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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Country and Blues Fest -- Rehoboth Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Ave. / 800-29-MUSIC or rehobothjazz.com. 9 p.m. June 3, 9 and 10. Performers include Kenny Rogers, the Louisiana Keyboard Commotion and Etta James and the Roots Band. Ticket prices vary.
Paint Out 2006 -- Various locations / 302-227-8408. 9 a.m.-dusk June 23, dawn-dusk June 24 and dawn-noon June 25. About 30 artists will set up easels throughout the city and paint. There will also be an exhibition and sale 4 p.m.-9 p.m. June 25 at the Bellmoor Inn, 6 Christian St. Admission for the exhibition and sale is $20.
Fireworks show -- Boardwalk and shoreline / 302-227-2772 or rehomain.com/fireworks.html. About 9:15 p.m. July 2. Live music on the bandstand 8 p.m.-9 p.m. and a shuttle service takes people from Route One (between County Bank and Jungle Jim's) before and after the fireworks. Rain date is July 3.
Cottage Tour -- Rehoboth Art League grounds, 12 Dodds Lane / 302-227-8408 or re hobothartleague.org. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 11-12. See homes and gardens in the Rehoboth Beach area. $15.
Sand Castle Contest -- Fisherman's Beach at the north end of Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk / 800-441-1329, ext. 12. 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 5. Categories include sand castle, animal and freeform. Judging begins at 3 p.m. and winners are announced at 6 p.m. Free.
Main Street Aquathlon -- Rehoboth band stand / 302-227-7667 or surfracersports.com. 8 a.m. Sept. 3. Swim a half-mile in open water and run a 5K. Some of the proceeds will benefit the Rehoboth Beach Main Street Organization. $15 walker, $35 individual runner, $40 team.