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

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Excerpts from a forthcoming guidebook “Strange & Wondrous Things on the Eastern Shore.”

How a Construction Mishap Back in 1909 Helped Create Modern-Day Salisbury

Do you see that giant kidney-shaped thing at the top of this old map of downtown Salisbury? That is the 40-acre Humphrey's Lake that used to cover the middle of town, its banks running clear up to Church Street, all the way up near where Business Route 50 runs today. Its waters used to lap up against the rear of the County Courthouse. The spot where the library stands today was [...]

The Day They Bombed the Old Holland Island Bar Light

The old Holland Island Bar Light was one gorgeous piece of work. Built in 1889 to mark the way into Holland Strait and Tangier Sound, it was a screwpile affair topped with a hexagonal cottage. It stood a little ways south of Holland Island back when people still lived on that little scrap of land between Bloodsworth and Smith islands. Fifty-nine years ago this week, Holland Island Bar [...]

The Day the Eastern Shore Ruled the Super Bowl

FEB. 6, 2016--If you are headed out to a Super Bowl party this weekend, here is a little Eastern Shore football history small talk for you to share. Joe Namath hands off to UMES grad Emerson Boozer. When the New York Jets and Baltimore Colts lined up to play Super Bowl III in January, 1969, no one gave the Jets much of a chance. The famous [...]

The Great Eastern Shore Deep Freeze in the Winter of 1976-77

Perhaps the deepest of all Eastern Shore deep freezes set in before Christmas, 1976, and it didn’t let up until well into February, 1977, two full bone-chilling months. Back then, only older folks on the Shore could remember anything like it—and those memories went clear back to 1918. In order to top the Eastern Shore deep freeze of 1976/77, you pretty much have have to go back to the winter [...]

The Day an Elephant Marched Through the Marshlands of Saxis

Over the centuries, several enterprising characters have tried to turn remote little Saxis on the Eastern Shore of Virginia side of Pocomoke Sound, into a tourist destination. One such dreamer was Lloyd Drewer. Back in the early years of the 20th century, he built bathing houses, organized fishing trips, and sponsored various fairs and festivals. His most memorable exploit dates to the late 1930s, when he brought in a [...]

How This Amazing Old House in Chincoteague Beat the Odds and Came Back to Life

Why is it that one building manages to survive for centuries while all the others built at about the same time fall victim to the ravages of time? One of the experts who has spent some time with what is believed to be the oldest house in Chincoteague—it’s still standing after 200-plus years—chalked its survival up to a magical mix of being “well built, unusual, and lucky.” Luck definitely [...]

Meet Black Elvis, the Pride of Itty Bitty Painter on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

From the interviews I've seen, it seems that Clarence Giddens is rather cagey on the subject of his age, so there is no nailing down a detailed time frame for the day quite a few years ago when he was at a cousin's house and Elvis Presley flashed across the television screen. About the only thing we can say for sure, time-wise, is that the image was in black and white. [...]

How Elkton Became the King of Quickie Weddings Back in the Day

On or about June 12 in recent years--that just so happens to be Marriage Day in some quarters, Loving Day in others--Elkton has been organizing a fun celebration of the strange twist of history that briefly turned the Eastern Shore’s northernmost city into the quickie-wedding capital of the whole East Coast. Alas, as of this writing in 2017, it looks like that tradition is coming to an end. The story [...]

The Crazy Fun Day When Danny “Killer” Marsh Went After a New World Record

These images are blurry because they're from a grainy 35-year-old video, but that video just so happens to be the greatest Eastern Shore footage I have ever seen. One commenter on the YouTube link posted below says: “This is the best thing I’ve ever found on the internet." Another: “Greatest YouTube video ever." They are not exaggerating. The year was 1980. The place was Cambridge. Gas station attendant and over-the-top colorful Eastern [...]

The True Tale of Misty, Stormy, and maybe the worst nor’easter of them all

The deluge lasted three long days and stretched across five high tides right at the time of the full moon. More than 90 percent of Chincoteague Island flooded. The water ran six feet deep at times on Main Street in downtown Chincoteague. The island's chicken industry was destroyed--an estimated 350,000 birds died in the storm. Chincoteague's famous ponies suffered horribly as well. By the time the rain stopped, more than 100 [...]