Fall is a fantastic time to visit the picturesque area of Talbot County Maryland and the small towns of Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels are especially pleasant this time of year when temperatures are tolerable and crowds are minimal.
Exploring Historic Downtown Easton
The Talbot County seat of Easton, Maryland is a quaint, small town with a population of just under 16,000. Visitors who prefer to be centrally located may consider staying at the Tidewater Inn on Dover Street. Located in the historic district, the charming, 95-room inn, which dates back to 1949, is within walking distance of boutique shops offering everything from gifts, to jewelry, antiques and apparel.
Located across the street from the Tidewater is the historic Avalon Theatre. Built in 1921 and touted as the “Showplace of the Eastern Shore,” the renovated, art-deco style venue continues to draw crowds from across the region. Guests of the Tidewater can simply walk across the street to enjoy a show. Today the theater serves the community as a performing arts center, often featuring nationally renowned acts.
Easton appeals to art lovers as well, with plenty of galleries located within walking distance of the Inn. The Academy Art Museum, located at 106 South Street, attracts nearly 50,000 visitors annually.
The Tidewater Inn's Hunters' Tavern, serves dishes like lamb loin, duck, scallops, filet mignon and more, with additional dining establishments within walking distance of the hotel. The Bartlett Pear Inn, which opened in 2009 and serves French-inspired, farm-to-table cuisine, continues to gain accolades from foodies from around the region. In 2014, the husband-and-wife team ranked #25 in the list of “100 Very Best Restaurants” according to the Washingtonian. I recently learned that the historic inn, built in 1790, is on the market for $1.295 million. You can learn more about 10,251-square foot property and the cost to acquire it here.
Visit One of the Oldest Towns in America
The nearby town of Oxford, with a population of less than 1,000, gives off a decidedly laid-back vibe. A stroll down the tree-lined streets of the waterfront village is especially lovely this time of year as the fall foliage unfolds in all its splendid glory and early risers can observe watermen unloading the day's catch.
Tourists seldom leave the area without sampling the ice cream available at the Scottish Highland Creamery, which boasts nearly 600 flavors. Favorites like tiramisu, birthday cake and double Belgian Chocolate, receive rave reviews from locals and visitors alike.
Not far from the Creamery is The Robert Morris Inn, known as the oldest full-service inn in the United States. Known as one of the crown jewels of Oxford, the Inn was built in 1710 and named after the father of the financier of the American Revolution. Setting foot inside is like stepping back in time. For an authentic, historic experience, rent one of the heritage colonial rooms, which are original to the main house and offer scenic views overlooking the water.
The tavern, with its exposed brick walls and slate floors, is an ideal place for a casual repast. Those who prefer to dine al fresco can enjoy a bite on the patio. A formal dining room is also available for those who choose to enjoy their meals in an elegant, upscale atmosphere.
One of the more popular items at the Robert Morris Inn is the jumbo lump crab cake. Baltimore Style magazine reports that “Chef Mark Salter’s crab cakes are just as good as the ones James Michener touted when he supped here many moons ago.”
Ride a Ferry to St. Michaels
Step outside the Robert Morris Inn and onto a historic ferry, which will escort you to St. Michaels. Established in 1683, the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry is known as America’s oldest privately owned ferry. The passenger boat runs seven days a week from April through October and on weekends through mid-November.
One of the first guest stops is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. The 90-minute, guided tour educates visitors on the history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay. Many tourists climb the steps of the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse to experience the best view in the area.
Also located on the property is a boat shed, which was once a cannery warehouse used by the St. Michaels Packing Company. Today visitors walk through the structure to inspect boats that were once used for fishing, crabbing and oystering.
For accommodations in St. Michaels, look no further than the 78-room Perry Cabin Inn. Don’t let the rustic name fool you. If your idea of roughing it is choosing between a couple’s massage, or an 80-minute pumpkin peel facial, the Inn at Perry Cabin is the right choice for you. The resort offers an array of spa treatments, along with complimentary bike and kayaks to pedal, or row, your way around the region. Staff serves daily afternoon tea and the waterfront property offers beautiful views of the Miles River.
These are but a few tips that will take you on an easy drive through three areas of Talbot County where you can indulge in a laid-back, unhurried, luxurious trip. Talbot County offers so much more than I’ve described here, so for help in planning your own perfect, long weekend, visit their website at www.tourtalbot.org