Dogfish Inn Offers Whimsy while Wetting your Whistle

The 16-room motel in Lewes is worth a weekend.




 Dogfish Inn 105 Savannah Road, Lewes, 644-8292, www.dogfishinn.com

“Welcome to Lewes. Mother Nature, let’s do this.” The words—painted in Dogfish Head’s proprietary, hiccup-like font—sprawl above the fireplace in the lobby of Dogfish Inn, which opened this past summer.

The craft brewery’s latest endeavor is located in the former Vesuvio Motel at the corner of Savannah and Gills Neck roads. Purchasing the property was no sudden whim for Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Brewery’s founder. He’d been considering a Dogfish Inn for years, partly because of the number of out-of-towners who come to the area just to tour the Milton brewery. 

About 10 years ago, he collaborated with the Inn at Canal Square in Lewes to create the Brew Master’s Suite, a Dogfish-themed guestroom.

“While we’re proud of how that worked out, it wasn’t scalable—so we stopped doing that when we opened our own inn so that all of our guests are equally VIP,” Calagione says.

Calagione, who with his family lives a few blocks from downtown Lewes, was well acquainted with Vesuvio, a classic two-story motel with a balcony along the top level. Dogfish Head purchased the inn and a separate building—which now houses the lobby and a second floor suite (the Sweet!)—for $1.6 million. Then Dogfish Head spent about that much again to renovate it.

The 16-room motel still has the same footprint, but it’s hardly the same property. “We kept the external walls of both structures but basically replaced everything else,” Calagione says. Dogfish enlisted the support of Brooklyn-based Studio Tack to renovate the property. 

The two-story motel structure is an example of mid-century style. The decor, however, takes a contemporary approach that’s infused with Scandinavian practicality and a sense of Asian minimalism.

White walls and light wood floors and furniture give guestrooms a crisp, fresh feel. Beds rest on platforms, some of which have a wide lip that doubles as end tables. (Watch your shins.) Instead of a space-hogging closet, there is a nifty, exposed hanger system by L.A.-based Jacqueline Sharp. 

Deep wall-mounted sinks are retro chic. Along with Dogfish Head shampoo and soap, toiletries by Malin + Goetz are lined up on a wood shelf. Folding beach chairs with green-and-white woven straps and beach bags hang on dowels by the
front door.

At the bottom of the 100-percent down-fill comforters, guests will find a neatly folded, Dogfish Head-green wool blanket, created by Woolrich. The company has collaborated with Dogfish Head on projects since 2012, when Dogfish Head papered the Milton tasting room in Woolrich’s signature buffalo check. 

There are plenty of local touches. Lewes artist Steve Rogers created a different painting of the Overfalls—Lewes’ landmark lightship—for each room. In one, the scarlet boat is upended like the sinking Titanic. One can only imagine the distress the depiction might cause Lewes’ Old Guard.

“We are fortunate that our guests share our off-centered sense of humor,” Calagione says.

In the lobby, locally roasted chicory coffee, made with dark brewer’s barley for sweetness, is available to guests. “It’s delish,” says Calagione, who has been brewing Chicory Stout since 1995. On a recent visit, the coffee counter also held a dispenser of water infused with fresh basil and peaches.

Along with offering beverages, the lobby has a retail section, including a capsule collection of branded items made by Woolrich, and a seating area in front of a fireplace. 

The lobby is also home to the “Vesuvio” library, shelves of books topped by a sign from the old motel. Calagione, who has a bachelor’s degree in English, chose City Lights Books in San Francisco to curate the collection. Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, the independent bookstore is a literary landmark. It’s also across the street from Vesuvio Café, where Jack Kerouac hung out.

The link appeals to Calagione. The library is no take-one-leave-one operation. Guests check out books much as they would at a real library.  

This small inn clearly delivers a big bang. But you won’t find Dogfish Head beer in this ale-inspired accommodation. Calagione wants guests to support the local establishments. 

Indeed, it’s hard to find a restaurant that doesn’t have a Dogfish Head shark standing on a tap. At this point, there are no packages linking the inn, the brewery and the Rehoboth brewpub, but “your room key does get you some special attention at the Rehoboth pub and Milton locations—and a few other businesses,” Calagione says. 

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

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Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
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Cost: $15-$42

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Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Elements of Nutrition
4710 Kirkwood Hwy
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
Telephone: 302-544-0391
Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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The Pond Ice Arena
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Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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World Cafe Live Wilmington
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
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Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
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Cost: $20 for Members, $25 for Non-Members.

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 130-265-89111
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January 14, 15, 16 – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Invention Convention Lights, camera, action! This year’s Invention Convention features hands-on video...

Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Cost: frr

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East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

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East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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University and Whist Club
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Cost: $9

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Cost: FREE

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Legislative Hall Library
411 Legislative Ave.
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Division of Public Health
Telephone: 800-282-8672
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Cost: 45.00

Where:
Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
Wilmington, DE  19804
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
Telephone: 302-544-0391
Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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Do you want to learn how to make soap? This is your chance! Join me for a fun and informative class @ Liquid Alchemy. I will teach you how to create your own recipe and the in-and-outs of soap...

Cost: 45

Where:
Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
, DE  19804
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
Telephone: 302-544-0391
Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Doberstein Admissions Ctr.
320 N DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE  19805
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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The 3rd Place and Bike Lane Cafe along with WestSide Grows and Delaware Permaculture bring you the West 7th Street Bazaar.  Happening EVERY 3rd Thursday of the month from January through May,...

Cost: Free Admission

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The 3rd Place
1139 W. 7th Street
Wilmington, DE  19805
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Sponsor: West Side Grows
Telephone: 302-690-9459
Contact Name: Delaware Permaculture
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January 19 – Thursday – 6:30 p.m. Research Seminar: Amyrs Williams (Wesleyan University) – Reimagining the Modern Farm The seminar is open to the public and is based on a paper that is...

Cost: $0

Where:
Copeland Room, Hagley Library
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: $15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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Cost: $10

Where:
World Cafe Live At The Queen
500 N Market St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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More information

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: $30 per person

Where:
Delaware College of Art and Design
600 N. Market St.
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Sponsor: Delaware College of Art and Design
Telephone: 302-622-8000 x 123
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Cost: FREE for TLC members / $10 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
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Cost: $15 - $25

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Cape Henlopen High School Theater
1250 Kings Highway
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 130-264-59095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $30. Ages 10-18 and one adult per youth.

Where:
Bethel United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
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Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Coastal Concerts, Inc.
Telephone: 888-212-6458
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Cost: 45

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805 N. Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Frankford Fire Hall
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Cost: $15 - $30

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500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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