Delaware Beach Shopping Guide
Forget shells and T-shirts. Judging by the number of new spas that have opened at the beach, the manicure has become the new vacation souvenir. “People seem to be more willing to spend money on pampering,” says Carol Everhart, president of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce. While the service industry, which makes up 60 percent of the chamber’s membership, is coming on strong, some retailers have also taken the plunge or expanded operations.
Masseuse Olga Stepura performs her magic at Zen Spa in Fenwick.
Photograph by Jared Castaldi
Beauty at the Beach
In Fenwick Island, massage therapist Stacy Wetzstein opened Zen Spa in the old Seaport Antiques Manor House. “We’re right on the water—it’s a nice spot to come in, get some services and spend the day,” Wetzstein says. Zen Spa offers six massage therapy rooms, including a couples’ room. Getting the kinks out is the spa’s specialty. Zen also offers manicures, pedicures and facials. (988-1750, zenspafenwick.com)
La Vita Bella Day Spa, which opened in Ocean View, can get your body into beach shape in no time with a pedicure, waxing, spray tan and seaweed body wrap. There are specialty services for guys, too. (616-1014, lavitabellaonline.com)
In Rehoboth, Oasis Bath & Body Boutique expanded to include day spa treatments. Now you can pick up anti-aging creams and bath products and get a manicure, massage, ionic food detox or facial at the same time. According to owner Claudia Alesi, Oasis is “all about health.” Lines include Zoya, a non-toxic nail polish and sunless tanning products applied by hand. (227-0367, oasisbathandbody.com)
In Lewes, Beach Waves opened in the Villages at Five Points. Beach Waves calls itself a “family salon,” and the owners aren’t kidding. Mother Eileen King and daughter Kimberly King are on hand. The salon offers hair and nail services, as well as waxing. (827-4377, beachwaves.net)
Although more of a retail store than spa, skin care and makeup giant Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio is still a thing of beauty. There’s now a location on Del. 1 in Rehoboth. (226-8100, merlenorman.com)
Why should people get all the pampering? Pets get the royal treatment at Pet Station in Lewes, which offers grooming services and day care. (644-7297, petstationgroomingdaycare.com)
Galleries took a hit during the poor economy, but at least two artists are painting an optimist outlook with new studios. Juleez Gallery this year moved from Baltimore Avenue to First Street in Rehoboth Beach. “We easily doubled our size,” says gallery manager Guy Peluso. Juleez features the work of Julie Borden, who with Peluso moved to the beach from Philadelphia for a change of pace. Borden paints everything from canvases to violins to saxophones. “You can play them all,” Peluso says. Her artwork also appears on iPad covers, journals, mugs—even leggings. (227-3792, Juleez.com)
Well-known local artist Anita Peghini-Räber is the owner and the featured artist of the Anita Peghini-Räber Gallery, also in Rehoboth, which opened in April. “I’ve always believed in Rehoboth Beach as an art destination,” says the painter. She initially researched the gallery idea for a friend. When the friend couldn’t go through with the plan, Peghini-Räber decided to do it herself. Content to share the limelight, she features a host of local and visiting artists. (227-2888, rehobothart.com)
The gallery occupies space on Baltimore Avenue that once belonged to Symmetry, which in turn moved to 403 Rehoboth Ave. The new shop offers more space for Symmetry’s primitive, transitional and contemporary home accessories. You’ll find lamps, mirrors, wall art, and textiles. (290-9741)
Following in the footsteps of antiques cooperatives, Unique Boutiques on Del. 1 in Lewes offers 30 spaces for artisans and craftspeople. Expect stained glass, candles, jewelry, pottery and other artsy-craftsy things. (727-3313)
The Villages By the Sea shopping area in Rehoboth has seen some action lately. “The winter does crazy things here,” says Tom Schmitt, an employee at Proud Bookstore. The bookstore moved into CoCo & Company’s old space for double the room. (227-6969)
In March, Fusion Fitness opened in Proud Bookstore’s old space. The store sells active wear, including clothes for running, yoga, tennis, golf and bicycling. (727-5690, fusionfitnessapparel.com)
Hula Sue reopened in the old Pelican Loft. (227-1012)
In spring, all systems were go for the opening of a Vineyard Vines outlet store in suite 110 at Tanger Midway. The apparel shop gets its name from its start on Martha’s Vineyard.
“They are wildly popular with the Cape Cod set,” says Amy Norgate, general manger of the Tanger Outlet in Rehoboth. “I know our locals are going to love them too.”
Longaberger plans to open a store in Tanger Bayside in suite 410, between Kitchen Collection and Tiger Lili. “We are so excited!” Norgate says.
Along with its popular baskets, Longaberger offers pottery, food and coffee. (226-9223, tangeroutlet.com/Rehoboth)
Toys and Trinkets
Bethany has seen some new retail action in the past year. Tidepool Toys & Games on the Bethany Beach boardwalk focuses on just that: family board games, Lego, spyglasses, finger puppets, and Calico Critters doll houses—and the animal families that live in them. One thing, however, is missing. “There are no electronic games,” says Anne McCabe, who works at the store to help the owners, her son, Sandy Smyth, and his wife, Lori. (537-1206, tidepooltoys.com)
In March, Carolann and Rick Dryer opened a second Odysea in Bethany Beach. (The first is in Rehoboth.)
“We thought Bethany would be a good spot for a unique store like ours,” Carolann Dryer says.
Goodies include California Leash handbags, a staggering collection of Tervis products and bracelet beads that contain sand from seven different local beaches. To keep your tootsies toasty on overcast days, pick up a pair of flip-flop socks. (227-6707, odyseabeach.com)
Beach Brides: Take Note
Seaside weddings continue to gather steam, and services have expanded to meet the couples’ needs. The most recent is Paper Dollz, located behind Make My Day, event planners in Rehoboth Beach. Owners Stefanie Stratton and Allison Veith make custom-made invitations, accessories and stationery for all occasions.
“Many of our brides come in saying, ‘I’m looking for an off-the-wall idea—can you make it happen?’” Stratton says. The answer: absolutely. (226-2273 paperdollz.net)