President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden recently spent a weeklong vacation in Rehoboth Beach, a southern Delaware city on the Atlantic whose tagline is “The Nation’s Summer Capital.”
For most visitors, thoughts of Rehoboth Beach conjure up visions of a crowded beach and boardwalk; the happy faces of children at the Funland amusement park; and walking about town with Thrasher’s fries, Kohr Brothers’ ice cream or Grotto Pizza in hand.
But none of those are things a sitting American president can do without risking his own safety and disrupting the lives of everyone in the city, so Joe Biden’s Rehoboth Beach vacation looked much different.
He went to church. He went to the beach. He bicycled. One night, he and Jill went to dinner and a movie. Here’s how you can vacation just like the Bidens at the Delaware beaches.
Get a house in North Shores
The Bidens’ beach house is located in North Shores, Delaware, a small, secluded town just north of Rehoboth.
They have the option to take the Marine One helicopter in and out, but recently, the Bidens have preferred to take the road, motorcade and all. For this trip, they arrived by car from Dover Air Force Base on the evening of Friday, July 28.
North Shores is a small community. Dan Morris of Somerset, New Jersey, said he owns a home there. He was walking along Ocean Drive as the motorcade approached Friday and told his friends, “Hold on guys, Joey’s coming by.”
North Shores is also a wealthy community. Zillow lists two properties for sale there currently. One is a four-bedroom, three-bath home going for $3.3 million (plus an annual Homeowners Association fee of $2,600). The other is an empty lot on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, which you can buy for a cool $3.5 million.
In its entirety, the community consists of just 192 single-family lots, 48 apartments and 55 townhouses, according to the North Shores website.
Most of the Bidens’ vacation was spent in their $2.7 million Farview Road home, which backs up to the marshes of Cape Henlopen State Park. They did make several trips to the 2,200-foot North Shores beach, surrounded by Secret Service. The beach is exclusively for North Shores residents and their guests, according to the community’s website.
“Hard to complain about this weather,” the president told the press as he left the beach Wednesday.
Attend Mass at St. Edmond’s Roman Catholic Church
President Biden is only the second Catholic president in history. (John F. Kennedy was the first.) He used to get anti-Catholic hate mail, according to Politico.
When at his Greenville, Delaware, home, Biden worships at St. Joseph on the Brandywine. When in Rehoboth Beach, he attends St. Edmond’s Roman Catholic Church.
He went to Mass there on the evening of Saturday, July 29, with grandson Hunter Biden.
Led by Father William Cocco, St. Edmond’s is “a Catholic community of approximately 3,500 people located within sight of the Atlantic Ocean,” according to the church’s website.
“Visitors are always welcome,” the website says, and plenty of vacationers attend during their stay.
There’s never any warning of when Biden will attend St. Edmond’s, though he usually attends on Saturday evenings when in town. But if you aren’t genuinely interested in the service and are just going to ogle the president, don’t bother. Neither the church nor the Secret Service will tolerate disruptions.
Bike the Gordon’s Pond Trail
President Biden has biked the Gordon’s Pond Trail, in Cape Henlopen State Park, many times in the past, and this trip was no different.
Gordon’s Pond is located between Cape Henlopen State Park’s ocean dunes and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. The trail passes the pond’s western edge in a small spate of woods wedged between the pond and the canal. It’s a very shallow pond, oftentimes just mudflats. In midsummer, there are deer, foxes, warblers, shorebirds, crabs, dragonflies and other wildlife to be seen.
By the time Biden (and usually Jill, too) hits the trail, the Secret Service has already swept through and waved a metal detector wand over anyone nearby. A handful of agents accompany him on his ride.
No one has reported the president stopping to sightsee at a scenic overlook. He zips back and forth on the part-dirt and crushed stone, part-boardwalk trail, from the Gordon’s Pond parking lot in North Shores to the Herring Point parking lot on the Lewes side of the park. A bench dedicated to his late son and former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden sits at the top of Herring Point.
The trail makes for about a 3-mile round-trip and is rated “easy/moderate” by the Delaware State Parks website. It’s southern Delaware, after all, so the hills are minimal.
Dine at Matt’s Fish Camp
The USA TODAY Network asked SoDel Concepts, the award-winning company that owns and operates Matt’s Fish Camp in Lewes, Delaware, what the Bidens ate there Tuesday night. Apparently, they’re not the type to cook and tell; they did not respond to emails.
But any local with half a palette can tell you Matt’s Fish Camp is an excellent restaurant. It’s named after Matt Haley, SoDel’s late founder, and has three locations.
Matt’s Fish Camp is “a relaxed seafood spot featuring classic East Coast dishes and Sussex County, Delaware, favorites, including oysters on the half shell, crab cakes, Ipswich clams, lobster rolls, fried chicken and the famous lobster cobb salad,” according to its website.
We recommend the lobster roll or the crab cakes.
The dining room is small but pleasant, with a few outdoor tables, and the bar is often full at this time of year. Reservations are not accepted.
See ‘Oppenheimer’ at the Movies at Midway
To the surprise of just about no one, Joe and Jill Biden opted to see “Oppenheimer” after dinner Tuesday night rather than “Barbie.”
They watched the film with the public, even sharing a row with other moviegoers, at the Movies at Midway, which is the only movie theater at the Delaware beaches. Located at 18585 Coastal Highway, it’s in an area that’s technically Rehoboth Beach but locally known as Midway.
As the couple exited the theater from a back door, a reporter asked the president what he thought of the film.
“Compelling,” he said.
“Oppenheimer” is an R-rated, three-hour biopic, starring Cillian Murphy and written and directed by Christopher Nolan, about American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his involvement in creating the atomic bomb. Reviews have been outstanding.
Shannon Marvel McNaught reports on Sussex County and beyond. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter @MarvelMcNaught
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: What the Bidens did during their Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, vacation