A natty, new look
After four years of construction along its main drag, Rehoboth Beach is especially ready for its annual seasonal close-up. There's a refurbished bandstand at the boardwalk for evening concerts, a new high-end hotel scheduled to open by the end of the summer and a new farmers' market setting up in the park behind the visitors' center.

It's yet another new chapter for a destination that's had as many incarnations as Madonna -- Rehoboth Beach started as a Methodist prayer camp, has been known as a gay mecca, and now sees its share of families.

Rehoboth has lots of choices in accommodations, from beachfront hotel rooms to off-the-beaten-path cottages. Extensive listings can be found at Rehobothtoday.com, beach-fun.com and beach-net.com. A few places worth mentioning:

• Hotel Rehoboth, 247 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-4300; hotelRehoboth .com. The hotel is scheduled to open in August with 53 suites.

• Brighton Suites Hotel, 34 Wilmington Ave., 800-227-5788; brightonsuites.com. This is an affordable, close-to-the-beach option for families. It has a small indoor pool (key for those rainy days). The upside: 66 suites that offer separate but adjoining space for adults and kids. The downside: paper-thin walls. Rates: $139-$299.

• The Lighthouse Inn, 20 Delaware Ave., 302-226-0407; light houseinn.net. A cozy bed-and-breakfast half a block from the boardwalk. There are four rooms in the main house; a private cottage sleeps four and rents for a minimum of three nights, breakfast not included. Wine and cheese are served Saturdays in season. Rates: $135-$225.

Dining in Rehoboth runs the gamut from guilty-pleasure beach eats to Mediterranean tapas to Asian fare. Here's a short list of what's on the menu this season:

• The Pig & Fish, 236 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-7770. A sleek new restaurant decorated with - you guessed it - pigs and fish. Entrees range from $15.95-$23.95.

• The Cultured Pearl, 301 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-8493. This popular, pretty Japanese-American restaurant with fine sushi is due to move this month from its former Wilmington Avenue spot to space in a new retail complex. With entrees priced $21-$38, there will be rooftop dining, along with a waterfall and the koi pond its regular diners will remember.

• Fisher's Popcorn, 48 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-2691. The maker of the famous Ocean City caramel corn is opening a downtown Rehoboth store.

• Vine, 203 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-VINE. A new name and concept for the sushi restaurant Abstractions, which will add wine-focused menu items, more wines by the glass, wine tastings and wine dinners.

• Oby Lee Coffee Roastery, 722 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-6278. A funky place to stop for java, huge cinnamon rolls or sandals from Maui. There's a fireplace, which comes in handy if the weather is dreary.

Rehoboth and nearby Dewey Beach have lots to do when the sun goes down. For up-to-the-minute schedules, go to Web sites such as deweybeachlife.com and beach-fun.com.

• Concert series. A free summer concert series is offered Thursdays through Sundays at the Rehoboth Beach bandstand from the middle of June through Labor Day. Check the lineup at Rehobothband stand.com.

• Dogfish Head Brewing Co., 320 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-2739; dog fish.com. This spot offers a steady calendar of live music.

• The Bottle and Cork, 1807 Highway One, Dewey Beach, 302-227-7272. Features more than 100 national, regional and local acts from May to October. Buddy Guy and the Pat McGee Band are scheduled to appear this summer.