GETTING THERE: From the Beltway, take U.S. Route 50 to Annapolis, cross the Bay Bridge and continue on Route 301 to Middletown, Del. At Middletown, take State Route 299 east to Odessa -- 3 1/2 miles.

WHERE TO STAY: A recently restored 1840 house at 107 High St. (302-378-4179) has been converted into a bed and breakfast operated by Carol Colman. With many original features such as old woodwork and four fireplaces, the three-bedroom, two-bath house is an attractive overnight spot.

There are two modest motels outside Odessa, but visitors wishing more services will have to go to the Dover Sheraton (302-678-8500), 20 minutes south on State Route 13. Wilmington, 40 minutes away, offers two downtown hotels, the Hotel duPont, a first-class property with excellent food, at 11th and Market Streets, (302) 594-3100), and the Radisson Hotel, 700 King St., (302) 655-0400.

WHERE TO EAT: The Hearth, a simple family-style roadside restaurant just south of Odessa on Route 13, has acceptable crab cakes; and the Brick House Restaurant in nearby Middletown is open seven days a week and comes highly recommended by locals.

SPRING FESTIVAL: Parking is along Main Street, and free. Tickets for the festival may be purchased at the Wilson-Warner House, also on Main: $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, Winterthur Guild members and students. Admission is free for children under 12.

CHRISTMAS IN ODESSA: The weekend celebration, sponsored by the Women's Club of Odessa, will be held Dec. 6 and 7. It begins Saturday with a candlelight tour from 5 to 9 p.m., and the Christmas Crafts Shop will be open from noon to 9 p.m.; on Sunday tours and crafts will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

INFORMATION: Historic Houses of Odessa, P.O. Box 507, Odessa, Del. 19730 (302) 378-2681; Women's Club of Odessa, P.O. Box 254, Odessa 19730.

The normal Historic Houses of Odessa schedule: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sundays 1 to 4:30 p.m. Closed Mondays, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Day. Admission: $3 per building, $5 for two; students 12 and over, senior citizens and groups of more than 25, $2.25 per building, $4 for two. No charge for children under 12 and Winterthur Guild members.