sit down in the sand brought great pleasure, not least because the journey there is not always easy.

The drive is a little over two hours but often more if you choose, or are forced to choose, to leave Washington in rush hour on Friday afternoon. Awaiting are the beautiful, mile-long, sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean between the small coastal towns of Lewes, Rehoboth, Dewey and Bethany, all in Delaware, where the first Swedish immigrants arrived in 1638 on the ship Kalmar Nyckel – “The Tall Ship of Delaware” – and founded the colony New Sweden. A replica of the Kalmar Key was completed in 1997 in connection with 350th anniversary of New Sweden, and she now sails with tourists in the waters around Delaware and sometimes docks at the ferry terminal in Lewes, where boats run to Cape May in New Jersey across the Delaware Bay.

The old fishing town of Lewes from the early 1600s is especially charming today with its small historic district full of Victorian homes and nice shops and good restaurants. And it is close to Cape Henlopen State Park with its untouched nature and beautiful beaches. It’s precisely the Delaware park system and the fact that the beaches are part of the Delaware Seashore State Park, which makes them so attractive. They are peaceful destinations, away from America’s traffic, commercialism, advertising signs, parking lots and shopping centers.

No wonder the Delaware beaches have become so popular not only for Washington’s millions but also for those who live in surrounding cities like Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia. That’s the negative side of the Delaware beaches – their popularity. But if you can avoid Fourth of July, and the traffic on Friday afternoons and Sunday evenings, or simply come and visit in late spring and early summer, or in September and October, then you cannot avoid being charmed, and return, again and again…

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