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What's Hot, What's Happenin', Oct. 18-24 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Sunday, 17 October 2010 19:04


October 22-23

Haunted Tales Candle-Lit Walk through Denton. Rural Life Museum. Bring a flashlight and join the tour and hear the stories of the history and characters who may still be around, long after they’ve ‘departed.’ Finish with hot beverages and sweet treats at the museum. Reservations recommended. 410-479-0655.


October 22-24

5th Annual Schooner Rendezvous, Cambridge. 18 schooners, tall ships, and clippers gather at the dock in Cambridge for tours and sails. Pride of Baltimore and Elf, an 1888 clipper are among the ships which will lower their gangplanks and welcome visitors. Admission to the rendezvous is free, although some ships may charge admission for their tour or sailing. http://www.cambridgeschoonerrendezvous.com


October 22-24 (Oct. 28-31) (Nov. 4-7)

Lives Interrupted – a WW II Musical. Tred Avon Players, Oxford. Original play that interweaves the songs of the period with the family stories which mirror the experiences of all Americans. 8 p.m. curtain on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. 2 p.m. on Sunday. $15 adult, $5 students with ID. www.tredavonplayers.org.


October 23

18th Annual Between the Waters Bike Tour, Onancock. That’s the starting point for 20, 40, 60, & 100 mile routes through the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Great views of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, quiet country lanes, and ESVA villages. 8 a.m. start time. $50 registration. www.cbes.org


Sea Witch Skim Board Fest, New Orleans St. Beach, Dewey. Think of skim boarding as surfing on sand. Boards skim along the wet sand when the waves recede. Great fun for kids. Most boarders are in costume. Fun morning to watch (and try). 8:45 costume call. 9:00 competition starts. FREE. 302-227-7087.


Ernie Hawkins Plays the Blues. Chincoteague Senior Center. Popular acoustic artist who appears on venues like The Prairie Home Companion in concert. $18 at the door.


Ghost Walk of Chestertown. 3 centuries of hidden and haunted history. 8 p.m. $12 adults, $7 under 12. www.kentcountyhistory.org for starting location and reservations.

Easton's Amish Country Farmer's Market PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 14 October 2010 00:00

In every ‘market town’ in England, one day a week is dedicated to the outdoor market. The date was set sometime in the Middle Ages. The rights of the market sellers are so protected that some shops in the towns must close on market day to avoid competition.


There are butchers, fishmongers, cheese stalls, bakers, and candy-sellers. But it’s more than a farmer’s market, although stalls challenge each other by loudly hawking the price, quality, and quantity of their wares. You’ll also find house wares, clothing, toys, furniture, and electronics (trying to picture King Arthur with an iPhone or a YouTube of the Knights of the Round Table doing the “Camelot Rap”…)


If you can’t make the trip to Banbury or Chipping Norton to do your weekly shopping, head to Easton and the Amish Country Farmers Market. From Thursday through Saturday you can experience the ambiance of the British market day. It’s not totally authentic, though. It’s indoors, so you don’t have to deal with the typical British weather forecast from the BBC, “Dull in the morning; brighter conditions later.” (That’s true. I swear it!)


Forget the anonymity of supermarkets. Here you queue up and have time to look over the contents of the meat cases or the cheese cases (free samples), or the cold cuts (free samples), or the candy & fudge (maybe, if you are lucky, free samples), or the coffee, or the pastries (maybe, if you are lucky, free samples) before your number is called and you get the personal attention of the server.


Consider that: Personal. Attention. You can ask questions about how to prepare a cut or what would be the right choice for a new recipe. How much to buy to serve a party. What to do with a fussy eater. Conversations start among people waiting in line. People look at each other. Shopping stops being a chore to get over with and becomes a communal activity involving other human beings. What a concept! Dinner is no longer what can be microwaved, but is a ritual of spending time with people you care about. Hey, I don’t enjoy cooking all that much, but I savor spending time at the market just looking at what’s on offer and buying ingredients I think my husband would enjoy working with. (He has visions of out- cheffing the Iron Chef, a quest I strongly encourage.)


The ‘other’ side of the British market is here, too, with stalls selling Amish-made furniture and quilts, gifts, crafts, and ladies’ notions. Many of them are hand-made and the care and pride in their creation is obvious.


The Market encourages that ‘family’ feeling. There are a lot of ‘regulars’ who show up every week. Merchants & customers catch up on news, celebrate new grandkids, look over vacation photos, and mourn the loss of a favorite pet. There’s as much gossip here as at the church social after Sunday services, except that here, the gossip is community-wide.


Every Friday night, there’s a ‘social’ of sorts, with special deals and All-you-can-eat meals from 5-7 p.m. Although the market doesn’t officially open for business on Saturdays until 9 a.m., breakfast is served starting at 8.


The market is open year-round, and you can pre-order your holiday turkey or ham or other special needs already. Next weekend, Oct 21-22-23, they’ve having their last big outdoor event of the season with a pig roast, chicken BBQ, homemade doughnuts and apple sauce, fry pies, ice cream, door prizes, and entertainment.


The Amish Country Farmers Market is open Thurs. 9-6, Fri. 9-7, Sat. 9-3. It’s at 101 Marlboro Ave. in Easton. Their website www.amishcountryfarmersmarket.com has coupons and news of special offers and events.

Real BBQ Smokes! Ron's Famous BBQ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Sunday, 10 October 2010 16:15


Ok, it may not be famous yet, but it ought to be. The next time you are headed east on Rt. 50, look for the little log cabin on wheels just east of Cambridge. I spotted it on Saturday on my way back from the Chestertown Book Festival. There was a smoker roughly the size of Hooper’s Island on the side deck and a pile of hickory logs stacked underneath. “Ron’s Famous Pit Beef” read the sign.


I overshot the pull-over, but turned in at the Bay Country Bakery (another stop well worth making). Grateful for 4-wheel drive, I drove across the field to Ron’s. The great aroma of smoking meat cheered my carnivorous heart. Ron himself came out from inside. He was out of pit beef, he said a little apologetically, but he had pulled pork. Both the regular recipe and his ‘hot’ version. Not real spicy, he said, but enough bite to make it special. His own recipe.


Who could resist? He piled a stack of steaming shredded pork about 6 inches high onto a hamburger roll. I left the roll and used my fingers. Oh my! Moist pork with the seasonings and smoke all the way through. No sauce masquerading as flavoring. Savory and yeah, a little spicy. A cold Dogfish Head or Evolution would have been a nice accompaniment.


Ron proudly showed off his smoker. It’s big enough to hold 40 pork butts, he said. He didn’t go into details about his rub or preparation, except to say that he smokes the meat for 16 hours. And it’s truly smoked, using seasoned hickory – no propane or charcoal briquettes.


He’s only been on the site a couple of weeks. He’s there Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays from late morning until dark, or until he runs out. He says he’ll be there as long as the weather lets him. That’s nice to know, since most of the roadside chicken BBQ stands are ending their season soon. I’m just hoping he’ll consider smoking racks of ribs to go along with the pulled pork!

What's Hot, What's Happenin', Oct. 11-17 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Sunday, 10 October 2010 15:24



October 14-17

Vintage Sailplane Gathering, Massey Air Museum, Massey MD (northeast of Chestertown). The Vintage Sailplane Association holds its annual East Coast Sailplane Meet. Gliders from the 1930’s through the 1960’s are expected to attend. Glider rides for the public are available with part of the cost of the tow donated to the museum. 10-dusk each day. www.masseyaero.org


21st Annual Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival, Rehoboth Beach and environs. One of the most respected and anticipated music events in the country. Every ‘name’ in jazz seems to be on the schedule; nearly 20 concerts. Tickets are all in advance. Some hotels have weekend packages for concert-goers. For a full schedule of performers and venues, www.rehobothjazz.com.


October 15

Classic Cruisin’ Drive-in, Denton. Classic cars and a DJ spinning golden oldies along the downtown main street. 6-9 p.m. Free. 410-479-1545


October 15-16

Chestertown Wildlife Exhibition and Sale, Chestertown. 40+ carvers, artists, photographers, and painters in downtown Chestertown. Live music, raptor demonstrations, talks and artist demos. Fri 5:30-8:30, Sat 9:30-4:30. Free admission. www.chestertownwildlife.org


October 15-31

The Rocky Horror Show, Churchhill Theatre, Church Hill. Let’s do the Time Warp! You’ve seen the movie, now take part in a live performance. Bring props. Be prepared. Everything you’ve heard about the stage show and the audience participation is true! Weekends through October. 8 p.m. curtain on Friday/Saturday. 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets $18, $10 students. Last performance is Halloween. www.churchhilltheatre.org


October 16

11th annual Chili and Chowder Cook-off, Chincoteague. Bring an appetite and maybe some Pepto-Bismol and meander among the stalls serving up the private recipes and secret ingredients. Held at the waterfront park, rain or shine. 10-5. Free admission. If you’re looking for your moment in culinary history, applications are still available. www.chincoteaguemerchants.org


Eastern Virginia Brass Quintet Concert, Nandua High School, Onley VA. The group is hugely popular in Virginia and North Carolina, known for its excellent performances and programs which reflect the area. This concert features John Philip Sousa, music from the Elizabethan era that the early ESVA settlers would know, and American folk songs. 8p.m., $20 at the door.


Chestertown VFD Chicken BBQ. Last BBQ until April. $9 gets you chicken, sides, and a roll. 12 noon until they sell out.


Martinak State Park Fall Fest, Denton. Family festival with scarecrow making, pumpkin decorating, Scales & Tails. 12-4. Free admission. 410-820-1668.


Bark in the Park, Idlewild Park, Easton. Fundraiser for Talbot Humane Society with K-9, agility, and obedience demonstrations, Frisbee dogs, sponsored walk, blessing of the animals, doggie bingo, and more. 9-2. Free admission, but many donation opportunities. www.tchsmd.org


Tilghman Island Day, Tilghman Island. Annual autumn festival on the island and about the island. Oyster shucking contest, crab picking, jigger toss, row boat race, boat docking contest. Fire Department Auction. Live music and plenty of food and activities for kids. 10-5, free admission. www.tilghmanmd.com/tilghmanday.htm


Crabtoberfest, Sailwinds Park, Cambridge. Beer & crabs. Who needs bratwurst? Oktoberfest with an Eastern Shore spin. All the usual German music and entertainment and foods and beers. 12-dark, $5. Www.crabtoberfest.com


Spocott Windmill & Beckwith Apple Festival, near Cambridge. You can’t get more historic and down-home than this. The 19th century Spocott Windmill is opened and running. You can also tour a one-room schoolhouse, colonial miller’s shop, blacksmith forge, and country store. Then travel about 2 miles further to the Beckwith United Methodist Church for their annual Apple Festival. Apple Dumplings, apple pie, apple fritters, apple cider, craft fair and flea market, soups, homemade chicken salad, oyster sandwiches, BBQ. Windmill operates from 10-4. Apple festival runs from 9-2. 410-228-7807 for festival information. Windmill is on Rt. 343/Hudson Road, about 6 miles from Cambridge. The church is on the same road, about 2 miles further along.


October 16-17

17th Annual Native American Heritage Festival and Pau-Wau. Bending Waters Park, AMrion, MD (Near Crisfield) “Healing of All Nations” Native dancing, drumming, demonstrations of crafts and traditions, vendors, foods. 10-5 both days. $5 admission. www.indianwatertrails.com


Autumn Wine Festival, Salisbury. Featuring Maryland wines on the grounds of Pemberton Park and Mansion. Admission $25 at the gate, includes wine glass and tastings of wines from 17 wineries. Designated driver pass $5. Saturday 11-8, Sunday 12:30-6. www.autumnwinefestival.org


October 17

Lee Jordan-Anders, Piano Concert. At the Palace Theater in Cape Charles. “Picture This – Women in Music and Art” is the program. 4 p.m. Free admission. www.artsentercapecharles.org

Stomping Grapes and Channeling Lucille Ball PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Thursday, 07 October 2010 13:17


Since its opening this spring, Layton’s Chance Winery near Vienna, MD, has put on all sorts of special events like concerts and wine-tinged ice cream socials. Last weekend, they held their first end-of-summer festival. In addition to all of the usual activities – vineyard tours and tastings for adults, pony rides and face painting for kids – there was the First Annual Layton’s Chance Winery Grape Stomp. Folks queued up for their chance to spend three minutes barefoot in a barrel, squishing grapes. By the time I got there, the wait was over two hours long.


William Layton stayed busy scooping rich purple Chambourcin grapes from the container that holds ½ ton of fruit and dumping it into two half barrels. That’s a lot of grapes. Had they been fermented, it would make about 80 gallons of wine. As it was this was going to be poured out. Foot-stomped grapes have a terroir that even wine guru Robert Parker couldn’t fathom. The Health Department doesn’t even have to think about getting involved. At Bill’s cue, people kicked off their shoes, clambered into the mass of ripe grapes, and began stomping.


There were several techniques. Some people jostled like joggers. Others moved their legs up and down like pistons. The slipperiness made it hard for people to find their balance and get a rhythm going. And the three minutes went by very quickly. It quickly became obvious that stomping grapes is not an easy activity. There is a possibility of starting a new aerobic fad here. I can see the Infomercial now! Chuck Norris and Denise Austin joining hands as they squish their way to fitness. Then again, there has to be some kind of health benefit to the application of unfiltered grape juice sinking into your skin. Maybe the Laytons need to open a day spa.


Of course, you can’t watch grape stomping without humming the Tarantella and imagining peasant girls in wine-soaked dresses.


Or Lucille Ball.


That’s what inspired Anne Benjamin. She showed up in the peasant skirt and blouse, her hair covered by a demure scarf, and brandishing a cluster of plastic grapes. “I’ve dreamed of doing this my whole life! I have totally lived my Lucy fantasy!” she told the picture-snapping crowd as she hosed the grape skins sticking to her purple-stained feet.


Then she headed off to the winery for a tasting of the wines. Maybe even a Chambourcin.


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