Charms of the Chesapeake
The change of seasons brings a special beauty to this little slice of Maryland's Eastern Shore.
A breeze, gentle as a mother's whisper, rocks the Lady Patty while a group boards for a sunset cruise. Not a single cloud mars the sapphire sky, allowing the autumn sun to shower the world with sparks of gold. Passengers say the day couldn't get any better--until they see the swans. A perfectly matched pair floats in the placid creek as the sailboat slowly clears the drawbridge at Knapps Narrows on Tilghman Island. When Lady Patty picks up speed and surges forward, the two birds take flight, soaring side by side, escorting the vessel toward the open waters of the Choptank River.Autumn Splendor
Such subtle beauty highlights the changing of the seasons here on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Separated from the mainland by the Chesapeake Bay, this part of the state comes blessed with a wealth of natural resources. Great expanses of farmland, an interconnected web of creeks and rivers, and charming towns lend the region its character.
The hot weather generally yields sometime in September, too, making this the perfect time to visit. "Mid-September right through to Thanksgiving is spectacular here," says John Valliant, an Eastern Shore native and president of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. "The rest of the time, it's just great." Many flock to the stretch of the bay bordered by Maryland's Talbot County and home to the towns of Easton, Oxford, St. Michaels, and Tilghman. Each of the towns has its own special charm. If you want to get out on the water, those opportunities abound. But if you merely long for a quiet retreat, you're also in luck.Easton: Small-town Surprise
If you call central casting and ask them to find the perfect small town, Easton would be at the top of the list. The town was founded in 1710, but this is not a place stuck in the past. It's sophisticated, with wonderful shopping and superb dining. In fact, The Inn at Easton may very well be the best restaurant on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Among the shops, visitors also find an unusually large number of art galleries. "Artists gravitate here because of the terrain," says landscape painter David Grafton, who moved his gallery to Easton last year. "I feel the paintings here. I see them every day."
Best of all, the town attracts people who appreciate and purchase art. "It's on the beaten path without being in the middle of a city," David observes. "I love it here."
Warm autumn days encourage visitors and residents alike to indulge in simple pleasures such as riding bikes and visiting with friends.
Fishing boats line Dogwood Harbor on Tilghman Island which remains a working-watermen's community.
Harvest season colors the land on Maryland's Eastern Shore.