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CharactersWay Back Machine

The Story Behind Wild West Sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s Time on the Eastern Shore

Sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler were already famous stars by the time they found their way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore back in 1912. In fact, they were ready at that point to call it a career and retire altogether from the traveling-Wild-West-show business. From what I’ve read, it was Butler’s idea to settle on the Shore. After visiting Cambridge on one of their endless tours…
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

Time Capsule: This Old Grocery Store Has 80-Plus Years of Stories to Tell

Most folks nowadays get to experience old-time general stores only through the magic of books and movies. But if you venture off of Route 50 and head into the heart of Cambridge, you can still get a taste of the real thing. Simmons Center Market has been around for more than 80 years now. The store’s name honors the memory of the late James “Jimmy”…
Way Back Machine

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

These images you see in this post are blurry because they're screenshots from a grainy fortysomething-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.…
Road Trips

Finding Freedom Along the Harriet Tubman Byway

  When it comes to gaining a sense for the story of the Underground Railroad, the Eastern Shore is about as good a destination as it gets in this country. It is, after all, the birthplace of Harriet Tubman and the site of her 1849 escape into freedom—and then of her many fearless journeys back into the danger zone to help others escape. Tubman, who…
Road Trips

Cambridge, the Comeback Kid of the Eastern Shore

    Cambridge is the comeback kid on the Eastern Shore these days. The restaurant and bar scene is hopping. The waterfront is getting spruced up. And best of all the town just seems to have character to spare these days—it’s the kind of place where they build downtown Christmas trees out of crab baskets, compete in crazy tricycle races while wearing goofy costumes, and throw…

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