August 27, 2011 at 11:16 am EDT | by Kevin Naff
Rehoboth Beach braces for Irene

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. — In the run-up to Labor Day Weekend, this popular summer resort town should be teeming with tourists. Instead, Rehoboth Beach is a ghost town, following an evacuation order from Gov. Jack Markell, prompted by Hurricane Irene.

Rehoboth's popular Blue Moon bar and restaurant is boarded up as Hurricane Irene approaches. (Photo by John Bator)

Residents and visitors were ordered to evacuate by 7 a.m. Saturday. As of Friday evening, most shops and restaurants along Rehoboth Avenue were closed or boarded up. A handful of restaurants and bars stayed open Friday night, including the gay-owned Purple Parrot and L Bar. The Blue Moon’s windows and doors were boarded up.

A small group of local gay residents gathered at the Parrot Friday night to swap stories of storm preparation and debate the merits of riding it out.


Traffic was jammed along Route 1 north throughout the day Friday as visitors and locals heeded the evacuation order. Customers encountered long lines at banks and gas stations on their way out of town.

The town is mostly closed Saturday and Irene is expected to arrive overnight bringing high winds, six or more inches of rain and a potentially destructive storm surge. Bayside residents were bracing for flooding and nearby beach communities of Dewey, Fenwick and Ocean City, Md., were also evacuated.

A 5K race to benefit the CAMP Rehoboth community center scheduled for Sunday was rescheduled to Sunday, Sept. 4; registration will begin at 6 a.m. and the race kicks off at 7:30.

Meanwhile, those gathered at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association convention in nearby Philadelphia faced an uncertain trip home, as Irene has triggered the cancellation of thousands of flights. Amtrak service is disrupted throughout the busy northeast corridor, Greyhound has cancelled many buses and even subway systems in New York and Philadelphia were closing.

In Washington, the Martin Luther King Memorial dedication and related events scheduled for this weekend were postponed. Mayor Vincent Gray, along with Govs. Martin O’Malley in Maryland and Robert McDonnell in Virginia, declared a state of emergency. Widespread power outages are expected in D.C. in the wake of the storm.


Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

1 Comment
  • NOTE: i thought you’d find this amusing, and deem it worthy of Rehoboth BEACH NEWS.

    Hey–just left the thrift store, bought four books. “Imperial Rome”, “Ancient America”, “A Guide to the Biltmore Estate”, and “Health and Healing, The Natural Way–Natural Remidies.” As you can see my interests are nernish, YEP. I’ve been studying about Rome, Greece, ancient America, and homeopathic medicine for some time now. Enough about that….

    A quiet day, verging on boring, I stopped at a local thrift store to check things out. It benefits the local hospital, and the shop’s always is full of neat stuff. It’s Tuesday, not crowded, and the only ones there other than I, are busy-body retirees, day-dress housewives, and immigrants. “No hablo ingles,” she said, “sies dolares,” said the chubby, pinky cherub-faced volunteer in perfect Spanish. Impressive, I thought. My age, I often see him when I stop by. Swoosh, and a wirey-haired, red-head  heifer zoomed by me, dangling her 20 keys. I decided to get out of her way, she seemed aggressive, and I didn’t want to be thrown outta balance by her bumper hips. She had the demeanor of a staff sergeant, as she stopped by the costume jewelry and pestered to see stuff. No secret–she’s looking for diamonds and gold! Pleeze–this is a thrift store–that stuff, if there ever was any–is long gone. I know, I glanced myself–he,he. HEY, I’ve got eyes! By the time I selected the books I wanted, a huge commotion started. It seems the heifer (don’t know her name) and an African woman (she spoke with an accent) were at it over a “gold” bracelet. “I saw it first, said the heifer.” “no, cherub said, she did” gesturing toward the other. “Well she didn’t put a hold on it,” said heifer. The African lady said “I leave you in God’s grace”–something similar to that, then ruined it by adding how much a better person she was for saying this. The argument escalated as heifer wasnt about to be out done in self-praise. A “lady” I agreed with the Afro-lady,–and got in my two-cents worth. She seemed more gentile, than “heifer,” but hey, they’re both having a public argument at a thrift store for God’s sake! “OUT, out the both of you,” came in the manager. They breezed out, still yacking! “That’ll be $4’s,” said cherub-face, “here’s five” I said, “it was well worth the show!” Everyone in the store laughed–all twenty of us agreed.

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