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The St. Michaels Seafood Packing Plant that Helped Launch the Blue-Crab Revolution

The next time you’re at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., take a few moments to remember that you’re walking in the entrepreneurial footsteps of William H.T. Coulbourne and Frederick Jewett. It’ll be easy—the gift shop is where the Coulbourne family lived for many years, and the Coulbourne & Jewett seafood-packing plant stood at the heart of the museum’s campus, on Navy…
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Distaff Beauty: The Women Lighthouse Keepers of Turkey Point

This is a free excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips 2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva. It comes from a chapter that includes stops in the towns of Elkton, North East, and Charlestown, as well as a visit to a covered bridge the remains of an old gristmill. The most beautiful of those overlooks lies at the end of a 12-or-so-mile drive down Turkey…
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We Have a Blind Irishman to Thank for Our “Chesapeake” Lighthouses

The Chesapeake lighthouse, with its splayed legs supporting a homey cottage set atop a platform rising from the sea, ranks today as a defining icon for the region. I set out recently to learn more about how those beacons came to be and soon found my way to a tale two centuries and 3,000 miles away. Spoiler alert #1: The hero of the story is…
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The Honeymooners at Great Shoals Light

When 19-year-old Vernon Cooper landed at the mouth of the Wicomico River, the Wisconsin native didn’t catch on right away that he’d found his forever home. He didn’t have a crystal ball. He couldn’t see that there was a Dames Quarter gal in his future. The U.S. Coast Guard stationed Vernon at Great Shoals Light in 1951. That screwpile affair had been guiding vessels on…
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Fruitland! “The Holly Capital of the Peninsula”

The holly-wreath industry on Delmarva was born at the turn of the 20th century in Southern Delaware, then quickly moved across the border into Maryland. Soon enough, holly became known far and wide as “Maryland’s Christmas Crop.” Estimates of the number of Eastern Shore residents involved in that holly trade in any given year run as high as 10,000. Most were farmers, looking to earn…
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PICTURE THIS: On Cambridge Creek, the Oldest Crabpacking Plant in the World

Crabs weren’t always a big deal on the Eastern Shore. All the way through the 1800s, the oyster was the unrivaled king of Chesapeake seafood. Crabs were an afterthought. People rarely ate them—and when they did, they had to catch them, because nobody was selling crabs or crabmeat on a commercial basis. This iconic Delmarva scene up top here—it’s the work of Jill Jasuta Photography,…
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HEROES OF DELMARVA: 5 Things About Col. Tench Tilghman, Revolutionary Star

Tench Tilghman served in the Revolutionary War as a top aide to George Washington, who praised the Talbot County, Md. native generously for his advice, loyalty, and trustworthiness. After the British surrendered at Yorktown, Washington assigned to Tilghman the task of making a mad dash to the nation’s capital in Philadelphia to deliver official word of the triumph. (1) That Weird First Name The tench…