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Somerset Journey: The Steak Knife Was Invented in Crisfield, and That Story Begins on Marumsco Creek

The story behind the creation of the steak knife in your kitchen drawer involves a bit of manufacturing ingenuity, but there is more to it. Think romantic sleigh rides, a devastating fire, steadfast religious faith, and then—a Christmas gift from a friend that changes everything. This Somerset County, Md. tale begins with a farm boy who hated farm work. He much preferred puttering around in…
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Inspiring Journey: “Black Harry” Hosier’s Climb from Slavery and Illiteracy to America’s “Greatest Orator”

We are all born with gifts. We all strive in our own way to nurture and share those gifts. Harry Hosier faced longer odds than any of us in this regard. He was born into slavery. He was illiterate. But he managed nonetheless to carve a path through life that saw him seize every opportunity to put his God-given gifts—a prodigious memory and a flair…
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SUDLERSVILLE CHARACTER OF THE DAY: Hall of Fame Slugger Jimmie Foxx

One of the excursions in my book Eastern Shore Road Trips (Vol. 2): 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva is a tour of baseball greatness with stops honoring five major league greats who hailed from the region, including four Hall of Famers. This excerpt is the section of that trip dedicated to slugger Jimmie Foxx. Itty bitty Sudlersville, Md. is the first stop in this…
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WAY BACK MACHINE: On the Trail of Lady Eglantine, the Miracle Hen of Greensboro

This excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips #2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva is a bonus section that comes at the end of a road trip chock full of other interesting stories that are set along the backroads of Caroline County, Md. between the towns of Preston and Denton. Pretty little Greensboro, Md. lies just a few miles north of Denton. That this place…
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WORDS OF DELMARVA WISDOM: “What may be the manhood and history [ahead for] a plain boy in rural life?”

Think about this question the next time you pass by a couple of kids working the water’s edge with fishing poles or crab nets. Such scenes remain quite common along the backroads of Delmarva, of course, just as they were when John Fletcher Hurst was growing up in Dorchester County, Maryland in the 1840s. Despite suffering from occasional debilitating bouts of asthma, young John loved…
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Chincoteague Character of the Day: Thomas Downing, the ‘Oyster King’ of NYC

Growing up in Chincoteague, Va. in the 1790s and the first decade of the 1800s, Thomas Downing spent much of his time fishing, oystering, digging up clams, and catching terrapins. He must have spent a good bit of time around the kitchen as well, considering the way he grew up to become one of the most famous restaurateurs in New York City—the “Oyster King of…
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Ocean City Character of the Day: Rosalie Tilghman Shreve & the Plimhimmon Hotel

A century ago, the Plimhimmon Hotel was the most famous and iconic structure in the then-fledgling resort town of Ocean City, Md. Old pictures of the place, with its elegant oceanfront porches, expansive decks, and swooping, cone-shaped tower, have a way of leaving us modern folks weak at the knees from yearning for the splendor of yesteryear.  But there is much more than nostalgia to…
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Snow Hill/Wilmington Character of the Day: Hall of Famer Judy Johnson

    Clutch: That’s the word that pops up when baseball people talk about how Judy Johnson earned his place among the game’s all-time greats. Johnson wasn’t particularly strong, or fast, or powerful. He stood less than 6 feet tall and weighed less than 150 pounds. There was nothing flashy about his style. But "no one would drive in as many clutch runs as he…