A walk through Easton's historic district will take you past buildings that witnessed the birth of the United States and have stood through 2 centuries. The Talbot County Courthouse, for instance, at 11 N. Washington St., was built in 1710.
The Historical Society of Talbot County, 25 S. Washington St. (tel. 410/822-0773; www.hstc.org), offers an intimate look at life in the county and Talbot's industries, such as boat-building and duck-decoy carving. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm; admission is free. It also offers guided tours of historic Easton and of local historic houses. Don't miss the Federal-style gardens behind the museum, a quiet haven for a spot of relaxation.
The Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., at Harrison Street (tel. 410/822-2787; www.academyartmuseum.org), a light-filled gallery transformed from 18th-century buildings, has exhibits by regional and national artists, and a performing-arts series. Admission is free. Hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm, and until 7pm Tuesday through Thursday; Saturday 10am to 3pm.
The restored Art Deco Avalon Theatre, 40 E. Dover St. (tel. 410/822-7299; www.avalontheatre.com), has been providing entertainment since 1921. Its performing-arts series draws local and national acts. For tickets, call the box office or go to www.ticketmaster.com.
Farther from downtown is Third Haven Meeting House, 405 S. Washington St. (tel. 410/822-0293). Opened in 1684, this Quaker house of worship once hosted William Penn, who preached to Lord Baltimore. It is the oldest religious building in use in the U.S. Admission is free; donations are welcome. It's open daily from 9am to 5pm (meetings for worship are Sun at 10am and Wed at 5:30pm).
The Chesapeake Bay Log Sailing Canoe Association sponsors log canoe races -- just about the oldest class of boat still sailing around here. Usually races are more exciting for the sailor than for the spectator. But these boats -- big on sail, small on hull -- have to be seen to be appreciated. Races are usually held on weekends from June to September. For information, contact the Miles River Yacht Club (tel. 410/745-9511; www.milesriveryc.org).
The Cannonball House, on Mulberry Street at St. Mary's Square, may look like an ordinary Colonial-style house -- but it was witness to the day the town outsmarted the British. When the British attempted to shell St. Michaels during the War of 1812, the townspeople blacked out the town and hung lanterns high in the trees, causing the British to overshoot the houses. Only one cannonball hit the town, striking the chimney of this house. The town was saved, and the "blackout strategy" was born. The house is privately owned and, therefore, is not open to the public.
A Drive to Wye Mills
Three things in the hamlet of Wye Mills make the detour from Easton worthwhile: a flour mill, the remains of a tree, and beaten biscuits. Even if you doubt it, this could be one of those trips the kids talk about for a long time.
From Route 50, go west on Route 404 or Route 213, about 13 miles north of Easton or 14 miles southeast from Kent Island. This burg is a mile off Route 50.
Flour ground at Old Wye Mill, Old Wye Mills Road (Rte. 662), off Route 50, in Wye Mills (tel. 410/827-6909; www.historicqac.org/sites/WMgristmill.htm), was sent to George Washington's troops at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. The mill has been in operation since 1671. Visitors can see it at work on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month. Guides are good at explaining all the gear that makes the water wheel and grinding stones turn. After a visit, you can buy wheat flour or cornmeal ground here. There's no admission fee, but a $2 donation is requested. Hours are mid-April to mid-November, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday 1 to 4pm. Because volunteers staff the mill, hours may vary; it's best to call ahead.
The 450-year-old Wye Oak fell in a 2002 storm -- but the stump of the largest white oak in the country and Maryland's official state tree remains, now surrounded by a fence. Also on the property is the tiny brick Wye Oak House, Talbot County's oldest school building. During daylight hours, take a peek inside.
You can't leave Wye Mills without getting a taste of an old Maryland tradition. Orrell's Maryland Beaten Biscuits, 14124 Old Wye Mill Rd. (Rte. 662), Wye Mills (tel. 410/827-6244), in business since 1935, has limited hours, but try to schedule a stop. The dough really is beaten -- usually with a hammer, though the back of an ax works too -- to get the biscuits to rise. The method was used in a time when leavening was in short supply. You can try the finished product or buy some to bring home. Admission is free. They're open Wednesday (baking day) from 9am until baking is done, usually about 3pm. Call ahead (tel. 443/454-4361) to visit.
If you bring your fishing rod, you can try your luck in the Wye Mills Community Lake, across the street from the mill. This 50-acre lake is home to bass, bluegill, and who knows what else. A non-tidal-waters fishing license is required. There are lots of grassy spots for a picnic, too.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.