I had not realised how therapeutic the ocean could be until I stood on its soft-wet sand. Atlantic waves broke at my feet and washed away the lockdown fatigue that had been harbouring inside of me.
Rehoboth Beach in Delaware is a popular tourist destination for people living on America's East Coast. I understood how crowded this was going to be from all the out-of-state number plates on cars ahead of us. So crowded it was that after a half-hour searching, we finally found a parking spot that was nearly a mile from the beach. However, we trust our good old legs come what may; walking is a yes for us under most conditions!
If you are the kind of person who likes a quiet beach then Rehoboth probably will not be your top choice, especially if you want to visit in-season. As for me, it was our first beach trip in two years and after having spent more than a year at home, I did not mind the crowd. In fact, it was the crowd which gave me a feeling of normalcy. Having said that, with the Delta variant spreading quickly and 20-25 percent of the US population still refusing to get vaccinated, we just do not know if this normalcy is here to stay or not.
Rehoboth is what a buzzing seaside town should be like in summer. Lots of ice cream shops, restaurants, little boutiques, arcades, and gift stores make Rehoboth Beach more than just a beach, it is a full-on family-friendly tourist destination. It is summertime and the schools are closed, which means that lots of families are flocking to the beach to enjoy the weather.
Like I said, Rehoboth can be very crowded during the peak season, so all around us, there were sea lovers of all ages. The younger ones were building sand castles, the teens were surfing or playing catch with American football, while the older ones were simply basking in the July sunshine and watching Atlantic waves lapping on the shore.
Those who claim that the sea air carries the magic to calm one's nerves are so correct! Before I stood facing the Sea of Atlas, I had not realised how much power it had to invigorate me. The last one year had been difficult for most of us on so many levels. As I stood on the sand with my eyes closed, I let my hair down and inhaled the salty air. Waves broke at my feet and sand slipped beneath them. The waves carried my stress and fatigue back to the ocean. I felt refreshed and a lot lighter, inside.
A trip to the beach is half-done without ice cream or some other cold delight, so we had lemon-flavoured Italian ice and frozen custard. Their initial cooling effect in the mouth was satisfying under 34° Celsius.
For dinner, we wanted to try out a new place. As we window-shopped restaurants and looked at their menus, a place by the name Mason's Famous Lobster Rolls caught our attention. The restaurant prides on the freshness and quality of its lobster, which comes straight from the waters of Maine, the New England state most famed for its lobster.
Each classic lobster roll comes with hearty chunks of lobster meat, a little bit of mayo and lemon butter; it is served chilled. The idea is to use as few ingredients as possible to bring out the real flavour of the crustacean. Less is more when it comes to great cooking! Each roll cost us $19; the price seemed to me a bit too high for a roll the size of a typical hot dog bun. I learned later that the restaurant was experiencing a record-high lobster price because of the pandemic.
Our day trip to Rehoboth Beach was short yet rejuvenating. I think I needed that soothing sound of rolling waves, that feeling of sand slipping beneath my feet, and that expanse of cool blue waters as far as my eyes could catch sight of to re-realise that there should be no giving up on yourself or life. I returned home that night, feeling happier and lighter.
Photo: Wara Karim