A Longtime Local Shares Her Favorite Coastal Rituals

A stunning sunrise, lunch at Mickey’s Family Crab House and a show at the Freeman Stage.


Ellen Rice has lived on the coast since 1962. “I have so many favorite ways to spend an ideal day,” she says. A visit to the beach is chief among them, says the artist.


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Rice watches the sun rise over the ocean from the beach off Key Box Road in Delaware Seashore State Park or the area in front of the Addy Sea Bed & Breakfast in downtown Bethany Beach. “If you have a good sunrise, you have the sun going through the clouds and amazing colors,” she says. Near Indian River Inlet, she hunts for shipwreck artifacts, then takes a walk on the Bethany Beach Boardwalk before breakfast at 99 Sea Level at the Bethany Beach Oceanside Suites Residence Inn. “You can sit on the veranda, overlooking the ocean,” she says. Then it’s time for shopping, which includes visits to Water Lili, Treasure Island and Bethany Beach Books. “They have great taste,” she says. If guests are in town, she takes them to the Indian River Life-Saving Station or to DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island. “Either place is fascinating.”


Rice and her friend lunch at Mickey’s Family Crab House near Sea Colony—“They get the best crabs. They don’t monkey around with the tiny guys”—then she stops at Sea Needles to pick up some hand-dyed yarn. She buys treats for her two Dobermans at Millville Pet Shop., then visits Good Earth Market & Organic Farm for freshly baked, gluten-free bread. “They’ve got great soups, too,” she says. She doesn’t leave without organic vegetables.


Café on 26 at Woodland Avenue and Del. 26, she says, “is a wonderful dining experience.” The signature dish is potato-Romano-encrusted salmon topped with jumbo lump crabmeat served with a cream-dill reduction. She’s out the door in time to use two tickets to see a performance at The Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville, an outdoor venue that showcases local talent as well as national and international acts. Back home, she relaxes on the deck with her guests and dogs. “That makes it an ideal day, indeed.”

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