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The Surf Club
The Surf Club is actually a timeshare resort...but we did not know that until we visited. The vacationer can reserve a "room" (actually more of a mini-condo) for any requested period of time, providing there is a vacancy. The accommodations were fairly nice. We wanted a prime spot, so we reserved in May, hoping to get a good choice for our vacation in August. We got one of the nicest units, on the bottom floor on the end, beachfront. By securing an end unit, we had some side windows. The bathroom appeared newly decorated and had plenty of space considering its small size. The unit itself was one long room, with a sectional sofa and coffee table that faced a kitchen unit and tv. The kitchen included a refrigerator, sink, microwave, and burners. The tv had a very good selection of cable channels. Part of the sectional opened into a very uncomfortable queen bed. There was also a murphy bed on the wall that housed the kitchen unit (a double bed). By our fifth (and last) night, our backs were so sore that we chose the smaller murphy bed to avoid the ridge we felt in the queen sleeper sofa. The units do not have balconies; rather, there is a section full of windows with a ceiling fan above and a glass door that can be closed to separate it from the rest of the unit. This is where the kitchen and chairs are located, and there was a bench off to the side with a cushion - sort of a twin bed (for a very short person). Because we had an end unit, this is where the side windows came in, which gave nice cross-breezes when the windows were open. This area also got extremely warm in the morning when the sun hit it directly. But we had a great view of Dewey Beach.
When we first arrived, it was a warm, humid day in early August (typical weather for that time of year) and the air conditioning in the unit felt good. But when we returned later that night, the air conditioning was no longer functioning and we spent a very warm night with the windows open. We alerted the front desk in the morning, and it was fixed promptly, but we found out that there are often problems with the air conditioning. There is heat as well so this resort can be used year-round. There were some larger units, although our understanding was that the layout was pretty much the same. The majority of the units are beach-view, and the minority are beach-front, but all afford decent views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Note that though we were on the lowest level, there was still one full flight of stairs to walk up. There are three levels of units. The stairs are on the outside (there are several stairways). We seem to recall there may have been an elevator, but we only used the steps. We'd advise if steps are a problem, check with the front desk to see if an elevator is available. The smaller units accommodate a couple and perhaps a child or two, but we think it would be crowded for two couples.
There is a pool behind the resort (not on the beach side) that is fairly pleasant and has ample chairs available. We took our own beverages down to the pool and spent quite a bit of time there. There is also a hot tub - possibly the only one in Dewey Beach. It is located on the bottom level, right next to a maintenance area. The hot tub is in what looks like it used to be a garage, with a see-through garage door. The hot tub was nice, but extremely hot with the room closed up. There is also a public bathroom (for the tenants) in this area and a changing area. One tip - you will need to request a key for the hot tub at the front desk when you check in, as the door to the hot tub locks fairly early in the evening. Also...do not leave the key lying in plain sight in your room. We did, the maid removed it, and they would not give us another hot tub key.
There is no restaurant...just vending machines for snacks and drinks.
There was no bar or lounge - if we wanted something to drink, we provided our own.
The people were friendly enough, although we had limited contact with them. There is free popcorn in the lobby!
The main attraction at Dewey Beach is the ocean and the beach itself. We prefer the Delaware and Maryland beaches to the New Jersey beaches. The drive is somewhat longer, but we think it's worth it. There is no boardwalk in Dewey Beach. In the early 1980s, Lori's college roommate spent a summer in Dewey Beach and claimed it was full of hippies. That has changed somewhat...there are many families and twenty-somethings present, but Dewey Beach is decidedly a destination for those who love the atmosphere of the beach, love seafood and bayfront bars, but don't want all the commercialism that boardwalks and high-rises bring. Dewey Beach is only a few blocks wide and one mile long, so nearly any location is a good one. Everything is within walking distance. We think it is one of the most laid-back places we know, and everytime we go there, we return very relaxed. When we stayed at the Surf Club, we parked our car Thursday afternoon (one space per unit) and did not move it again until we left on Tuesday morning.
Just north of Dewey Beach is Rehoboth Beach, known for its boardwalk and more alternative scene. We have overnighted in Rehoboth Beach and Lori spent a week there once, but we prefer Dewey Beach. There is a "Jolly Trolley" that runs between Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach (the local businesses help pay for it), and for a small fare, it is a great way to avoid drinking and driving. While we preferred to walk while in Dewey, Rehoboth is a little further away, and we would recommend the Jolly Trolley.
Coconuts Seafood House - Dagsworthy Street and the Bay (302-227-3317)
The Waterfront - McKinley Street & the Bay
The Rusty Rudder - Dickenson Street & the Bay
Starboard Restaurant & Bar - Saulsbury Street
Grotto's Pizza - Read Steet
The Dewey Beach Club
Although Dewey Beach is small, it certainly has nightlife. Live music can be heard at the Rusty Rudder, Starboard, and the famed Bottle & Cork (who claim they are the best little beach bar in the east). The Bottle & Cork gets packed and these days we prefer not to pack ourselves into small places with many sweaty bodies and sticky floors, so we have avoided that bar thus far (plus, they didn't have any bands we wanted to see or hear).
Southern Delaware is towards the bottom of the Mid-Atlantic region and is one of the warmer areas. It can still be somewhat chilly until mid-June, depending on the year. A few years ago, we spent the last week of May in Dewey Beach (post-Memorial Day) and needed the heat on nearly every day, but that is not always the case. Because it is the coast and a barrier island, it is somewhat cooler than the mainland, although that can be fairly easy to miss in high season (July through mid-September), when daily temperatures average from 70 to the high 80s. And humidity is a large factor. We recommend air conditioning if you plan to go in high season. September and early October can also be a very nice time to visit. The time we went in May, everything was open, but was very quiet. The early point in the season, coupled with the unseasonably cool weather, made for a quiet and relaxing vacation for us.
Don't forget to ask for the hot tub key when you check in. (and keep it out of the view of the cleaning person).