Beach towns and beach books

Rehoboth Beach boardwalk

The Great Migration in action: Tourists strolling the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk in Delaware. Image courtesy of Dough4872, Wikimedia Commons.

Every year, the U.S. experiences The Great Migration.  No, no, I’m not talking about an event from history. I’m referring to that time of year when we Americans go coastal and head for the beach towns to seek relief from the heat. The Great Migration gets off to a modest start in late April, picks up in early May and is full-blown by June. It peaks in July and August, then dies down as families pack up and get their kids back home for the school year.

I usually skip The Great Migration in favor of a quieter time of year. For me, books are a definite part of a beach trip, since there is ample opportunity to sit back and read while I’m enjoying my seafood and French fries with Old Bay seasoning (putting this crab seasoning on French fries is a Delmarva Peninsula thing, I think) and ice tea. In fact, books are responsible for my trips to some beach towns, like Chincoteague, Virginia and Newport, Rhode Island.

As a kid, I read the Misty of Chincoteague books written by Marguerite Henry and wanted to see the town where they originated.  Chincoteague is a small town off the coast of Virginia, famous for the Annual Pony Penning and the Misty books. It’s a relaxing place to visit and even has Misty’s footprints preserved in concrete in front of the Roxy Movie Theatre.

Hoofprints of Misty

Misty the horse’s footprints in Chincoteague, Virginia. Image courtesy of Leonard J. DeFrancisci, Wikimedia Commons.

Chincoteague also has a tiny but beautiful library, right on the waterfront. If you’re ever in town, it’s worth a visit.

Chincoteague Island Library

The library at Chincoteague. Image courtesy of Leonard J. DeFrancisci, Wikimedia Commons.

As for Newport, I had read several books about the Vanderbilt family and the Gilded Age. Several of the books mentioned the “beach cottages” of the Vanderbilts, so I included The Breakers in Newport as I was doing my odyssey through New England years ago (click on the link to see what the inside looks like). One of the Vanderbilts must have had a sense of humor by calling this house a “beach cottage”; it was a sumptuous mansion overlooking the water. And if this home was a mere “cottage,” I wonder what their New York mansion was like?

The Breakers at Newport

Vanderbilts: “Oh, it’s nothing, just a little 70-room beach cottage.” Image of The Breakers courtesy of Stan Shebs, Wikimedia Commons.

For now, I’m content to stay away from the beach and read my beach books in air-conditioned comfort as the D.C. metro area undergoes a heat wave. But sooner or later, I’m heading for the beach, books in tow.



Filed under Writing

12 responses to “Beach towns and beach books

  1. I have great memories of summers spent at Rehoboth until we moved west. We stopped there this past fall for old times’ sake. We also spent a day in Newport touring through the mansions on that trip. Here are a couple of links.

    • We’ve both stayed at the Henlopen! That was the hotel I used the first time I went to Rehoboth Beach. Love that town — it’s perfect for walking around and exploring. And, of course, you can watch the entire world wander by on the boardwalk.

  2. Your A/C comfort sounds divine. I’m so glad I have it, as it’s hot here too. I love your captions on the pictures. They’re great.

  3. Haha, if that’s a “cottage,” then I must live in a cubicle! The library in Chincoteague looks really inviting.

  4. I’d take a ‘cottage’ like that any day!

  5. I forgot all about the Misty books!! I would read several in one day! I was a reader AND a horse nut as a kid.

  6. I chuckled at the Old Bay reference, my sister living in New Hampshire puts Old Bay on everything (even guacamole and especially French fries). Must be in general an East Coast thing!

    • I’m glad it made you laugh! Probably it is an East Coast thing. I’ve seen people eat French fries with ketchup, vinegar, Old Bay or even mayonnaise. Whatever works for ’em, I guess.


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