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What's Hot, What's happenin', December 6-12 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Saturday, 20 November 2010 09:00


December 6

Rehoboth Beach Hometown Christmas Parade. Floats, bands, and Santa. 6:30 p.m. Along State Road to the Boardwalk and back. www.downtownrehoboth.com


December 7

Salisbury Pops Holiday Performance. Holloway Hall, Salisbury University. Presented by the Salisbury Symphony. FREE. 7:30. 410-543-6385


December 9

Jazz Brazz, Holloway Hall, Salisbury University. Big Band Concert. FREE 7:30. 410-543-6385.


December 10

2nd Friday Art Walk, Berlin. Shops & Galleries open late. Lots of special activities in this Victorian town to celebrate the holiday season. 5-9.


Onancock Holiday Friday, Onancock, VA. Noel Night caroling through the village starts at 4 p.m. at the town wharf and proceeds to the square. 2nd Friday Arts Stroll runs from 5-8. At 8 p.m., attend “The Christmas Story” a stage adaptation of the classic movie (“You’ll shoot your eyes out.”) at the North Street Players. Tickets $18/$10. Show repeats on the 11th at 8 p.m. and the 12th at 2:30. www.northstreetplayers.org. If you hurry, you may be able to get reservations for the Fondue Dinner at the North Street Market on Friday. Starts at 7 p.m. (you’ll miss the play.) $35. 757-787-8805.


Party for Preservation, Poplar Hill Mansion, Salisbury. Lower Shore Land Trust “Taste of the Shore” event with food, Celtic music, cocktails, 50/50 raffle, silent auction. $45. 410-641-4467. www.lowershorelandtrust.org


December 11

Country Church Breakfast, Trappe United Methodist Church. Every 2nd and 4th Saturday. All the things that make breakfast great: pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, coffee, pastries, warm syrup… 7-10 a.m.


Santa Swim, Hyatt Regency Resort, Cambridge. You only have to get wet up to your ankles for it to count, but many brave (or crazy) souls will plunge into the Choptank River in an effort to become icicles. Monies raised goes to the Share & Care Fund. 410-901-1234.


Winter Watermen’s Festival, Delmarva Discovery Center, Pocomoke City, MD. Meet watermen and hear their stories, climb aboard the skipjack Kathryn. Enjoy local foods and music, arts & crafts for the kids. 10-4. Admission to the center: $10/8/5. www.delmarvadiscoverycenter.org


Chestertown Farmer’s and Art Market, Chestertown, MD. The longest operating market on the Shore. Lots of seasonal specials, hand crafts, and holiday foods in stalls in Fountain Park. Santa makes a guest appearance from 11-1.


Chestertown Holiday House Tour. Self-guided tour through the historic town’s historic houses starts at Emmanuel Church, just off Fountain Park. Docents are at each house to give tours. Ticket information at: www.holidayhousetour.com


Milton Holly Festival, Milton, DE. Whole town is involved with crafts, collectibles, home baked goodies and foods. 10-3 p.m. www.historicmilton.com


Crisfield Christmas Parade. 6 p.m. along Main Street to the town dock. www.crisfieldchamber.com


2nd Saturday Art Walk. Rehoboth. Galleries and studios open late. Lots of chances to find unique gifts.


December 11-12

Model Train Show at the Museum of Eastern Shore Life, Chester (Kent Narrows), MD. Model trains and village train garden. Punch & cookies. Raffle, visit by Santa. Free, but donations appreciated. 410-758-1299.


December 12

Battle of the Chowders, Cape Charles. Restaurants and chefs from the Eastern Shore of Virginia bring pots and vats of their best chowders to warm the crowds and earn bragging rights. 5-8 p.m. at AQUA Restaurant. 757-331-8660.


Live Nativity, Ridgley, MD. 7:30-9:00 p.m. Next to the town office. 410-634-1067


Candlelight tour of Quantico, MD. Tour the houses and churches in this tiny village. 5-8 p.m.



Steeple Walk, Seaford, DE. Nighttime stroll through the historic, candle-lit churches, Open houses. Seasonal music. 6:30. 302-628-9500.

Tangier Island Holly Run PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 18 November 2010 21:52

Low-lying, wind-swept, reed-laced Tangier Island has endless vistas, legendary crab cake, and no trees. Not many, anyway. And certainly no evergreens. And when all of the supplies for the 600 islanders arrive via the daily ferry and mail boat where space is at a premium, they largely went without the wreaths and garlands that decorate homes on the mainland.

But that changed when the State of Virginia built a runway on the island in 1967. One of the first pilots to arrive and dine on Hilda Crockett’s crab cakes was Ed Nabb. He decided that the residents should have as much chance to sweep up fallen pine needles at the end of the holiday season as the rest of us. He called some of his flying buddies; they loaded up their planes with holly, pine cones, and other seasonal plants and flew from the mainland to the island twelve miles out in the Bay.


Santa even traded his sled for a C-150 and stashed his bag of goodies in the baggage compartment. When he landed, he was squired around the island in one of the ubiquitous golf carts – Tangier being too small and gas-station-less for much auto traffic.


The Holly Run was an immediate success. Every year since then – 42 and counting -- pilots gather on the first Saturday in December for the traditional pilot breakfast of hot coffee and donuts. They come in from as far as Frederick and beyond. For some of them, it’s the only time they get together each year. For others, their first meeting at a Holly Run was the start of a long friendship. They brief the flight plan and traffic procedures, and then head south. How many planes participate varies. It’s usually a few dozen. The largest gaggle was 41. The residents get a great little airshow as the planes follow each other around the pattern to landing. One a good year, the planes take up every bit of space around the runway.


This year’s Holly Run is December 4th. Weather permitting, the planes will gather at Bay Bridge Airport


 about 10 a.m. The rain date is Dec. 5. If you’re on Kent Island or crossing the bridge an hour later, you’ll see the ‘mass launch,’ a fleet of small planes laden with Christmas cheer like so many ersatz reindeer.

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem -- MD, 21609 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 18 November 2010 20:05


The tiny village of Bethlehem, Maryland is one of those places you don't notice when you drive through it. Halfway between Easton and Preston, there's not much there except an auto repair shop, a church, and a convenience store.


And the Post Office.


Every holiday season, the two-room outpost of the Postal Service welcomes hundreds of customers bearing not gifts of frankincense and myrrh but boxes of Christmas cards. They're eager to have them stamped with the town's special postmark -- a red ink image of the three wise men riding eastward on their camels under a bright, bright star.


In a usual month, the Bethlehem Post Office handles about 5,000 pieces of mail. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, customers flock through the doors bearing ten times that much mail. People might not be spending a lot of gifts this year, but they can afford send out cards, and these are unique.


It’s also a do-it-yourself project.  Customers hand-stamp the envelopes with the graphic design themselves before the Post Office employees run the cards through the machine that imprint the "Bethlehem, MD, 21609" postmark on them. From there, they make rounds as universal of Santa’s midnight flight, going to the U.S., Canada, Europe, and many, many to troops serving where the peaceful journey of the three wise men seems like folly.


The custom started in 1938 when the village joined other holiday-associated towns like Santa Clause, Indiana, and Snowflake, Arizona in offering special postmarks. Most of the customers come from Delmarva, but occasionally people show up from as far away as western Pennsylvania and Ohio.


The extra work is welcome and appreciated by the townspeople. The Postal Service determines which local offices stay open based in large part on how much postage they sell. The holiday boost in sales helps insure that the Little Town of Bethlehem keeps its zip code.

What's Hot, What's Happenin', Nov. 29-Dec. 5 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 18 November 2010 19:42



Dec. 2

Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting, Denton, MD. 6-9 p.m. 410-479-2050


Annual “balloon” parade, Georgetown, DE. Website doesn’t explain the balloons; the theme is “Christmas Around the World.” www.georgetowncoc.com


Mid-Atlantic Symphony “Holiday Joy” concert, Easton, MD. With Janice Chandler, soprano & Ryan DeRyle, baritone. 7:30. Easton Church of God, 1009 Washington St. Tickets $40/15/5. www.midatlanticsymphony.org


Dec. 2-5 & 9-12

“Scrooge!” The holiday musical at the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts.  Presented by the Clear Space Theatre. 7 p.m. weeknights and Saturday. 3 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets $25/5. www.clearspacetheatre.org


Dec. 3

1st Friday Art Nights: Chestertown, Easton, Cambridge. Galleries, studios, shops, open late. Lots of specials and sales.  Wine and wassail generally available to ward off the December chill! 5-9 p.m.


Dec. 3-4

Christmas on the Creek, Oxford, MD. Weekend of holiday activities. Santa shows up at 5 p.m. on the 4th. Breakfast with the Big Guy on Saturday from 7-11 at the fire house. Auction at 6 p.m. www.oxfordmd.net


Dec. 4

Chincoteague welcomes Christmas. Start with the Homes for the Holidays tour. Houses are open from 12-5.  12 houses from Victorian Painted Ladies to Craftsman cottages. $20. Proceeds benefit the food bank. 6:30 is the lighting of the Christmas tree at the waterfront park, followed by the parade down Main Street. www.chincoteaguechamber.com


Victorian Tea and Stroll, Cape Charles, VA. Visit B&Bs decorated and open for tours. 3-6p.m. 20. 757-678-5878


A Night of Soul Music, Eastern Shore’s Own Arts Center, Belle Haven, VA. $10. 7 p.m. Reservations required. 757-442-3226. www.esoartscenter.org


Cookie sale at the Christ United Methodist Church, 401 High St., Chestertown. Impress your friends with your domestic enthusiasm by showing up with dozens of homemade cookies. They don’t have to know that someone else made them. And you’re helping the church while you’re at it. Sale runs 9-1. Get their early for the best selection. 410-778—9111


From there, swing up to Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely for the annual greens sale. Wreaths, evergreens, holly, berries, cones, and other nature-supplied holiday decorations. 10-4. www.adkinsarboretum.org


Christmas Parade, Cambridge. 5 p.m. Town shops and restaurants planning many special events, too.


St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Bazaar. Nanticoke Road, Tyaskin, MD. Holiday bazaar, but the real attraction is the piping hot, fresh oyster fritters. 410-873-3232


Mid-Atlantic Symphony “Holiday Joy” concert. Soprano Janice Chandler, Baritone Ryan DeRyle. At Mariner’s Bethel Church, Ocean View, DE. Ticket Info at www.midatlanticsymphony.org


Dec. 4-5

Guided bird walk through Blackwater Refuge. 8-11 a.m. Dress warmly and bring binoculars. Meet at the Visitors’ Center. No reservation necessary.


Horse-drawn rides through Victorian Berlin, MD. Part of the town’s annual Victorian Christmas celebration. Weekends throughout December. Carriage parks in front of the Atlantic Hotel.

Christmas Train Gardens in Delmarva PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 18 November 2010 19:00


My father was a model train nut. He had a model train layout that took up half of our basement. It was a two-level affair. The lower half was an elaborate train switch yard and two tracks running in a great oval around and through a rural landscape. The upper level was a cityscape with a trolley line and a carnival with a working Ferris wheel. One Christmas, he gave me a set of HO gauge passenger cars which he promptly 'let' me add to the trains in the switch yard.


Dad’s obsession wasn’t all that strange. It started as an annual holiday Christmas train garden that just got more than a little out of hand. In Baltimore, Christmas Gardens are a tradition. It goes back to the Moravian/German immigrants who settled in town in the 1800's. Originally, the gardens were elaborate Nativity scenes, but by the turn of the century, people were adding all sorts of mechanical extras, and the Three Wise Men and their donkeys were replaced with tiny train conductors and HO gauge engines.


For some reason, fire houses adopted the tradition. At one time, nearly every fire house had its own Christmas Garden. Some of them changed themes every year; others stayed with proven favorite displays. Visiting the local firehouse (or for folks like my dad, making a citywide pilgrimage to all of them) was as much a part of Christmas as arguing over untangling the snarled tree lights.


The tradition has crossed the Bay Bridge onto Delmarva. At least six locations have Christmas Gardens. Only one of them is in a fire house, though. But here is the list of those I could find. If you know of others, please add it. If you’re on the Western Shore, www.trainsrcool.com has a list of displays over there.


Cambridge Rescue Fire Company, 307 Gay St., Cambridge. FREE Donations & canned food appreciated. Mon-Fri 6-9 pm. Sat-Sun 1-4 & 6-9 p.m. 410-228-1211. www.rescuefirecompany.org


Delmarva Model Railroad Club, 103 State Street, Delmar. Appears to be FREE. Weekends. Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4-5, Jan. 8-9, 15-16.  Sat 11-5, Sun 12-5. 302-856-9250, 410-742-9325. www.delmarvamodelrailroadclub.org


Sudlersville Train Station Museum, 101 Linden St. Sudlersville. Dec.4 & 11. FREE 10-2. 410-438-3501. www.historicqac.org


Pocomoke River Canoe Company, 312 N. Washington St., Snow Hill. Display shows Snow Hill from years past. FREE. Nov. 27-28. Weekends in December.  1-4 pm. www.snowhillmd.com


Blue Heron Tree Farm, 317 Devers Bridge Road, Centreville. Daily. 11/26-12/21. 1-5 weekdays; 9-5 Saturday/ Sunday. Closed on Wednesday. You can also pick-your-own tree and pick up greens and wreaths. www.blueherontreefarm.com


Caroline County Library, Greensboro. Toy train and steam-powered train display. FREE. Dec. 4-5; 10-3. 410-482-2173.


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