Few folks want to come home from the beach. Parting with surf and sand is less sorrowful if you can bring a memento back to your everyday life, a souvenir that will remind you of the beauty and restorative power of Delaware’s incomparable coast.
Postcards are nostalgic, but wouldn’t you rather have a souvenir that you can taste, smell, touch or share with others? Here are 10 tempting options from local businesses.
Established in 1926, Dolle’s is synonymous with saltwater taffy. Open year-round, the shop still sells original flavors like vanilla, blueberry, licorice and banana. Over the years, they have added some newfangled tastes. Watermelon, anyone? Busloads of visitors who stop at its new location near the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk clamor for boxes of taffy to take home. Dolle’s also makes crowd pleasers by hand, such as Mellow Mints, sticks of colorful taffy with a mint kick, and chocolates, including dark chocolate seashells and sea salt caramels, sold by the piece.
9 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 227-0757
Revisit happy days on the beach each time you wear sea-glass earrings from this friendly boutique. Named for a surfing term, Blue Room also carries beach-themed art, textiles, notecards, pillows, and other goods reminiscent of sun and sand.
123 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach; 537-6617
Fisher’s motto is “our popcorn just tastes better.” And it should. They’ve been making air-popped caramel popcorn since 1937 using a secret recipe. Since then, the business has popped, as the owners have added Old Bay and other fun flavors to the menu at locations in Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Rehoboth Beach. You can bring your signature Fisher’s canister back to the store to be refilled.
108 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach; 37081 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island; 48 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 888-436-6388
Collecting shells by the seashore is a time-honored beach pastime—except most of the larger shells are broken and dinged by the time the surf drives them to shore. At the Sea Shell Shop, visitors can buy pristine starfish, sand dollars and mollusks ranging from Murex ramosus (a big, spiky conch) to the humble quahog clam.
119 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 19366 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach; 227-6666
The big red barn in Fenwick Island is a landmark for shoppers who know Seaside doesn’t fudge on their fudge, perhaps because they’ve been selling it for more than 50 years. Sold by the piece or the pound, rich fudge is made daily in more than 30 flavors, from traditional chocolate to Key lime.
1208 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island; 539-6110
There’s more than craft beer at Dogfish Head. You can wear a memento of the Delaware-born brew. T-shirts in 100 percent cotton proclaim “off-centered beer for off-centered people.” Another great gift could be a four-pack of Dogfish craft beer. Also on tap: sweaters, flannel shirts, hats and outerwear, available for purchase at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach and at the Milton brewery.
320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 511 Chestnut St., Milton; 888-8dogfish
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can indulge visually in the fanciful, sparkling and colorful candies at Edie Bees, which boasts the most delectable window displays in historic downtown Lewes. Create your own sampler of yummy, gorgeous treats as a sweet reminder of your day at the beach.
115 Second St., Lewes; 645-2347
Bubbling with natural and vegetarian ingredients like olive oil, herbs and coconut, Soap Fairy bars and balls conjure soothing memories of restful vacations. Sold under the Lavender Fields umbrella, the soaps are also a regular draw at farmers markets in Bethany Beach, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.
18864 Cool Spring Road, Milton; 684-1514
There’s always something unique to take home from this fun and quirky retailer, from 302 T-shirts to vintage stained glass. Candles, named for charming Mulberry Street, are souvenirs to be savored with scents like lilac, verbena and basil.
830 Kings Highway, Lewes; 864-7005
Crafted in the United States from recycled canvas sails, Sea Bags offers nautical-inspired totes, wine carriers and pillows, a reminder of time on the water that you can enjoy on land.
40 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 567-2732; firstname.lastname@example.org