Delmarva Drives
Pollen-nation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 21:56


My husband came in from dragging the trash can from the street last night. “Hon, did the county spray some kind of new mosquito killer? Everything’s covered with this yellow dust. “


Nope. Not bug killer. It’s pollen.


New England has ‘mud season’ to mark the start of spring. The Midwest suffers the threat of tornadoes. Here on the Shore, it’s pollen. It’s sprinkled like fairy dust on lawns and cars, tickling noses and causing sneezing fits and itchy eyes in the allergy-prone, like me. When pollen arrives, the first mowing of the lawn and the first mosquitoes of the year are not far behind.


Pollen season starts off insidiously. Just a little lint on the windshield in the morning. One swipe of the wipers and it’s gone. Give it time. Before it’s over, the stuff will cake at the side of the road after a rainstorm. Brush up against a layer of it anywhere and it’s on your clothing, in your house, and on your furniture. I love Mother Nature, but when she does something to make me have to clean my house, I’ll drop her from my Friend list on Facebook.


A couple of years ago, I was following a truck down Riverside Drive in Salisbury. Somewhere near the Girl Scout camp, the truck momentarily disappeared in a sudden puff of yellow haze. When we parked, the driver – who was from Wisconsin – asked what was going on. “I thought something had exploded. There was this yellow smoke.” He thought it was very strange and somehow unnatural. This from a man living in a place where people wear giant cheese wedges on their heads at football games.


I’m not sure just what plant or tree is responsible for the yellow blizzard. I’d like to blame the Bradford Pear – that non-native, shallow-rooted, brittle ornamental tree that reeks with the odor of stale urine when in bloom – but I don’t think that’s it. I know it’s not dogwood or red bud. Both of them bloom peaceably in my yard. It’s a mystery, because if only a fraction of the pollen it produces successfully caused germination, we’d be covered with whatever plant is involved like roadsides in the South are smothered in kudzu.


If you need to find me in the next couple of weeks, just listen for the sneezing and follow the trail of used tissues. They’ll probably be covered with pollen.

Pedaling for All You're Worth in Somerset County PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Friday, 01 April 2011 09:36


Soft Shell Century? – It’s easy when it’s flat!

Waterfront views, scenic woodlands and some of Maryland’s most historic locales set the backdrop for the Salisbury Jaycees’ fourth annual Soft Shell Metric Century bike ride in lower Somerset County on Saturday, May 28.


If you’ve ever wondered about pedaling a ‘century’ (100 miles or 100 kilometers), the Eastern Shore is the place to try one. With minimal training you can manage the trek without much trouble. That’s because of our flat, flat, flat terrain. I did the Seagull Century a few years ago. My training was a 10-15 mile ride 4-5 times a week. (Wind sprints meant holding my breath and pedaling for all I was worth when I passed a chicken farm. )


The Jaycees’ ride is shaping up to become a classic. Following a show-and-go start at the Crisfield American Legion Hall (116 Brick Kiln Rd.) from 8-9 a.m., riders have the option of following a 62.1-mile (100-kilometer) or 23.1-mile route. Both routes pass some of Crisfield’s most picturesque and historic areas, including the rustic crab shanties of Jenkins Creek. Riders also will have the chance to see a working watermen’s community in action at the Small Boat Harbor.  The Crisfield Heritage Foundation offers free tours of the restored workshop of famed decoy carvers Lem and Steve Ward for this year’s participants.


Cyclists on the 23-mile route will tour the wooded areas of Crisfield and Marion Station, while those braving the full 62-mile route will have the opportunity to see some of the county’s most historic churches as they travel north to Rehobeth before returning to Crisfield, the southernmost point in Maryland. SAG service will be available.


The Jaycees provide rest stops along the way, featuring drinks, snacks and opportunities for riders to relax and socialize. After the ride, cyclists may visit popular local attractions such as Janes Island State Park or enjoy traditional Chesapeake Bay seafood dishes at one of several Crisfield restaurants.


Those spending the night will have the opportunity to mingle with the locals at the annual Soft Shell Spring Fair and Watermen’s Hall of Fame induction at the Crisfield City Dock on Sunday, May 29, sponsored by the Crisfield Lioness/Lions Club and Crisfield Area Chamber of Commerce.


All participants receive T-shirts and assigned numbers. Registration is $30 before Saturday, May 21, $40 after. Registration for children 12 and under is $20 before Saturday, May 21, $30 after. Day-of registration is accepted.

For more information e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or www.salisburyjc.com

Bras as Art: The Designer's Cup Challenge PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Tuesday, 22 March 2011 16:33


Forget Victoria’s Secret. The classiest, fanciest, prettiest bras on the Eastern Shore are entries in The Designer’s Cup Challenge in Crisfield. As part of its breast cancer awareness and education program, the Somerset County Health Department is sponsoring a unique art show with bras as the ‘canvas.’


The Challenge invites you to creatively decorate a bra (new, padded, 36C, underwire) in whatever theme inspires you, using whatever materials work. According to Cara Rozaieski, Health Educator for Somerset County, entries can be purely creative, draw attention to women’s wellness, or be tributes to inspiring women. The only caveat is that they be tastefully named and decorated.


Which does not mean the approach has to be prudish. Past winners include the good-naturedly-named-and-themed “Twin Peaks,” “Butterflies are Free and So Are We,” and “Surrender the Boobies.”


Contestants are also invited to submit a 100-word story about the inspiration for their bra design. Those will be printed up in a booklet given out at the winners’ reception.


The first Designer’s Cup Challenge was staged by The Way to Women’s Wellness, a breast cancer awareness group in Pennsylvania. It’s been picked up by other groups around the country, although as far as Cara knows, this is the only contest in Maryland.


All entries must be delivered to the Somerset County Health Department by April 21. All entries will be displayed and the winners announced at a reception at the Tawes Library in Crisfield on May 11. Prizes are awarded for Most Creative, Best Workmanship, and Best Breast Cancer Message. There’s also the “People’s Choice” Award, determined by voting at the reception.


For more information, contact the Health Department at 443-523-1760. To see past entries and winners and to download the entry form and complete rules, go to www.somersethd.org.

Shake & Shimmy at the Art of the Belly (Dance) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:09


You don’t think of the Eastern Shore as a hotbed of belly dancing, but there are nearly a dozen dancers and dance troupes dedicated to the dance of the Middle East on Delmarva. They are undulating their way to Ocean City this weekend for the Art of the Belly Dance Festival at the Carousel Hotel. They’re being joined by over 100 Belly Dance performers from as close as Princess Anne (Mystikal Undulations from Princess Anne) and as far away as New York (Sera Solstice), Georgia, (Lace Perry), and Phoenix (Ava Fleming). From 7 PM Friday until 7PM Sunday, there will be someone performing on stage.


The dance community is a surprisingly friendly group, given that artists are often accused of high-maintenance personalities. Even the true professionals like ‘Nefertiti’ from Delaware, who spends months every year studying in Egypt, is full of hugs and encouragement and advice to those dancers who are in it just for fun and, more importantly, who are trying to move up to the professional level.


Part of the fun is the role-playing. Most of the dancers have stage names: Roma, Janim, Chadia. It’s hard to project an aura of mysterious Eastern romance with a stage name like Martha or Caroline. The costumes take you someplace else. ‘Cabaret’ dancers are the ones with the barely-there, sheer skirts and bras adorned with so many sequins they can be seen from the space shuttle. ‘Tribal’ dancers take their inspiration from the cultural themes of the Romany (Gypsies) and the peasantry of Turkey, Tunisian, Egypt, and Greece. They improvise most of their dances, with the troupe clueing into a set of subtle cues the audience may never notice. That’s the form for those of us with bodies that should never be seen in Spandex. The costumes are a lot less revealing; not a lot of sequins in a Turkish village. Lots of flowing skirts and clunky jewelry. Then there’s ‘Fusion’ which mixes all forms of dance from a serious shimmy to a moonwalk worthy of Michael Jackson.


The shopping hall is like a Middle Eastern Bazaar. Coin belts slung with streams of jingling metal, cabaret costumes glittering on hangars, dangling earrings and necklaces studded with fake jewels, racks of dance music CDs and instructional DVDs, shoes and sandals, flowing cover-ups to hide and protect your costume before you perform, hair accessories – it’s a diva’s delight!


The show is open to the public and, yes, it is suitable for families. The image of the dancers as ‘exotic’ or ‘adult’ is a myth they’d love to erase! The Friday night show runs from 7-10; $12 at the door. Saturday is Noon-10, $15. Sunday is Noon-7, $15. www.artofthebelly.com

What's Hot & Happenin' on the Eastern Shore, March 14-20 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Saturday, 12 March 2011 16:35


March 17

The Art of Window Screen Painting, Ocean City Branch of Worcester County Library. If you are from East Bawlamer Hon, you know what I’m talking about. John Iampieri of Bella Designs hosts a hands-on workshop to design and paint your own window screen. Limited spaces. 11-2. Call for reservations. 410-524-1818. www.worcestercountylibrary.org


Red Roost re-opens with St. Patty’s Day Celebration. Whitehaven, MD. Legendary seasonal crab house serves the first crabs of the season – and EVO beer, fried chicken, and other basics of Eastern Shore life. 5:30. www.theredroost.com 410-546-5443


Mid-Atlantic Symphony Concert, Easton Church of God, Easton, MD. “Refreshing Nouveau,” with guest soloist classical guitarist Meng Su. 7PM. Tickets $35/$15/$5. www.midatlanticsymphony.org. (Concert repeated 3/19 at Mariner’s Bethel Church in Ocean View, DE and 3/20 at Community Church, Ocean Pines, MD)


March 18-19

Chester River Chorale Spring Concert, Kent County High School, Worton, MD. Welcome Spring with seasonal selections from the classics, Richard Rogers, and Leonard Bernstein. $15 adults, $7 students, under 12 free. 8PM. www.chesterriverchorale.org


March 18- April 8

Annual Juried Members’ Show, Art Institute and Gallery, Main Street, Salisbury, MD. Reception March 18, 5-7 PM. 410-546-4748. www.artinstituteandgallery.org


March 18

3rd Friday, Downtown Salisbury. Street performers, art, events. 5-8 PM.


March 19

Caroline County Historic Society’s St. Patrick’s Day Party. Museum of Rural Life, Denton, MD. Food, refreshment, games, and live music by Gypsy Wind. 410-479-1750.


2nd Story Live, Caroline Central Library, Denton, MD. Annapolis-based singer/songwriter Bob Sima brings his warm and soulful voice and lyrics to the on-going concert series. Tickets $15. 7:30-9PM.



Mid-Atlantic Symphony Spring Concert, Ocean Pines, MD. See March 17 for details.


March 19-20

Charity Antiques, Jewelry, and Art Show and Sale, Easton, MD. Annual two day sale of excellent items and artwork. Proceeds benefit the Mental Health Association of Talbot County. $10 for admission to both days. Sat. 10-6, Sun 10-4. At the Waterfowl Festival Building on Harrison St. www.mhamdes.org


March 20

All-you-can-eat breakfast, Millington Volunteer Fire Company, Millington, MD. All the things you love for breakfast – bacon, eggs, pancakes, syrup, juice – and the elixir of life, fresh coffee. $8 adults $6 kids. 8-11 AM. 410-928-3171


Christ Church Concert, Christ Episcopal Church, Cambridge, MD. Pianist Thomas Pandolfi . Tickets $10. Students free. 4PM. 410-228-3161.


Mid-Atlantic Symphony Spring Concert, Ocean View, DE. See March 17 for details.


March 20-27

Talbot Restaurant Week. Chefs and restaurants show off their signature dishes and create new culinary delights for the annual celebration of food. Restaurants in Easton, St. Michaels, Tilghman, Oxford, and Trappe are participating.


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