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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…
DestinationsRoad Trips

Salisbury Gems: The Ward Museum and City Park

  “Two dumb country boys.” That’s how Lem Ward liked to describe himself and his brother, Steve. They were born in the last years of the 19th century and lived in Crisfield. Both were barbers by trade, just like their father. They shared a shop, in fact. And for fun, they sang in a little barbershop quartet. Darn if those two dumb country boys didn’t end…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

The English Cottage Gas Station that Has a Story to Tell in Cape Charles

    Some empty buildings are just that, unfortunate bits of neglected junk on the Eastern Shore landscape. Others are something else altogether: Dilapidated, perhaps, but still graced with the ability to unravel fascinating secrets behind key turns in the life of the Shore—and even the country—in days gone by. Take this old guy, for example. He stands on the outskirts of Cape Charles, just…
December 5, 2014
DestinationsNatural Wonders

The Deal With Seals: What Brings Guys Like This To Our Beaches?

  Seals tend to live farther up in the North Atlantic—off of Massachusetts, Maine, and Canada—but every year in the colder months between about January and April a good number of them embark on a hellacious journey to points south in search of more temperate waters. That’s when they land on our beaches—mostly on the Delaware coast and in the lower Delaware Bay, but sometimes in…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

The Great Throwback Arcade on the Boardwalk in Ocean City

    What will strike you most when approaching Marty’s Playland are the old familiar sounds from back in the day—the rumble-rumble-ka-thunk of skee-ball, the thwick-ding-ding of classic pinball, the spooky monotone of The Fortune Teller, and the pop-clack-THWACK-clack of an air hockey game. We are talking here about a veritable symphony of old-school childhood fun. There are quite a few fun arcades in Ocean…
Destinations

The Long-Distance Truckers Who Turned Their Front Yard into a Sculpture Garden

    Judging by the looks of things outside of their house in Millsboro, Del., Judy and Lou Hagen don’t like to let anything go to waste. The Hagens’ modest home is just outside of town on Route 24, and chances are, you’ve never seen anything quite like what they’ve done with the yard. Yup, that sure is a giant metal brontosaurus swooping down with teeth…
Destinations

This Old Gas Pump on Elliotts Island Road

    This remnant from back in the day stood until recently in front of a long, squat building on Elliott’s Island, one of the most remote outposts on the Eastern Shore. To get there, you turn south at Vienna, in Dorchester County, and keep going for about 20 miles. By the time you arrive, it will feel like you’ve reached the end of the…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

The Old-School Stuckey’s in Mappsville

    There are the fake new Stuckey’s, and there are the genuine old-time Stuckey’s. The Stuckey’s in Mappsville, an itty bitty burg of 400-and-some souls on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, most definitely falls into the latter category. As far as I can tell, this is the only genuine Stuckey’s left in the Shore region. Walk through the door and you’ll feel like you’ve…
December 5, 2014
CharactersDestinations

The Freedom House in Cambridge

The story of this fabulous piece of folk art begins with my friend Branden Spear. A young home-improvement contractor in Cambridge, he got locked up in a dispute with the officials on a local historic-preservation board about whether he could use a certain type of window on the hard-to-see back side of this house. First, the decision got delayed over and over and over again.…
December 5, 2014