Usually when visitors travel around America in the summer, it’s to big capital cities – those places that are often thought of as having the best history, award-winning cuisine, and exceptional design. But in a country with such vastly diverse cultures, it is the smaller cities where architectural splendor and beauty of the landscape really shine. Venturing to Easton, Maryland for 48 hours, one will find it a worthy destination, anchored by restaurants providing authentic tastes, jewel box boutiques, and historic excursions.
Walking Easton’s picturesque red-brick sidewalks, bustling with just the right amount of life as people meander by the store fronts, you immediately get that sense there is magic here. Federal Street and other roads surrounding the town square, and the adjacent Goldsborough Street are populated with a number of impressive culinary establishments, bringing a uniformly handsome food scene to the city’s center. It’s evident in Easton that big cities don’t hold a monopoly on gourmet meals.
FOOD & DRINK
Over sixty-four percent of Americans enjoy a cup of Joe or tea and the attentive service of Weather Gage is a wonderful way to wake-up with a proper espresso drink or Mariage Frères tea. This is a nice surprise as this tea is not commonly found - even in NYC, where you can get most anything and everything. Don’t skip the French-style pastries, prepared daily.
If some in the group are opting for a quick bite to go with their coffee that is healthier, head for Bumble Bee Juice & Broth, serving morning smoothies, Aronia bowls, artisan honeys, and bone broths. An added bonus to note - all the ingredients, from nut milks to granolas, are created in-house.
Next door is Sunflowers & Greens, which is a burst of bright and cheery freshness for a mid-day meal. Inspired by the bustling counter service cafés in France, the gourmet restaurant is a contemporary style food bazaar with an abundant selection of salads that make the most of the given season, and the distinct agricultural bounty of the Chesapeake region.
Spend the afternoon taking advantage of all the history that surrounds this coastal corridor of the Mid-Atlantic. The Academy Art Museum, where expecting seascapes and scrimshaw are on view, and delight oneself with the revolving modern and contemporary exhibitions. Take a short drive over to the picturesque waterfront town of St. Michael’s with colorful shops and restaurants. But the most rewarding excursion is a visit to the Maritime Museum, that clearly chronicles Talbot county in every detail. It is ideal for the history buffs who love to learn of thing or two of a place’s enriching past.
Head back to Easton for a sugar break that’s well worth it. BONHEUR is equal parts posh and piquant. Dozens of flavors are made on-site daily. And whimsical touches, like the pleated sunset-gold lampshades and the vibrant hand-painted Spring orchard wallpaper, will make this ice-cream stop a superb place for an Instagram selfie beside a delicious treat.
Dinner must be served at the one place that has been anchoring Federal Street for several years, Bas Rouge, which channels the soul of a fine European restaurant. It delivers an extraordinary experience of purposeful cuisine, notable wines, and flawless service. The menu marries the freshest local ingredients with rare-imported delicacies interpreting classic dishes from German and Austrian cultures. A perfect respite for closing the evening is The Stewart, an intimate bar-and-lounge with the very finest of single malt Scotch whiskeys and vintage Champagnes. Upon entrance, guests are immediately transported to a sphere of sheer refinement and spirited sophistication like that found in a Scottish manor.
SHOPPING & MORE
Sleep in a little and start the next day with an early lunch before heading out for the next adventure. Opening at 11 AM, The Wardroom, a brightly lit space with large windows gracing the restored brick building, has a vast wine cellar, refrigerated dispensary for select wines, and tasting room. The gastronomic European-style shop has gourmet provisions of handmade pastas, house-cured meats, assorted chocolates, and readily prepared foods that will suit any palate. Each evening the lively marketplace transforms into a relaxed wine and gnocchi bar. Be sure to make your way back on Sunday for their newly added Sunday Brunch!
Walk over on the other side of the square to snag a good book if taking the afternoon off! The boutique bookstore, FLYING CLOUD Booksellers, offers an engaging range of volumes for readers of every age. If needing a place to entertain the children, a custom designed area of the store is an area just for pint-size readers.
A hidden gem above the bookstore is a recently opened shop selling fine posters - the only source in the Chesapeake Bay area for original vintage posters. This gallery selection of original poster art extends from the 1880's to the 1980's with a few modern classics.
There is always someone you know who is getting engaged or married in the summer, so scout out the unique options if in the market for a classic one-of-kind gift or special surprise if the time has come to pop the question. Guilford & Company is a treasure trove of fine antique and estate jewelry – it’s a sure bet that a unique, celebratory gesture will be found. Don’t overlook Dwelling & Design for one-of-a-kind gifts and a multitude of witty and sophisticated home accessories. A temple to fine tableware is Benjamin, featuring elegant displays of the most exquisite European porcelain, china, and crystal. This is the stuff any person would dream of including on a wedding-registry.
And it’s time to treat the organizer for making this trip happen, and you could be sure it is the lady of the house to thank. Make it a special bonus from Sailor, a casual shop epitomizing the nautical theme of sailing towns all along the Chesapeake, will be able to outfit the sporty women in her, with familiar name brands like Vineyard Vines and Patagonia.
To close the evening, go casual for dinner with authentic Roman-style pizzas from Roma Alla Pala. Soon to offer outside seating, but for now take it to one of the parks or tables along Federal street and enjoy sharing with family and friends in the historic village of Easton. Serving six, the featured prized pizzas share a fragrant and airy crust that gives that irresistible, endless crunch - that’s amore!