When my partner Joe and I decided to spend this summer in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, we did so knowing that unlike our own neighborhood in North Jersey, commercial businesses, shops, gyms, and restaurants were open, albeit in a limited capacity.
Reportedly after experiencing an uptick in Coronavirus cases around Memorial Day weekend, the state of Delaware implemented a mask mandate with space restrictions for the public, including commercial business and even its famed boardwalk and pathways that lead to its beaches.
Upon getting settled in our three month rental home, I was definitely curious, even anxious, wondering if we had made the right decision. I mean, what if as soon we got unpacked and situated, cases spiked again in Rehoboth, and things were shut down? I pondered what the dining or entertainment experiences would be like as restaurants attempted to operate as normal as possible in a far less than normal circumstance?
Lastly, I feared as Rehoboth Beach is a major summer destination, would I spend the next three months encountering obnoxious Karens at every turn, causing scenes and declaring their civil liberties were violated when asked to wear a mask?
To my pleasant surprise, what I encountered was one of the friendliest towns I have ever visited, where both locals and tourists alike great each other on the street with kind smiles and warm hellos. More importantly, nearly everyone, out and about, with little exception, were adhering to wearing masks. It felt like a collective of like-minded people who all understood, if wearing a small bit of fabric over my nose and mouth while in public means we can have some semblance of a normal summer, with beach visits, boardwalk strolls, shopping outlet malls, ice cream pit stops and culinary delights from the town’s best restaurants – then we’re wearing the masks!
I’ve spent the last two and a half months in Rehoboth, and I have to commend this town, both people and businesses, for doing it right in the era of COVID-19. I should also mention Delaware is Joe Biden’s home state and in this town lawns are a-plenty with signs that read Biden/Harris, Black Lives Matter and my favorite, Vote Yes for Science.
All summer, my favorite spots for bites and cocktails were Aqua Grill, Blue Coast, Sazios, The Purple Parrot, Eden, Jam, Big Fish Grill, Dogfish Head Grill and The Pines. All of these establishments took their table distancing, restaurant capacity, and mask mandates seriously. The consumers willingly followed the instruction: while being at your table dining, obviously masks can be removed. However, upon moving throughout the restaurant, waiting in line for restrooms, etc., please wear your masks. Simple.
The Pines offered the most entertaining and dynamic experience in town while expertly managing its cabaret lounge and its popular restaurant, skillfully arranging reserved dinner tables with the recommended safe social distance between them. The cabaret performers are placed at a reasonable yet safe distance from the audience.
The Pines’ name is derived from its self-definition of ‘where the pine trees meet the ocean, and a classic tavern meets modern.’ It is designed to pay homage to old Rehoboth Beach, a charming beach town perfect for celebrating the important things in life – Family, Friends, and Love.
Over Labor Day weekend, Joe and I made reservations for dinner and a show at The Pines. We were excited to catch Pam’s Party, the new live show of fabulous, international recording artist, cabaret performer and Tea Dance favorite, Pamala Stanley.
Stanley is best known for her global 80s dance smash single, “Coming Out of Hiding.” Though a massive mainstream hit, the song was quickly embraced as a gay pride anthem and gained Stanley legions of gay fans everywhere. Nowhere is she more beloved than in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The thriving gay community and its allies can’t get enough of Stanley’s incredible voice, impeccable piano, classic cover songs, biting humor, and of course, her signature hit song, Coming Out of Hiding.
The entire experience at The Pines, inclusive of performers such as Pamala, is an example for other venues to follow in these unprecedented times. Life doesn’t have to stop for us as we attempt to get through this health crisis, but everyone has to be on the same page for us to at least maintain a little sanity as we navigate it together. I mean case in point, Pamala Stanley is an artist who thrives on the energy and love she feels from the audience.
In pre-pandemic times, part of Stanley’s appeal was her interaction with the crowd, walking out during interludes to say Hello. Well, she still does that …only now she throws on a mask first, and it’s always more than likely a cute one coordinated to match her fierce dress of the evening.
If you missed Pamala this summer, I encourage you to check her out if you’re in Rehoboth Beach this Fall. She’s just announced new Fall shows, “Anything Goes with Pamala Stanley” and Friday night’s with “The Pamala Stanley Band!”
Overall it’s been a terrific summer here in Rehoboth despite some of the tough times we’ve all been facing, and I again commend the city, the people, and even the incomparable Pamala Stanley for providing the best example of what we can do when we all work together … oh, and believe in science!
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.