Rehoboth Beach

Sophistication by the shore

Family-oriented town becomes more cosmopolitan

May 19, 2006|By ELIZABETH LARGE | ELIZABETH LARGE,SUN REPORTER

Rehoboth Beach Rehoboth Beach has been described as being a touch Cape Cod and a little Key West. That's not as true as it used to be. With the real-estate boom, many of the town's old-fashioned clapboard and shingle cottages are being replaced by expensive condos. Affluent vacationers have made Rehoboth their destination beach, which is changing the character of the place - sometimes for the worse, but usually for the better. Over the years, the town has become increasingly cosmopolitan.What's old is good, but what's new is good, too. The beautification of the two blocks of Rehoboth Avenue leading to the boardwalk is expected to be completed by this summer. Utilities are being put underground, and there will be new landscaping and pavers, and a new bandstand for evening concerts.

Where to stay

Rehoboth has its famous hotels like the Atlantic Sands, Boardwalk Plaza and many others, but here are a couple you may not know about. For a complete listing of hotels, motels, B&Bs and real estate agents, try beach-fun.com, rehoboth today.com or beach-net.com.

The Bellmoor Inn (6 Christian St., 800-425-2355, thebellmoor.com) is Rehoboth's newest hotel, open a couple of years now. It has 78 handsomely decorated rooms and suites, a day spa, two outdoor pools and a peaceful courtyard garden where a lavish breakfast is served. Rates: $155-$665.

Canalside Inn (Canal and Sixth streets, 866-412-2625, canalside-inn-rehoboth.com) is on the water, just not the ocean. Under new ownership and newly renovated, the inn is just a few blocks from the center of town. Surprising for such a small hotel (12 rooms), Canalside has a pool and a hot tub. Rates: $125-$200.

Restaurants

Rehoboth Beach is a great restaurant town. There are too many places to list here, but here's a run-down of what's new or almost new this summer:

Aqua Grill (57 Baltimore Ave., 302-226-9001) has gotten a face lift under new ownership. Enjoy its light grill menu on the patio. The signature dish is a bacon bleu burger. Entrees: $7-$13.

Claws Crab House, (167 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-1729) is scheduled to open this summer as downtown Rehoboth's only crab house.

Confucius (57 Wilmington Ave., 302-227-3848) is where many locals go for seafood. It offers excellent Chinese cuisine. Entrees: $17-$38.

Summer House (228 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-3895) reopens with a new owner and new concept: fine dining food in a casual atmosphere. Entrees: $15-$25.

Yesterdays (517 N. Boardwalk, 302-226-5444), under new management, now has a beer and wine license and is expanding its dinner offerings of steak and seafood. Entrees: $12-$20.

Nightlife

Christopher Peterson's Eyecons show returns to the Atlantic Sands Hotel (101 North Boardwalk, 800-422-0600) for 10 weeks. Last summer, the one-man show was sold out every night. Peterson impersonates female stars like Madonna - without lip-synching.

From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays, Cloud 9 (234 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-1999) has country and western dancing. After that it switches to club music.

Primarily a restaurant, 59 Lake (59 Lake Ave., 302-226-5900) has a large dance floor and a DJ spinning dance hits from the '60s, '70s and '80s every Friday night. There's usually live music in the piano bar.

For live jazz and blues year round, stop in at Sydney's (25 Christian St., 302-227-1339), also a Creole restaurant.

Downtown Rehoboth has a happening gay scene. Among other lively bars try Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Ave., 302-227-6515) and Frogg Pond (3 S. First St., 302-227-2234).

Shopping

Of course, there are plenty of tacky souvenir and T-shirt stores. And beachgoers have elevated shopping at nearby outlet malls (no sales tax!) to an art form. But some of the best shopping is done at the small boutiques and galleries in downtown Rehoboth Beach. Here are some of the newest shops:

Beach Culture (10 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-3636) opens this spring with upscale, fun and casual resortwear for the whole family.

Bootlegger (46 Baltimore Ave., 302-226-3007) has boots for men, women and children as well as hats, belts, shoes and sandals.

Honey Kamali (47 Baltimore Ave., 302-227-7608) is a high-end women's boutique, with a range of clothing from sportswear to dressy.

Sea Finds (129-C Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-7971) features shells and other materials from the ocean, plus art, crafts and gifts made from them.

Fun

When you've had enough sun, sand and shopping, Rehoboth offers other pleasures:

Hike in nearby Cape Henlopen State Park just north of Rehoboth. Visit www.destateparks.com for more information.

Channel your inner artist at Creatable Crafts (146 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-1020), a drop-in studio where you can fashion paint-your-own pottery, beading and mosaics.

Wizard's Whisk (48 Wilmington Ave., 302-227-0848) has summer cooking classes for kids ages 6 to 16.

elizabeth.large@baltsun.com

Events

May

Spring Sidewalk Sale -- Rehoboth and Dewey Beach areas and outlets / 800-441-1329, ext. 12. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. May 19-21. More than 300 retailers offer discounts on last season's merchandise.

June

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