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Within the Biden period, Delaware’s Rehoboth Seaside joins the ranks of presidential retreats


The Kennedys had their sprawling Cape Cod compound. Ronald Reagan chopped wooden, rode horses and entertained Queen Elizabeth at his California ranch. The Bushes spent their summers in Kennebunkport, Maine. And Donald Trump most popular Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster over Washington.

Now within the Biden period, Rehoboth Seaside is getting a second within the solar — becoming a member of the ranks of presidential retreats.

However the city on Delaware’s coast is not like its predecessors. 

“Rehoboth is a bit totally different as a result of it isn’t remoted, it isn’t secluded like an island or a ranch,” stated Colleen Shogan of the White Home Historic Affiliation. “It is half of a bigger space the place on a regular basis Individuals trip.”

Simply a few hours east of Washington, Rehoboth Seaside has been recognized by locals because the nation’s summer season capital. Essentially the most iconic characteristic is its one-mile boardwalk that dates again to the 1870s and options Thrasher’s French Fries, Grotto Pizza and quite a few ice cream outlets. 

The Bidens had been visiting the city for years earlier than shopping for a house there in 2017 for a reported $2.7 million. A plaque hanging from their entrance door reads, “A promise stored,” a reminder of President Biden making good on a pledge to purchase his spouse a seashore home after he wrote his ebook. 

The idea of a presidential retreat is as outdated because the presidency itself. 

“The early presidents would retreat again to their houses…George Washington and Mount Vernon, James Madison to Montpelier, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. We do not actually see the notion, although, of what we might name a trip emerge till after the Civil Warfare,” stated Shogan. “Most likely the primary president that went on a legit presidential trip was Ulysses S. Grant. And he preferred to trip on the Jersey Shore. And so from there ahead, we see presidents really occurring trip.” 

Although, if you’re the chief of the free world, there’s actually no such factor as day off. “Presidents by no means actually get pleasure from that privilege to run off being president of the US,” Shogun stated, noting the change of surroundings “offers presidents the time to rejuvenate, offers them time to do issues they could not do on the White Home.”

Presidents have a tendency to pick trip spots that match their personalities. 

“You may perceive why President Reagan would possibly need to spend time in California. President Bush, clearly time in Texas and in addition his father, George H.W. Bush, who had been going to Kennebunkport, Maine, his total life,” Shogan stated. “And I believe that President Biden, he is very snug at Rehoboth. That is the place that he is aware of, the place he has hung out. And he is additionally somebody who needs to be, is right down to Earth. He likes ice cream, and there is not any scarcity of ice cream at Rehoboth.” 

That is welcome information to Chip Hearn, who owns The Ice Cream Retailer on the Rehoboth boardwalk. They’ve a brand new taste this summer season referred to as the Biden Summer season White Home Cherry. “It is virtually like a proud idea that the president really lives right here. It is a huge deal,” Hearn instructed CBS Information. 

Whereas it could be Mr. Biden’s second dwelling, former President Donald Trump gained Sussex County, which encompasses Rehoboth, with 55% of the vote in 2020. Nonetheless, store homeowners like Hearn say it isn’t essentially a political city. “Politics right here has nothing to do with Republican and Democrat. It has to do with who’s performing some cool stuff and making the seashore higher,” he stated. 

“We’re really happy that Joe Biden is placing Delaware and Rehoboth Seaside on the map, not simply domestically, however worldwide,” Mayor Stan Mills instructed CBS Information. 

Like most cities throughout the nation within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rehoboth has had a troublesome 12 months. However Mills hopes its new standing as a presidential retreat may help with tourism. 

Mills recalled Mr. Biden’s visits lengthy earlier than he gained the presidency. “You would possibly simply stroll round city and switch round, and poof, there he was — with Dr. Jill Biden behind him — patronizing a few of our shops and bookstores and low outlets, and ice cream outlets,” he stated. “And naturally the factor that is totally different right now is now he is president. He was lately on the town. And issues have modified a bit bit. We nonetheless count on what I name the ‘famously pleasant Joe Biden’ to come back into city and stroll round. However he is obtained a unique profile now. He is obtained a a lot higher entourage and safety element.”

That change was obvious when the Bidens traveled to their Rehoboth dwelling in June to have a good time Jill Biden’s birthday — their first go to there as president and first girl. They arrived in Marine One on a newly transformed helipad in Gordon Pond. However they nonetheless managed to slot in a few of their common actions there, like using their bikes in Cape Henlopen State Park.

The park is stuffed with U.S. historical past, and has particular significance for Mr. Biden. It’s dwelling to Fort Miles, a WWII army base and Herring Level, which served as a Sound Surveillance System searching for submarines within the Atlantic Ocean. As a senator, Mr. Biden helped return a number of the land there from the U.S. army again to the state of Delaware. For these efforts, a former U.S. naval facility within the park was named the Biden Environmental Science Heart. The Bidens additionally devoted a bench at Herring Level, overlooking the ocean, to their late son Beau.

“This park sees over one million guests a 12 months, they usually find it irresistible for a similar causes that the president’s household loves it,” Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens instructed CBS Information about Cape Henlopen. 

Like many individuals within the space, Bivens has a Biden story. 

“I used to be on this precise spot with him about three years in the past. And he was simply one other gentleman out bike using. A pair came to visit to me and … they requested, ‘Who was that you just had been speaking to?’ I used to be like, ‘Oh, that— on the time, the vice chairman.’ And so they had been simply amazed that he was simply out and about, having fun with the park similar to they had been,” Bivens stated. 

That day, Bivens had spent a while using across the park with the then-vice president. “At one level, he requested about my household and he ended up saying, ‘Hey, let’s name your mother,’ and he talked to my mother on the telephone.”



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