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Chincoteague Island Extended PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Monday, 30 November 2009 15:59

No, that title is not a description of the new causeway. It's a program by the island's merchants and Historic Main Street Merchants Association to stay active, open, and viable after the tourist season. The impression for many potential visitors is that the island shuts down after Labor Day and reopens in May. While some places are dark and shuttered during the fall and winter, most non-seasonal stores and restaurants welcome guests and have sales and menu specials to prove it.

 

www.chincoteagueislandextended.com has an easy-to-read spreadsheet of all merchants and their hours through December. It's reprinted again to cover Jan-Feb, and March-May. It also has the website for the Chincoteague Cultural Alliance (www.chincoteagueculturalliance.org )which produces more events, concerts, festivals, and programs than any other town of its size.

 

Meandering through Chincoteague's unique shops is a refreshing antidote to mall mania. Parking is easy, the merchants are friendly, and there's no line at the check-out. What more could you ask for?

 
Mystery Most Fun! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Monday, 30 November 2009 15:39

Murder, mischief, mayhem, and madness. And you thought Oxford was that quiet village where the Tred Avon River meets the Chesapeake Bay. Where the most passionate disagreements concerned someone keeping the historical character of their home authentic. Although those can be as intense as a Saturday night in a biker bar -- in a most discrete manner, of course.

 

But all that changed when Kathy Harig arrived. The owner of the popular Mystery Loves Company in Baltimore, she decided to abandon the charms of Charm City for the peacefulness of the Eastern Shore. She and her husband Tom moved their award-winning shop into the empty bank building on Morris Street and invited hundreds of nefarious characters to join them.

 

The store overflows with titles from authors well-known and not, with 'cozy' mysteries (in which an amateur solves the crime using her personal contacts and observations. Think Agatha Christie light), police procedurals, thrillers, detective novels, true crime, series, crime fiction, and all of the variations thereof. Several thousand books are crammed into what probably looked like ample space when the Harig's found the place. Kathy's read almost all of them, and she speaks knowledgably about the authors and the plots, and any other gossip about them the reader might find interesting.

 

Since arriving in Oxford, the Harig's have become very active in Oxford's lively cultural life. What space in the store not devoted to books is given over to local artists. She hosts author signings and book gatherings at the shop. In addition to the mystery books, she carries an extensive inventory of books by local authors and those about local interest, everything from the history of decoy carving to eco-friendly deer management techniques.

 

The monthly newsletter includes a great recap of books being released each month and a calendar of some regional book-oriented events. If you enjoy the genre at all, visit her blog: www.mysterysalon.com for news and notices of upcoming events. She's also live on Friday mornings on streaming audio WCEI 96.7FM.

 

If you are looking for gifts for your bookworm friends, Kathy creates gift baskets themed around their interests, hobbies, or favorite authors.

 

Independent bookstores are vanishing as quickly as watermen, Mystery Loves Company is one of the few left. They carry authors that the big chains ignore and participate in the community in ways that few of the chains do. And I'll harp on this again, when you spend money locally, for every $100 you spend, $68 of it stays local.

 

Mystery Loves Company is open Fri-Mon and Wed from 10-4; until 5 on Saturdays. 202 S. Morris St., Oxford 410-226-0010. www.mysterylovescompany.com

 
L.O.R.A. Eat Local! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Monday, 30 November 2009 13:53

It's a bit of a switch on the 'locovore' idea. That terms usually applies to people who try to make all of their food purchases from sources within 50-150 miles of their home.

 

But what happens when you eat out? Franchises eye their bottom line and contract with suppliers who may be very far away. Their business model simply doesn't allow for much chance to buy from local growers.

 

Locally owned restaurants have more freedom in that area. Not that they don't buy from food service companies, but they know the desire for local sourcing is there, and they try to meet it. That's good for the local farmers, helping them survive and thrive. And good for customers who are getting fresher, often healthier, ingredients in their meals.

 

Local chefs also design their menus around the wants of their local customers, not the plans of the corporate marketing department. And local money stays local. For every $100 spent in a locally owned business, $68 stays in the local economy. National chains leave only $43 in the local area. Restaurants have about the smallest profit margin of any business, and local places don't have the cushion of corporate profit to protect them in a slow spell. Every customers of a local eatery is very, very important. Between the lunacy of trying to make a living with such a knife-edge between success and failure and the brutal hours spent in hot kitchens, restaurateurs must be passionately dedicated to their calling. For which we should all be grateful.

 

Which brings me to L.O.R.A. , Local Owner Restaurant Association. Fifteen restaurants and catering businesses in the Salisbury and Delmar area have joined together for joint marketing and mutual support. They are: Adam's the place for Ribs, Back Street Grill, Bistro 54, Break Time, Cactus Taverna, Cakes by David, Chef Fred's Chesapeake Steakhouse, Flannery's Catering, Lagoon Bar & Grill, Lombardi's, Namaste, Old West Steakhouse, Sobo's, Vinny's La Roma, & Zia's.

 

They've got some nifty discount offers available for people who sign up for their newsletter. Do that by visiting www.lorarestaurants.org. You'll get a monthly e-mail with coupons and 'head's up' for what's coming next.

 

The December offers include free appetizers, half-off entrees (with purchase of full price), discounts on draft pitchers with purchase of meal. There's also a good deal on gift certificates. For every $100 of gift certificates, you get an additional $20 certificate free. There are no expiration dates on those, either. Call Jinya Bennett at Break Time 410-742-7665.

 
Christmas Parades on Delmarva PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Monday, 30 November 2009 11:27

 

Who needs Macy's for a holiday parade? New York is cold and crowded and expensive. People stand 6 deep and you can barely see the floats or marching bands.

Hometown parades are a lot more fun. They're local. You wave to people you know and they wave back. You know the kids in the band and the guy who built (and is probably driving) the float. It's a real holiday vibe.

Here is a list of the Christmas Parades in Delmarva. Bundle up, and see you there!

Dec. 4 Centreville 6:30

Dec. 4 Selbyville 7:00

Dec. 5 Berlin 7:00

Dec. 5 Cambridge 5:00

Dec. 5 Chincoteague 7:00

Dec. 5 Ocean City, Gold Coast Mall 11:00

Dec. 5 Princess Anne 11:00

Dec. 5 Easton 6:30

Dec. 6 Salisbury, Twilley Center 2:00 (raindate Dec. 9)

Dec. 7 Rehoboth Beach 6:30

Dec. 7 Salisbury, Mt. Hermon Rd. to E. Main 2:00

Dec. 7 Snow Hill 7:00

Dec. 11 St. Michaels 10:30

Dec. 12 Crisfield 6:00

Dec. 12 Hurlock 12:00

 

Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2009 17:11
 
Slowre than Molasses... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fran Severn   
Sunday, 29 November 2009 19:34

You don't really appreciate the phrase "slower than molasses in January" until you actually have to try to pour the stuff on a really cold day. I have horses. They like to drink water laced with molasses. It's a kind of equine Gatorade. We keep a heater used for de-icing bird baths in the container, but even then, the stuff oozes with glacial slowness.

 

It's sticky stuff. Very sticky. Especially when the bucket tips over in the back of your Durango and the cap comes off. But that's another story.

 

The stickiness attracted Maryland's State Highway Administration. They're going to experiment with using a molasses-based substance for pre-treating highways this winter. When Marty Bass says the "S" word in his forecast, the salt trucks will take to the highways, loaded up with "Ice Bite." The idea is that the molasses will help the salt stick to the road. If it works, it will cut down the amount of salt the state uses. That should save money and send a little less salt into streams and onto nearby vegetation.

 

The Eastern Shore isn't part of the experiment. We don't get enough ice and snow to really measure Ice Bite's effectiveness. It'll be tried in Frederick and Howard counties. I'm just hoping it sticks to the road and not onto the vehicles. Like I said, it's very sticky stuff. Very sticky.

 

But that's another story.

 
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