Day Tripping - DC Metro
Easton, Maryland
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Items of Interest: Restaurants, Antiques, Art
(Located Between Annapolis and Cambridge, Maryland on Route 50)
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Residents of the metropolitan Washington area have certainly seen the road signs on Route 50 for Easton as they journey to Ocean City, Rehoboth, and other shore points.

A drive on Route 50, at practically any time of the year, is a challenge, to say the least. But when the destination is Easton, the frustrations of the trip are more than worth the effort. Actually, once you pass the 301/50 split and head toward Easton, the drive becomes more comfortable and certainly more scenic.

This is a beautiful part of Maryland (of which there are a multitude) and the journey helps prepare you for the delights of Easton.

So, when you are contemplating a road trip on a beautiful day, keep Easton in mind. We guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

Easton in Talbot County is one of four areas near the Tred Avon River and Chesapeake Bay well worth exploring as a day trip or an extended weekend destination.

The other three areas located near Easton are Oxford, St. Michaels, and Tilghman Island - each destination well worth a separate exploration.

Street Scene in Easton
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

Easton, Maryland - the county seat of Talbot County and long known to boaters and fishermen - is most famous for its Waterfowl Festival held in the fall. This year's festival is on November 14th, 15th & 16th, 2008.

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Waterfowl Sculpture
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(Photo by Ron Patterson)

On this weekend, hundreds of artists come to Easton to display and sell paintings, decoys, sculpture, and crafts inspired by the wildlife of the Bay region.

This art-filled week end has attracted as many as 30, 000 visitors!

Easton boasts many bed and breakfast establishments as well as the Tidewater Inn.

Take advantage of the abundance of brochures and maps offered by The Historical Society of Talbot County (27 South Washington Street) and the Easton Welcome and Resource Center (11 S. Harrison Street) to orient you to the town. Also, check out their calendar of events, so you won't miss out on any activity related to your specific interests.

This charming, walkable town was founded in 1710 and boasts many excellent examples of Georgian, Federal, and Victorian architecture.

Many of these wonderful buildings are still private residences while others have been preserved and adapted for commercial use. The commerce never diminishes the classic atmosphere of the historic district.

Most prominent in the historic area are the Federal style houses, characterized by their two stories with dormered roofs usually above an English basement. These graceful and sophisticated houses, not unlike the townhouses of Old Town Alexandria, are small and very vertical in overall appearance.

Windows and doors are decorated with very stylish stone work trim. The Historical Society of Talbot County maintains one building and its gardens for public visits.

Not to be missed is the Christ Church complex (church, parish hall, and rectory) located on the east side of South Street. Such 19th century granite buildings (1840) evoke the English Gothic style and grace the Easton landscape with authenticity on a par with any European locale.

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Commerce Maintaining Atmosphere
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(Photo by Ron Patterson)

Christ Church Complex
111 South Harrison Street
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

Just walking around the historic district is a treat. The electrical lines are buried, the architecture unbelievably exciting, the streets spotless, citizens friendly, and merchants eager to help you navigate around town.

South Washington and South Harrison Streets provide numerous restaurants, coffee houses, art galleries, and antique shops. Easton "locals" recommend Legal Spirits, Out of the Fire, Columbia, Alice's Restaurant, The Inn at Easton (dinner only), and Mason's for excellent dining.

The Bullitt House (circa 1800)
(Click on Photo for Larger Image)
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

Mason's Restaurant

On a very cold February Saturday we found Mason's packed with customers and a line of diners waiting for tables.

Mason's Restaurant
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

Even though it was frigid outside, Mason's interior (seating available on two floors) was warm with hot colors and art posters. The overall impression was one of a European country restaurant.

The chef offers a variety of sophisticated menu items from luscious sounding sandwiches to more hearty entrees. A "country soup" featured fresh vegetables and meatballs, while the house chili was fragrant, textured, and spicy.

Entrees sampled were an herb roasted organic chicken breast (delicious) served with fresh baby carrots, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. Grilled tuna was served on a bed of fresh salad greens with roasted potatoes and green beans as sides. Service was polite and attentive.

There is a nice "buzz" and warmth inside indicating happy diners and full stomachs! Check out their web site for more information.

Our Rating (Five Chefs is Highest)

South Street Art Gallery

Easton is also noted for its art galleries and studios. Be certain to stop in the South Street Art Gallery on 5 South Street.

South Street Art Gallery owner Nancy Tankersley is a delight and is, thankfully, very willing to share all there is to know about her art work and that of other artists exhibited. Until recently, Nancy lived and painted in Arlington, but she was attracted to the slower pace of life in Easton and purchased her current gallery.

Art here is displayed on two levels in room settings. If you like a particular artist's work, be sure to tell Nancy as she has more in storage to show you.

We purchased two of Nancy's wonderful paintings which were on exhibit at the Torpedo Factory's Art League in Alexandria, Virginia. To view those paintings, Click Here. The subjects of the two paintings are Maryland musicians and you can learn who they are and where they perform at the link in the previous sentence.

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South Street Art Gallery
Click Here for Larger Image and Interior Photos
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

Nancy's paintings are varied in subject-matter, very special and colorful. The individual works that caught our fancy reflect fascinating stories that led to their creation, and this only enhances the interest of an art lover. Nancy is more than willing to share the events or circumstances that bred her creations.

To us, art is very little if it does not mirror the artist or call on feelings deep within that draw you to the canvas. I guess that is why we were so taken with the two paintings we saw and subsequently purchased at the Art League. Her selection of the other artists whose works share wall and floor space with Nancy's reflect much the same passion we saw in her art.

Academy Art Museum

Talbot County's first public high school located at 106 South Street has been reconfigured into the wonderful Academy Art Museum, founded in 1958. The show when we visited was entitled "Particles and Passion - the Art of Clay" and featured intriguing pieces of porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta by artists from across the country.

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Academy Art Museum
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(Photo by Ron Patterson)

This exhibit highlighted many of the nation's leading clay artists creating works in a wide range of scale-wall works, sculpture, vessels, teapots, and a selection of very small forms known simply as jewels. Celebrating fifty-two talented artists each with their unique voice and passion for the medium, "Particles & Passion: The Art of Clay" opened on Friday, February 18 and extended through Arpil 2, 2005.

Click on the image below for photographic samples of the works on display at the time of our visit (February 19, 2005).

In addition to exhibits, the museum offers a variety of performances, educational programs, and both visual and performing arts classes to adults and children. The Museum also offers a vibrant concert and lecture series.

This is an exciting art venue, one that any locality would be proud to have in residence!

We strongly recommend a visit to the Museum - if you think you don't have time, make time. It's worth it.

Easton offers a variety of shops which welcome browsers. Two of the several quality antique shops we visited offered many temptations! N. Nickleby Antiques (25 North Harrison Street) has some beautiful Georgian silver, a wonderful period Chippendale chair and other period pieces. Janet K. Fanto Antiques and Rare Books (13 North Harrison Street) offers eclectic items as well as rare books. (Being a bibliophile, I couldn't resist purchasing an 1807 "Exposition of the Book of Common Prayer!") Janet's shop also has a resident cat, Samantha, who is as friendly as the shop owner.

The level, well laid out streets of Easton welcome the visitor for a day or a week end. There is much to enjoy here.