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DestinationsNatural WondersRoad Trips

Experiencing the Natural Wonders of the Eastern Shore at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

  For my money, there is no better place than these 30,000-plus acres and their surrounding back roads to get a first-hand feel for why the marshlands of the Chesapeake Bay rank as a natural wonder of the first order. The scenery is breathtaking, the wildlife is abundant, and the landscape is chock full of fascinating bits of history. For many of the 150,000 people who…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

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,…
DestinationsNatural WondersWay Back Machine

Why is the Town Played by Berlin in the 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…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

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…
CharactersNatural Wonders

Who could mistake a manatee for a mermaid? Capt. John Smith, for one.

    On July 12, 2015, there was a confirmed manatee sighting in the coastal waters off of Ocean City. That was the first such sighting in nine years, according to experts at the National Aquarium. Manatee sightings in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay are more frequent, usually coming in at the rate of one every year. These cuddly-looking mammals have been compared by some…
DestinationsNatural WondersRoad Trips

Strolling the Shifting Sands of Assateague Island

  This gorgeous barrier island lies on the Atlantic coast right where Maryland meets Virginia. It's the kind of place where in the course of your wanderings you are quite likely at some point to take a look at your camera and say something like, “Geez, did I really just take my 374th picture of a horse?” The diminutive ponies that the 37-mile-long Assateague is famous for…