Spring weekend vacations ideas near the water near the Bethesda area

Get away

New botanic gardens, a thespian-themed inn and more ideas for a weekend vacation

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Meander in New

The Delaware Botanic Gardens, set on 37 acres along Pepper Creek in southern Delaware’s Dagsboro (roughly 25 minutes west of Bethany Beach), opened in September. After a winter break, the venue will open for its first spring season on March 17. The gardens are located on a verdant coastal plain that slopes down to a wetland marsh and more than 1,000 feet of tidal creek waterfront.

Meander through Folly Garden’s 30,000 spring- and summer-flowering bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees to see and smell the hyacinths, crocuses, tulips, forsythias, viburnums and more. The landscaping is intended to complement the ruins of the property’s early 20th century farmhouse.

Named for the acclaimed Dutch garden designer and author whose projects include New York City’s High Line gardens, the Piet Oudolf Meadow Garden was a favorite of opening-season guests for its texture, movement and natural beauty, plus sightings of Eastern box turtles and a bald eagle.

Special events include an evening “Frolic in the Folly” stroll with music in April, an Arbor Day event with poetry, and an Easter egg hunt.

Admission to the gardens is $15, $12 for ages 65 and older, $10 for ages 6 to 17, and free for children under 6.

Delaware Botanic Gardens, 30220 Piney Neck Road, Dagsboro.


2---Ghost-Light-Inn---Promenade,-River,-Bridge---42-croppedRevel in a Thespian-Themed

Located on a riverfront promenade of shops and restaurants in New Hope, Pennsylvania, the thespian-themed Ghost Light Inn opened last August. The 12-room inn’s name was inspired by the Bucks County Playhouse next door—a theater ghost light is a single light bulb on a metal stand that remains lighted onstage when the theater is unoccupied. Years before opening Ghost Light Inn, Sherri and Kevin Daugherty formed a foundation that purchased the playhouse in 2010 and reopened it in 2012, and they discovered the ghost light had been left on.

Each guest room has its own ghost light (operated by the guests) along with bathrobes, slippers, complimentary chocolates and walk-in marble showers. Eight rooms offer Delaware River views and a Juliet balcony. The Daughertys also own the Carriage House of New Hope, which opened a block away more than a year earlier and has three guest rooms (one with a gourmet kitchen).

Stella, a restaurant on the Ghost Light Inn’s second floor, overlooks the river and is helmed by Bucks County’s Jose Garces, who won on the TV show The Next Iron Chef in 2009. The menu features small plates that change seasonally. Cocktail names take their cue from Edgar Allan Poe, including The Devil in the Belfry, made with gin, plum, thyme and tonic.

Canine companions are welcome. Spring rates begin at $325.

Ghost Light Inn, 50 S. Main St., New Hope, Pennsylvania.

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