Chic at the shore

The 'quiet resorts' are booming with summer fun that goes beyond the boardwalk

May 13, 2011|By Stephanie Citron, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Sunny skies. Warm sand. A bottomless iced tea. An endless sunset.

You'll find all that and more in a visit to the Delaware coast, home to Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island — a collection of historic towns that define summer at the shore.

Barely a three-hour drive from Baltimore, the area is the ideal spot for a perfect day at the beach. Each town offers its own distinctive vibe, as well as the adornments of tax-free shopping, inventive eateries and cultural, eco-friendly activities.

Bethany and Fenwick are the "quiet" ones, while Dewey has one of the most vibrant social scenes in the area. Rehoboth is quaint and sophisticated, with upscale shops, spas, galleries and eateries, plus a bustling boardwalk. Meanwhile, Lewes is a throwback to another beach era with its antique shops and museums,

So take your pick of Delaware's offerings. Below are five itineraries.

Girlfriends' getaway

The beach offers everything girlfriends need: fabulous shopping, blissful spas and adventurous dining, with a dreamy sun-sand backdrop. Book your stay at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel's adults-only floor and enjoy access to the private rooftop pool and hot tub. (2 Olive Ave., Rehoboth, 302-227-7169,

Yoga at the beach Grab your mat and towel and check out Sunrise Beach Yoga. (Dewey Beach between Dickinson and McKinley avenues, 302-645-2334,

Breakfast in the pink Try the Pink Grapefruit Brulee — half a grapefruit topped with caramelized sugar — or indulge in the Lemon Berry French Toast at oceanfront Victoria's in the Boardwalk Plaza.

Shop till you drop Explore chic boutiques Azura (139 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-9650, and Cleo's (247 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-6840, amid Rehoboth's alluring alleyways before heading for the famed outlets. (36470 Seaside Outlet Drive, Rehoboth,

Get refreshed Order an Eastern Shore Crab Wrap and a fresh fruit salad from gourmet Grub Grocery before you and the girls head to the beach. (305 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth, 302-226-4782,

Have a spa moment You'll emerge scrubbed, sparkling and smelling like a citrus garden from your tangerine and grapefruit body scrub ($85) — featuring fresh fruit, sugar and almond oil — at Fusion Day Spa. (101 North Boardwalk, Rehoboth, 302-858-0772,

Make it a ladies night Dancing queens rock the night away at The Starboard bar and lounge. (2009 Coastal Highway, Dewey, 302-227-4600,

Romantic rendezvous

Long, lazy walks on beaches. Exploring avant-garde art galleries. Scenic epicurean eateries. Sexy spa treatments. Is there a more idyllic locale for a romantic interlude? To make it even more perfect, check into a sumptuous suite at The Bellmoor Inn & Spa. (6 Christian St., Rehoboth,

Move in sync Paddle your kayaks past historic lighthouses and sites of maritime escapades on a "Kayak History Tour" led by Lewes historian Mike DiPaolo. (17252 N.Village Main Blvd., Lewes, 302-644-7020,

Rub along together Indulge in a couples massage and a dip in the Magnolia pool at The Bellmoor Spa. (6 Christian St., Rehoboth, 302-227-0323,

Play house Tour the historic Homestead House with its art collection, acres of gardens, galleries and studios at the Rehoboth Art League. (12 Dodds Lane, Rehoboth, 302-227-8408

Picnic on the beach Share a "beach food" picnic lunch of seafood wraps from Nourish Market while relaxing on the beach. (37385 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth, 302-227-6282

Shine a light on love Propose marriage atop Fenwick Island's picturesque lighthouse. (Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, 302-539-1887 For more wow factor, hire a plane with a "pop the question" banner. (

Dine under the stars Enjoy a sunset dinner in a private rooftop gazebo surrounded by bubbling fountains and koi ponds at Cultured Pearl. (301 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth, 302-227-8493,

Cuddle up Relax as you enjoy a performance of Gershwin's dreamy "Words & Music" at Clear Space Theater. (20 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth, 302-227-2270

Have a nightcap Ignore the chocolates waiting on your pillow. Head over to Espuma Martini Bar for a chocolate-covered raspberry martini. (28 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth, 302-227-4199

Family times

Southern Delaware is the ideal antidote for electronics-addicted kids and parents. Combine your visit with a stay at Sea Colony, a self-contained family resort in Bethany Beach featuring indoor/outdoor pools and activities, and you're all set for summer. (302-537-8888,

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