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Cold Sands, Warm Hearth

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Bethany Beach-Ocean View

The Addy Sea

PO Box 275, Bethany Beach, 539-3707, addysea.com

Stepping off the Addy Sea’s wraparound porch lands you right on the dunes of Bethany Beach. No matter the time of year, sand between the toes can be therapeutic.

The Addy Sea is all about beauty and tranquility. Its 13 rooms have a view of the Atlantic. Bethany’s boardwalk starts only two blocks south.

“There are very few B’n’Bs right on the beachfront,” says general manager Judy Axel. “You don’t even have to cross the street to get to the ocean.”

As any Victorian worth its weight in teacups, the Addy Sea features original tin ceilings, gingerbread woodwork and antiques galore. What it doesn’t include is dust-collecting doilies and other clutter associated with high Victorian style. Modern amenities such as Jacuzzis and free wireless Internet service are available, but in the interest of romance, only one guest room has a television.

The Addy Sea offers B’n’B staples such as tea in the afternoons, a wine and cheese gathering on Saturdays, and a full gourmet breakfast on weekends. Axel says the inn’s staff of 10 is there to help, but not to interfere.

“We’re very laid back,” she says. “We welcome you, but you make yourself at home and do what you want to do. There are not a lot of rules and regulations. It doesn’t feel like a hotel room.”

The Addy Sea enjoys a long history of hospitality. John M. Addy, one of Bethany’s founding fathers, built the cedar-shingled mansion in 1902. The family rented it to church groups during the Depression. The Gravattes bought the property in the 1970s and have run it as a bed and breakfast ever since.

Despite its prominence as a local landmark, the Addy Sea and even Bethany Beach remain a well-kept secret to much of the rest of the world. And that’s not such a bad thing.

“The beauty of Bethany is that you come to enjoy the area and it’s not a lot of hubbub,” Axel says. “It’s a place to re-connect.”

February: $100-$150, March, April: $125-$200

Woodsong Country Inn

37269 W. Dirickson Creek Road, Frankford
539-8845, woodsongcountryinn.com

Woodsong is off the beaten track in more ways than one. Its proximity to the Assawoman Wildlife Area makes it unique, but its appeal to nature lovers makes Woodsong even more unusual.

Themes of reconnecting with nature and respecting the environment run through the inn, from its vegetarian-oriented menu to the names of its six rooms, which include the Elegant Egret, the Secluded Blue Heron and the Brilliant Merganser.

Phyllis McCourt, Woodsong’s superintendent, describes inn owners Jane Vincenti and Martee Kappell as “hippie-type people.” To conserve water, for example, guests are asked to sleep on the same sheets both nights of a two-evening stay. The inn serves drinking water only when it’s requested, leftover food is composted, and recycling is a religion. “We don’t throw anything away,” McCourt says. The inn is a member of the Green Hotels Association.

Woodsong may seem out in the boondocks, but it’s just a few minutes’ drive from the Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island. Guests get the best of both worlds by enjoying the nearby 3,100-acre wildlife area by day and the beach restaurant scene in the evening.

The refuge is home to more than 75 species of birds, including screech owls, wood ducks and quail, along with several rare plant sites. Hiking, kayaking, horseback riding and even hunting are available in season.

Woodsong offers a 20 percent senior discount year-round. Massages are easily arranged through the inn’s network of massage therapists. The inn offers a Valentine’s special, complete with chocolates, roses and champagne, during the weekends before and after the 14th.

Breakfast is served daily and Woodsong caters to special food requirements. The innkeepers offer a happy hour in the Hearth Room from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. during which wine, beer, soda and snacks are served.

“We take special care to make our guests feel even more comfortable than they do in their own home,” McCourt says. “Woodsong is just a peaceful, pleasant place to be.”

$115-$152 (two-night minimum)

Places to eat:

Bethany Beach-Millville area: Armand’s Pizza, Back Street Café, Bear Trap Dunes Restaurant and Banquet Facilities, Bethany Blues BBQ, bluecoast seafood grill & fish market, The Blue Crab of Bethany Beach, Chalkboard Tavern & Grille, Cottage Café Restaurant & Pub, DiFebo’s Restaurant & Deli, Doyle’s Restaurant, Fat Tuna Grill, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Frog House Restaurant, Gary’s Bethany Beach Grill, Grotto Pizza, Isabella’s Abruzzi Style Pizzeria & Restaurant, Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grill, Mango’s, Mickey’s Family Crab House, Matteo’s Salsa Loco, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen, Outriggers, Parkway Restaurant, Seaside Grill

Fenwick Island: Captain Pete’s Authentic Greek Cuisine, Harpoon Hanna’s, Mancini’s Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant, Nantuckets, Ocean Side Pizzeria, Smitty McGee’s Restaurant & Raw Bar, Steakhouse 26, Surf’s Edge Deli & Pizzeria

Ocean City, Maryland: Jordan’s Rooftop Restaurant, Phillips Seafood House

Places to shop:

Sea Crest gift shop, Candy Kitchen, Coastal Classics, Dagsboro Antique Center Inc., Refractions Antiques & Collectibles, Sea-Lites, Shop of the Four Sisters, Tulip, Ltd.

Rehoboth Beach

Lighthouse Inn Bed and Breakfast

20 Delaware Ave., Rehoboth Beach

(800) 600-9092, lighthouseinn.net

“Make it a stay they’ll remember,” says innkeeper Matt Turlinski.

That’s how he and Jerry Sipes have operated the Lighthouse for the past 10 seasons. More than 50 percent of their guests are repeat customers, so they must be serving some pretty good memories. Perhaps it’s the special packages that keep patrons coming back.

The Romantic Escape weekend includes a two-night stay, a massage and a three-course dinner at a local restaurant (alcohol not included). On Friday, shrimp cocktail and champagne are served in-room. Wake to a Continental breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by a massage. For dinner, enjoy the French-Mediterranean dishes from Celsius. Cordials and chocolates are delivered to your room upon your return. A home-cooked breakfast on Sunday morning finishes the stay. The dinner-and-movie special, also a two-nighter, features a Continental breakfast, a matinee at the Movies at Midway, and dinner at Dos Locos Restaurant & Cantina (booze and tip not included). You’ll need to call the Lighthouse for this year’s rates. The weekend after Valentine’s Day was booked by the end of last year, but call and check, just in case.

The year-round Stay Fit special includes use of the nearby Body Shop Fitness Center for $4 per day. (It’s usually $12.)

The Lighthouse Inn, just a half-block from the boardwalk, is a prime starting point for walks on the boards or beach, shopping along the avenue or even a leisurely bicycle ride to nearby Dewey Beach.

Each of the four rooms (named for towns famous for their lighthouses) features a private bathroom, remote controlled fireplaces, Direct-TV, a VCR, a fridge and videos. A 40-minute complimentary thermal acupressure massage on the Chi Bed is available upon request.

One of the inn’s biggest draws is its proximity to Rehoboth’s assortment of fine dining establishments. “The first thing out of their mouth,” Turlinsky says, “is usually, ‘Where’s a good place to eat?’”

$80-$130 (Opens February 9; closed for first two weeks of March)

Bedazzled

65 Lake Ave., Rehoboth Beach

Bewitched

67 Lake Ave., Rehoboth Beach

Sea Witch Manor Inn & Spa

71 Lake Ave., Rehoboth Beach

226-WITCH, seawitchmanor.com

The Sea Witch and her sisters, Bewitched and Bedazzled, each offer a different twist on the traditional B’n’B.

“I want people to have fun,” says Inez Conover, who runs the inns with Kathleen Bailey, her partner in business and life. “I want them to have an experience instead of just coming and having white walls.”

The Sea Witch, decorated in classic Victorian style, targets romantics. The most traditional of the trio, it features five large guest rooms, an on-staff massage therapist, outdoor hot tubs, and open cordial bars and sweet bars.

Bewitched, named in honor of the 1960s and ’70s television show, is geared more toward silly romantics and the younger crowd. Each room is decorated the way each actor would have wanted it, Conover says. Aunt Clara’s room, for example, includes a doorknob collection in homage to actress Marion Lorne’s real-life hobby. Darrin No. 1 shares a room with Samantha, of course. Darrin No. 2, says Conover, “is gay, so he has to have his own room.”

The late Kasey Rogers, who played Louise Tate, never visited Bewitched, but she often steered friends from California to stay there.

Bedazzled’s golden age of Hollywood motif is “just outright fun” for serious film folks. One might think that Bette Davis inhabits one room, while in another room, it seems Marilyn Monroe has left her perfume on the counter. The Humphrey Bogart Suite is what else but masculine, complete with a California king bed and leather club chairs. A 42-inch flat screen television hangs above the living room fireplace, ready to screen a DVD from the inn’s vast movie library.

All three inns offer Valentine’s Day specials that include a two-night stay, special romantic gifts, a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider, a signature rose petal heart, fresh roses and a box of locally made taffy or chocolates. Special rates range from $159-$285.

The Sea Witch offers massage and spa packages through March. Call for details. As with most B’n’Bs, all stays include a little visiting with your hosts.

“We spend a lot of time with guests at the breakfast table,” says Conover. “Many times we’ll sit down to eat at 9 o’clock, and everyone will still be sitting there at 11.”

Bedazzled $99-$145, Bewitched $99-$119, Sea Witch $210-$255

Places to eat:

Rehoboth Beach: 59 Lake Restaurant and Lounge, Abstractions Sushi Bar and Restaurant, Adriatico Ristorante and Seafood Café, Big Fish Grill, Blue Moon, Café Zeus, Celsius, Cloud 9, Cultured Pearl, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Dos Locos, Eden Café, Espuma, Fusion, Grotto Pizza, Nicola’s Pizza, Iguana Grill, Jake’s Seafood House, Partners Bistro, Planet X Café, Ram’s Head Tavern, Rusty Rudder, Seaside Thai, Sydney’s, Victoria’s Restaurant, Zebra Ristorante

Places to shop:

Rehoboth Avenue shops include Carltons, Browseabout Books, White House Black Market, Quiet Storm, The Mizzen Mast, Tempus Fugit and more. Visit Baltimore Avenue for more great shops. Tanger Outlets includes everything under the sun: Ann Taylor, Geoffrey Beene, Nike, Levi’s, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers and more.

Lewes

The Blue Water House

407 E. Market St., Lewes, 645-7832, lewes-beach.com

Warning: The Blue Water House is not a traditional bed and breakfast. Perhaps you already gathered that from the palm trees jutting from the yard. With rooms named for Hemmingway and Key West, Blue Water is modeled after a Caribbean inn.

Peace, pampering and comfort is the mantra at this retreat from the rat race. Blue Water, on Lewes Beach, is the anti-Victorian. It’s casual, not stuffy, as demonstrated by its brightly colored walls. The friendly staff is more than willing to help, but remains at a respectful distance.

“We’re not intrusive,” says innkeeper Leisa Berlin. “I’m here to serve you, not to make friends with you.”

Each of the oversized nine rooms includes a private bath, a 27-inch television with a VCR and Internet access. Private terraces are perfect for reading the paper over breakfast, which, along with coffee, can be delivered to your door. Blue Water’s fountains and wood carvings add to the island vibe. An open-air Margarita patio, complete with barbecue grill, is ideal for gatherings. A full, hot buffet breakfast is served daily in the Pineapple Café.

The rooftop lookout is the perfect perch to catch a panoramic view of historic Lewes, including its lighthouses, and a sunset over Delaware Bay. The living room provides a scenic view of the adjacent marshland.

A massage therapist is available, offering therapeutic Swedish massage and hot stone therapy. “We would like you to relax and get away from it all, and we will do whatever we can to make this happen,” Berlin says. “We want this to be a vacation that you will never forget or ever regret.”

February and Mar

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