The Secrets newsletter connects you with good times & fun events all over the Shore.

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These things are Eastern Shore through and through.

Shore Classic: Down Home Cooking with Doris Mae

I wrote this for a magazine in 2008, shortly after Doris Mae passed away. She is still missed by a whole bunch of folks around my town. Thinking about Doris Mae these days, and the joint she used to run in downtown Cambridge, I find myself seeing scenes in my mind’s eye out of an imagined black-and-white Hollywood movie from the 1930s. It’s about a pretty little spitfire of [...]

Road Trips Preview: The Master Whittler of Delaware

This piece about Jehu Camper, the master whittler of Delaware, is a free excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips: 27 One-Day Adventures on Delmarva, the first in a new line of guidebooks from Secrets of the Eastern Shore. It's from a Road Trip that visits a trio of interesting little museums in Dover, including one that features works by Mr. Camper. Here goes: Over the course of a long life [...]

St. Michaels Character of the Day: The Crazy Life of James Michener, Millionaire & Cheapskate

The novel “Chesapeake” was published on June 12, 1978, which makes the weekend when I am posting this piece the 38th anniversary of its appearance. By the time that book appeared, James Michener was already famous the world over. We are talking here about a guy who sold 75 million books during his lifetime. His works were translated into 50 languages. He gave a $13 million gift to his college. [...]

The “Socialite” Whose Art Celebrates the Life of Eastern Shore African Americans Back in the Day

Ruth Starr Rose The story of Ruth Starr Rose is full of bold and interesting turns. Born in the Midwest in 1887, she moved to the Eastern Shore at twentyish years old when her parents bought a dilapidated wreck of a mansion called Hope House in Talbot County. The place was chock full of history—members of the Lloyd and Tilghman families had called it home in the 1700s—but by [...]

The Story Behind Wild West Sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s Time on the Eastern Shore

Sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler were already famous stars by the time they found their way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore back in 1912. In fact, they were ready at that point to call it a career and retire altogether from the traveling-Wild-West-show business. From what I’ve read, it was Butler’s idea to settle on the Shore. After visiting Cambridge on one of their endless tours of the East [...]

Uncle Nace’s Day in Trappe: A Shore tradition for 148 years and counting

Looking back, you can’t help but wonder if Nathaniel Hopkins  had any idea back in 1867 that he was starting a tradition that would someday rank among the longest-running civic celebrations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, one that his great great grandsons and their children would be celebrating in the 21st century.   Historians have not been able to document the life of “Nace” Hopkins in great detail. He was born [...]

Natural Wonder: Exploring the Remnants of Delmarva’s Great Cypress Swamp

One of the joys of roaming the back roads of Southern Delaware and the Eastern Shore is the opportunity to experience something akin to time travel. Around one bend in the road stands an old-time general store, looking inside and out pretty much the way it did back in the 1930s. Around the next lies a small town Main Street, full of sweet old buildings that transport your [...]

How a Big Hurricane on Aug. 22, 1933 Created the Ocean City We Know Today

Do you have your Crab EKG decal yet? Just click on the picture for more info ... Ocean City dates its history back to 1875, but the resort town we know today really didn’t take shape until 83 years ago, on Aug. 22, 1933. That’s when a hellacious storm tore a hole through town and altered the course of its future forever. Nobody gave names to storms back [...]

TRIVIA TIME: Why is the town in the hit movie “Runaway Bride” called Hale?

Welcome to Hale Sign Since the subject at hand is peaches, we might as well start with the bit of "Runaway Bride" trivia highlighted in the headline here. The name Hale, you see, is actually a sly tribute to a tasty little slice of Eastern Shore history. Released in 1999 and starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, “Runaway Bride” was filmed in Berlin. Berlin, in turn, was home back in the first [...]

Tracing the History of the Famous Pony-Penning Party in Chincoteague

Before I did a little research, I assumed that the Chincoteague’s big annual pony-penning festival became a big deal only after 1947, the year Marguerite Henry published “Misty of Chincoteague.” That story, of course, became a children’s classic and then a Hollywood movie. But it turns out that the story of pony-penning day actually dates back centuries, not decades. Local historians say that the earliest known mention in [...]