Appeared in Outlook by the Bay Mag (November 2013)
If you are looking for a winter diversion, visit Maryland’s Eastern Shore and the small town of Berlin. Walk the streets where the movie Runaway Bride was filmed and just chill out for a winter week end.
For me adventures in Berlin always begin at the Historic Hotel Atlantic on Main Street in the towns Historic and Art and Entertainment District. Six years ago I stood on the Hotels wide front porch to receive an award from Governor O’Malley designating Annapolis as a Main Street City. At times past I celebrated with friends around a piano with a player plunking out Broadway Show Tunes in the Hotels Drummers Lot.
Early in the last century Berlin was a bustling cross roads town. The train carrying people to the ocean ended here. Thirsty visitors flocked to the Hotel Atlantic before continuing to the Ocean eight miles away by Horse and carriage. Salesmen were busy drumming up business for Oceanside accommodations, hunting and fishing guides and the frequent sales of mules and horses at the Hotels Livery. Their nickname, Drummers, gave the Hotel Tavern its name…Drummers Lot.
Despite its village size population, Berlin has always been a busy cross roads town.
It takes its name from the colonial time Burleys Inn and Tavern at the intersection of the Philadelphia Post Road, today’s Route 113, and the Atlantic Road to the Ocean, today’s route 50. Overtime Burleys Inn was compressed to burl inn and further to Berlin.
Fire devastated much of the town’s business district in the 1800,s. In their wisdom the towns fathers declared all rebuilding would be in Brick. Today’s vibrant business district show cases vintage heritage in the buildings that rose in 1895.
Main Street houses one of Delmarva’s largest vendors of antique trains and tin toys and Town Center Antiques across from the Hotel covers a city block. It was featured in the Disney film Tuck Everlasting, the second major film production in Berlin.
Richard Gere and Julia Roberts were the first to transform the Village for Hollywood with Runaway Bride.
There are numerous historic houses in and near Berlin. Old St Martins Church, built in 1756 restored with its simple Colonial lines is recognized as an architectural gem. The restored Queponco railway station built in 1910 tells the stories of the eastern Shore when the Railroad was a vital part of daily life. The Calvin B Taylor House Museum records life in 1832. It sits on Main and Baker Street where Runaway Bride was filmed and where horses unloaded from the nearby train depot walked to the Riddle Farm , the nation’s premier Equine center ,in the 1900,s. The farm is now Glen Riddle, a house and golf center. The Stable that once housed ManO’War, restored, now features Ruth Chris Restaurant.
When Ocean City, Maryland’s second largest summer city reverts to a winter ghost town, the museums also close.
Admittedly there is more to do in and around Berlin in other times of the year.
Guided Eco-tours, kayaking, riding horses on the beach can be arranged at the Atlantic Hotel. In the Spring Ocean Downs opens for horse racing fans, museums open, the Berlin Peach Festival celebrates a time when Berlin was the largest peach fruit producing center in the country and the Ocean draws visitors to sun and surf.
But if you enjoy good food in an historic setting, cozy feather comforters in the winter, browsing through Victorian charms in antique shops and dreaming of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts take a break from the winter doldrums and visit the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, 250 years ago known as Burleys Inn on the post road to Philadelphia.