It was on a recent and capricious spring weekend that Isa and I chose to spend two days in Maryland and Rehoboth Beach, something we had talked about doing for over two years. The account follows – long, self-indulgent, and accompanied by pictures!
A temperamental wind chased new blossoms from thin branches, and we made our way exuberantly through pink and white swirls. Our late morning departure seemed doomed as we inevitably got lost where I-395 leaves off and I-295 picks up, but never seems to go in the proper direction, and we found ourselves across the river in southeast DC, where two white girls probably shouldn’t be regardless of the time of day. Driving away frantically from any signs pointing toward Anacostia (“don’t piss off the locals!”), we ended up in Eastern Market right in front of Belga Cafe.
This we took to be a sign, and we hurried into this sanctuary replete with comforts for soul and stomach. It would be foolish to attempt a journey of this sort without a christening of sorts, and so we broke a bottle of champagne and raised toasts to friendship and the fulfillment of a dream that was two years in the making. We then turned our full attention to lunch – Gerookte Zalm Wafel, a decadent puff pastry waffle folded in half and stuffed with salmon, tomatoes and a chive cream cheese. Renewed by this impromptu feast, and armed with better directions, we set our faces resolutely to the east and made it to the family farm without further incident.
I will be upfront about a weakness of mine – I am terrified of bugs, all bugs, regardless of type and size and their varying abilities to poison me. And so it is with some trepidation that I venture into the country, which I love, to be close to nature, which I partially love. Normally I am able to face the occasional bug, a ladybug for instance, with an initial start followed by a logical argument with myself that they are not harmful to humans, good for gardens, and part of the charms of the countryside. However, on this weekend the interior of the family farm was covered with ladybugs. They were on the walls, on the floors, in the toilets, in the shower – everywhere. It was my own personal hell! We did what we could, but eventually we had to find a way to peacefully cohabit.
This was to be a writing weekend, so we set up our computers, made tea, and wrote. Night came quickly and we headed to town for provisions. Popping open a bottle of prosecco and turning up the French songs we both love, we danced around the kitchen making ravioli and garlic bread and salad. We finished the night curled up in front of my laptop watching the gorgeous Edward Norton in The Illusionist.
After a night of endless buzzing from a gigantic fly that was trying to find a way out my bedroom window, we started the day with tea, bread and Nutella, and more writing. A quick rush to clean and pack, a quick stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and a treat, and we were on our way to Rehoboth Beach. The sun was bright, but cold, and the wind had not deserted us. We wound our way through farming communities and picturesque small towns before coming rather suddenly to the beach towns that line the coast. Rehoboth is small and compact, and we drove down the main strip, found parking, and started to explore.
Starting with lunch at the Green Man Juice Bar and Bistro, we made our way through side streets, popping into little stores filled with the unique and overpriced trinkets that are found everywhere tourists gather. Taking a quick cold walk on the beach, we made our way back to the western edge of town and checked in to the Canalside Inn. All of Rehoboth is gay-friendly, but our hotel seemed to be among the most gay-friendly of them all. And it was fabulous. Everyone was friendly, the room was adorable, and no one under 18 was permitted to stay. That is my idea of a perfect hotel!
We dolled up as best we could with the freezing conditions outside and set off to celebrate. I had finally heard from the Russian school that morning, letting me know that the position was mine and that they would start in on the mountain of paperwork necessary for an American to work there. A vodka toast was in order followed by a short pub crawl. We visited Dogfish Head (where we encountered a large couple unashamed of physical displays of affection), Finbar (with an efficient though impersonal bartender and a cozy fireplace), and then Fins Fish House and Raw Bar (where somehow a Mexican barback and I had a mystical emotional connection). We visited a few shops and finally settled in for the most delicious fish and chips dinner I’ve ever had at go fish.
It was a relief to get back to the hotel and snuggled into our warm beds and laugh at sit-coms over wine, cheese, and crackers. The next morning we had muffins and fruit and coffee at the hotel’s continental breakfast and then headed out for a nice long walk on the beach. It was freeing to be faced with the huge expanse of the ocean on one side and miles of sand on the other. There is something about such landscapes that help blow open the corners of the mind and help put our endless speculative musings into perspective. We walked quite far toward the Cape Henlopen State Park and two lookout towers, vestiges of World War II and the threat of German U-boats. Fatigued by our efforts we stopped for lunch and margaritas at the Purple Parrot Grill, where we filled our time with games of M.A.S.H. and scrawling our names on our chairs with a marker.
Rushing back to the farm for a benefit concert, we ran upstairs, and quickly threw on cocktail attire and headed to the Big House. We were incredibly late and decided to sneak in the back entrance. We ran into the caterers in the back room, looking guilty at having been caught. For what we weren’t sure. But as we made our way into the kitchen we understood. For over an hour, guests had been subjected to the experimental caterwauling of a classical music group, originally referred to as a saxophone quartet. They were not. It sounded as if someone was being murdered, and we could just see into the main room at the rows of men and women in fancy dress leaning forward, as if in an astonished attempt at understanding. The rest of the kitchen staff, under strict orders not to make a sound, contented themselves with making faces at each other. We could barely contain our laughter and decided a hasty retreat was called for. So we ran back down the dirt road in our high heels and roared with glee at our adolescent getaway.
This weekend will go down as one of the best of my life to date. And I wish everyone this kind of friendship.