Rehoboth Beach and the Boardwalk Plaza – It’s Good to be Back!
By Bob Tagert
In an uncertain world where everything seems to change daily, we decided to take a road trip to a true constant…Rehoboth Beach and the ever constant Atlantic Ocean. I can remember the years of going to Ocean City, Maryland and then Rehoboth Beach to enjoy the sunshine and the beach activities. Today I have grown into more of a spectator than participant but the consistency of the ocean rushing onto the beach and then receding has not changed while the world around us seems to be falling apart at times.
The sun and the moon still rise every 24 hours over the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. That magic and romance we felt back then is still there today although a bit more jaded. In time measured it is clear that we change much quicker than the world around us and that is why a return trip to mother ocean is necessary.
Our weather window of March 16-18 looked to cover all the bases. 70 degrees and sunny on the 16th, 50 degrees and rainy on St. Patrick’s Day and another 70+ degree day for the return drive on the 18th.
After a late morning start we took a pleasant window-down drive from Old Town and arrived at our destination just in time to check into the beautiful Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. This was not our first trip to the Plaza as we have visited before and there seems to be no reason to look for any other accommodations. The Plaza Hotel is perfectly located on the boardwalk and only two blocks from Rehoboth Avenue…the main drag.
With the aforementioned spectator mentality, we find mid-March to the end of April to be a perfect time to go. Prices are reduced, accommodations are plentiful and street parking is free. Another bonus is that children are in school and the whole vibe is laid back with a peaceful easy feeling about it all, and it all begins when you enter the Boardwalk Plaza doors.
There is a doorman there to help you with your entry and transporting your bags to your room. The other reception committee, besides the cool staff behind the desk, is the trio of parrots…Emro, Peanut and Moose. Chances are good that Emro will be busy working at the front desk perched on a computer screen while Moose (the smallest bird) may be prancing on top of his cage looking for attention and Peanut (the largest bird in the menagerie) will be quietly observing everything from his perch while letting out an occasional whistle and offering an off-hand comment ever so often.
After checking in with the welcoming committee, we took the elevator to the fourth floor and our ocean front room. There are only four floors to the hotel and the fourth floor is reserved for adults only, which in the summer time is a bonus. It takes your room key to get to the fourth floor on the elevator and that floor has access to the rooftop hot tub.
The rooms are perfect for a beach town. When you walk through the door you are in the bedroom section with a beautiful antique chest of drawers and a closet and a flat screen television on one side and two queen size beds that are incredibly comfortable and make falling asleep easy on the other. The next room is the vanity with a Kuerig stocked with coffee, teas, and hot chocolate. The vanity is also in this space with the bathroom facilities and shower behind it in a separate room. The front room that leads to the balcony is the sitting room complete with two plush chairs and table, a writing desk and a large flat screen television. The sliding glass door leads to a small balcony with two chairs and a small table and the sound and sights of the Atlantic. The appointments in the room are impressive with a small bouquet of fresh flowers, turn down service with chocolates and complimentary bottled water provided each day. Don’t miss putting on one of the plush robes that are provided for you to wear during your stay.
Although the balcony faces the rising sun, the morning sunlight only slightly reaches the beds as they are offset behind the separating wall. Sleeping late is only a matter of shutting your eyes. The room is a nice size for two but if you try to fit four adults it will tighten up a bit.
The Plaza is a full service hotel featuring a large indoor/outdoor spa pool, Victoria’s Restaurant, a small pub and lounge with live music on certain evenings, a coffee shop and a small gift shop.
The indoor soaking pool has air jets to relax the muscles and no one under the age of 18 is allowed in it after 8 pm. It is also open 24 hours so you can don one of the plush robes and take your night cap in one of the plastic glasses provided down to the pool for a midnight soak/swim.
Victoria’s restaurant is award winning and is one of the only ones in Rehoboth open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 365 days a year. The pub and restaurant both have outdoor dining right on the boardwalk.
This time of year most all of Rehoboth is open so we didn’t want to waste any more of the nice weather on our first afternoon so we headed out to the boardwalk and walked along the beach for a few blocks and then trekked to one of our favorite purveyor of beverages on Rehoboth Avenue…the Purple Parrot. This is a fun place which also offers Karaoke on select nights. After a bite to eat and a few drinks and lively conversation with the bartender we decided to head across the street to the new Nalu Surf Bar. The Rehoboth location is a sister restaurant to the original located in Dewey where it has been in operation for 15 years. We always try to stop in a new place on our trips and Nalu is a gem.
Nalu is Hawaiian for “wave”, hence the Surf Bar motif. Sporting a thatched roof I figured this is the place for dark rum. They did have Myers but the Captain Morgan was really flowing. Along with our Hawaiian themed cocktails, we had to try a few more appetizers and couldn’t pass up the coconut shrimp and the life changing grilled bacon wrapped pineapple chunks! We will be back…
It was getting dark out so we headed back to the Plaza for a last drink at the Pub. We got lucky that night. Although already half way through his show, we got to spend the last two sets with local Rehoboth musician Keith Mack. Keith has been a session musician for some of rocks best performers and he has a few CD’s of his own. He was fantastic to not only listen to but to converse with as well. It was a perfect ending to a long day.
Since the weather the next day – St. Patrick’s Day – was windy, cold and cloudy with light rain all day…it was a perfect day to lounge around the room all morning listening to the waves while we psyched up for our visit to the Starboard Restaurant in Dewey Beach to celebrate our Irish friends.
This local Dewey Beach bar is a legend right along with the Bottle & Cork and the Rusty Rudder – neither of which were open. Despite it being 3 pm on St. Patrick’s Day, we were lucky enough to find two bar stools at one of the four or five bars (was hard to tell since they had the parking lot tented over) set up for the weekend. It felt like a reunion of the hay days of Dewey Beach in the mid-seventies. There may have been a few 20-somethings there but at 75 years old, I felt right at home. Gillian our bartender was amazing and it was a good time. It was way too crowded to order food so we retreated to the aforementioned original Nalu for eats. If you stop in, we hope Jimmy Young is behind the bar – he is a real treat. On this special day he had his hair tinted green and spiked and his eyebrows tinted orange….
We made it back to the bar at the Plaza in time to use our two complimentary drink cards and retreat to the dining room for a light dinner. I forgot to mention that the Plaza is beautifully decorated in a Victorian theme. Victoria’s Restaurant is the same. Classy and comfortable. Treat yourself to the cream of crab soup and the Bang Bang shrimp when you go.
The next morning we reluctantly checked out. Lani wanted to stop at this cool shop that sold all sorts of Bloody Mary supplies. Devil Dave’s Bloody Mary Shop – A Unique Store for the Enthusiast! The anchor product for the store is Devil Dave’s Bloody Mary seasoning. It isn’t a bottle of mix. It is a combination of dehydrated horse radish, Worcestershire sauce and secret spices sold in individual packets. Check them out at DevilDaves.com for the whole story.
Since the “Devil” is in the same block as the famous Summer House I decided to wait there and have a Bloody Mary and some lunch. The Summer House is another favorite Northern Virginian/Washingtonian destination. The stories this place could tell.
Take a Road Trip to Rehoboth Beach and the Boardwalk Plaza hotel. Spend some time in Dewey as well. We didn’t cover 1/16th of the fun that is available in this area in this column so we urge you to pack your bags, hop in the car and start making your own memories and stories to tell.