Joe Biden’s Rehoboth Seaside, Delaware, dwelling shines mild on seashore city
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) – Known for Atlantic waves, which are sometimes surfable freshly cut fries, and a 1.6 km long wooden boardwalk built in the 1870s, this resort town has long been proud to be the nation’s summer capital his. ”
There could be a beach in the White House soon.
President-elect Joe Biden owns a $ 2.7 million home in Delaware North Shores with a swimming pool overlooking Cape Henlopen State Park, just blocks from the ocean and a short drive from downtown Rehoboth Beach. It’s a getaway by motorcade from Washington and a little less than that of Biden’s longtime home in Wilmington.
Biden spent time in Rehoboth Beach after the Democratic National Convention and traveled back as president-elect for the first time that weekend.
“I think he definitely deserved a few days off,” said Jen Psaki, Advisor for Biden’s transition team.
Movie stars Richard Gere and Denzel Washington visited Rehoboth Beach, as did ESPN commentator and former Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser. Biden would be the first president to vacation regularly in the coastal city.
That may suit Biden, who proudly described himself as the poorest man in Congress in the 36 years he served in the Senate. He bought the beach house after he left the vice presidency, backed by an $ 8 million multibook deal that he and his wife Jill signed.
“Throughout our careers, Jill and I have dreamed of buying a spot on the beach at home where we could bring the whole family,” Biden said in a statement regarding the purchase of the home. “We feel very happy that we can do it now.”
They moved in less than two years after Biden’s son Beau, a former Delaware attorney general, died of brain cancer. One sign on the house says “Beau’s present”, another sign says “Forever Jill”.
Rehoboth Beach can now join Palm Beach, Florida, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and Crawford, Texas as the famous Presidential Retreat.
The transformation is already underway.
Though access to Biden’s house is restricted, reporters flocked from Rehoboth Beach that weekend and TV journalists flocked to the boardwalk for stand-ups.
The Browseabout Bookstore on High Street has set up a special display with biographies about Biden, as well as the books Joe and Jill Biden wrote, Biden calendars, mugs, coloring books and earrings. A Biden action figure was $ 15, as was the newest item – gray socks adorned with the now-elected president wearing a red, white, and blue striped tie and proclaiming, “Vote for Joe Biden.”
The best seller was a Biden scented candle that smells like one of his favorite beverages: orange gatorade.
After leaving the vice presidency, Biden would come to browseabout some Sundays to buy coffee and newspapers after church.
“The treatment they receive is the same as anyone else’s. We’re not fan girling. We want everyone to feel welcome, ”said Jessie Jones, a senior executive at Browseabout, of the Bidens. “Well, folks in the store, that’s another story.”
Another senior executive, Andreea Istrate, said when Jill Biden came to sign copies of her 2012 book, “Don’t Forget God Bless Our Troops” in the store, Joe Biden shook hands with everyone in line and used a joke he would repeat many times while running for president, “Hello, I’m Jill’s husband.” It got so crowded that Istrate climbed out a window to leave instead of trying to squeeze through the door.
“There was definitely a lot of energy today,” Jones said as the world spread that Biden was back. “People said, ‘Let’s do our Christmas shopping and when we see Joe, great.'”
Mayor Stan Mills said Jill Biden drove around the neighborhoods often and enjoyed the shade of sprawling canopy that is rare in coastal areas.
“We hope that, I call him the famous-friendly Biden, will continue his walks around town,” said Mills, who said he has not met Biden yet but hopes he will be “soon”.
Rehoboth has a high concentration of LGBTQ-owned businesses, dolphins that frolic in the surf, and other popular vacation dishes like fudge, saltwater toffee, and ice cream flavored with tonsil-toasted ghost peppers.
It has around 1,500 full-time residents but grows to around 25,000 in the summer months. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Independence Day weekend and the annual Sea Witch Festival on Halloween drew 80,000 visitors.
Nick Caggiano, owner of Nicola Pizza, first met Biden in 1972 during his inaugural run for the Senate. Caggiano said three teams of intelligence agents had arrived to pick up pizzas for the Bidens when they arrived in town Thursday.
“I think Joe always had the personality over the years,” said Caggiano. “He has the charisma.”
Rita Sonntag, a nurse, lives in nearby Bethany Beach but went to Rehoboth on Saturday to buy cat food and went for a walk in Cape Henlopen State Park. She ran into Joe and Jill Biden while driving down Gordons Pond Trail with five plainclothes officers and medical agents.
“I thought at this point he would be entrenched and not go public,” said Sonntag. “But then I said, ‘Oh, there it is.'”
On the way back down the Bidens, more than a dozen spectators joined a crowd of reporters who waited. When asked as he whizzed past whether he was closer to electing a cabinet, the president-elect hesitated “yes” but didn’t move on slowly. At least one woman in the crowd yelled “Go Joe!”
As popular as Biden is locally, not everyone is a fan. At T-Shirt World, employee Sydney Doel said the few Biden shirts the store had in stock weren’t big sellers. However, President Donald Trump had his own department with more than half a dozen shirts, a variety of hats, visors, and keepsakes ranging from bottle openers to boxer shorts. Red Trump pajama pants were sold out.
Doel politely said she hoped to see Biden on town some day, but her face lit up when asked what would happen if Trump bought a house in Rehoboth Beach. She and her staff agreed that the rural areas away from the beach are “full of country lovers”.
“If you drive out a bit, you will see a lot more Trump signs,” Doel said. “I think having Trump here would be more exciting for a lot of people.”