GETTING THERE: Lewes is about 120 miles from the Beltway. Take Route 50 east across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, then pick up Route 404 and follow it to Route 9, which will take you straight into Lewes.
STAYING THERE: Many Lewes hotels have two-night minimums in the summertime. The historic district's Inn at Canal Square (122 Market St., 888-644-1911) offers great views of the Lewes harbor. Rooms start at $230 a night in summer. Hotel Rodney (142 Second St., 800-824-8754) is a sleek boutique hotel in a historic building downtown. Rooms start at $190 a night on weekends. Closer to the beaches is the Blue Water House Inn (407 E. Market St., 800-493-2080), a B&B with rooms that start at $215 a night; call to request single-night slots.
EATING THERE: For elegant but relaxing ambiance, no place beats the Buttery (102 Second St.). It's housed in a multicolored Victorian with multiple dining rooms and a big wraparound porch where you can enjoy the breeze. The blue cheese salad is a yummy specialty (dinner entrees start at $23). A more casual spot, Cafe Azafran (109 Market St.), offers not-too-expensive Mediterranean food and tapas (dinner entrees, $12 to $28). Or head for Gilligan's (134 Market St.), a popular mostly seafood restaurant (the crab cakes get rave reviews) on the canal that's partly a refurbished diving boat (dinner entrees start at $20).
PLAYING THERE: It's not right on the beach, but Lewes is still a beach town. Drive to Cape Henlopen State Park to get to Lewes Beach and choose your spot on either the Atlantic Ocean or Delaware Bay. You can also fish or hike or bike through the park's 4,000 acres along a three-mile paved trail. The Zwaanendael Museum (102 King's Hwy., free admission) features exhibits of Lewes maritime and social history, housed in a funky building modeled after the town hall of a Dutch city. The Lewes Historical Society Complex (110 Shipcarpenter St., http:/