There’s nothing worse than taking a beach vacation…and having it rain. But there’s so much to do in southern Delaware that you don’t need to be held hostage in a hotel room. Whether you choose to stay in downtown Rehoboth or visit nearby towns, there is a wealth of things to do from visiting art galleries and sampling local wines, to enjoying a magic show or musical revue.
I’m a big fan of visiting art galleries to check out the local talent, come rain or shine. And southern Delaware is full of amazing artists. You can find handcrafted jewelry at the Heidi Lowe Gallery in downtown Rehoboth, and then wander across the street to see the world-renowned photographic work of Kevin Fleming, who has been named ‘America’s Best Observer’ by no less than Reader’s Digest. As a National Geographic photographer, he has covered the world, yet I was especially taken with his shots of local wildlife and the stories of how he got them—some that he says took 15 days to shoot; others 4/10ths of a second.
A short distance from town but a world away is the Rehoboth Art League, which is now in its 78th year. Located on 3.5 acres of wooded landscape—which is quite a surprise this close to the beach—the League hosts exhibitions, classes and open studios, and was voted the #1 gallery in Delaware two years ago in the Delaware News Journal’s reader’s choice contest. I especially liked wandering the grounds, which in addition to housing the Peter Marsh Homestead and Gardens, originally constructed in 1743, also features numerous outdoor sculptures.
For night-time fun, I recommend a visit to the Blue Moon Restaurant, especially if you’re in town on the weekend. There’s no telling what kind of performances you can find there; acts range from female impersonators, to disco and dance hits, to tributes to David Bowie and other musical legends.
Peninsula Gallery, in Lewes, DE, showcases the work of local and regional artists, including one of my personal favorites, Larry Ringgold, who creates incredibly lifelike sculptures from driftwood found on the beach. In downtown Lewes, Abraxas Studio showcases the ‘illuminated reality’ style of one man, the singly-named Abraxas, who sold his first painting at the age of 14 and now provides art to collectors around the world.
If you’re looking for entertainment as well as art, a visit to the Nassau Valley Vineyard is in order. Not only can you enjoy fine libations at the state’s first and only award-winning winery, but you can also browse its walls, where local artists display their work in exhibits that change monthly. You can also tour their Wine Museum that showcases 8,000 years of the vintners’ art.
The Art on the Riverwalk Tour in Milford, DE, features 12 miniature ‘yachts’ that have been decorated by local professional artists who worked with high school students to capture the area’s maritime history and collaborative spirit. The Mispillion Art League, Live Cheap and Make Art Studios (open by appointment), and Gallery 37 (love David Reed’s cigar-box instruments!) also showcase the work of the area’s many artists as well as provide a shopping opportunity for those who want to take more than memories home. And did I mention that you can shop in Delaware tax-free?
One really unique stop is Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville, especially if you have kids. Though I’ve never been much of a magic aficionado, watching magician Rich Bloch, a six-time nominee for Stage Musician of the Year, is a treat—while the tricks are fun, his stories are just as entertaining. This is great entertainment for the whole family…and sitting in the cozy Victorian salon, you’ll soon forget that the sun isn’t shining outside.
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