By Melody Bishop
Elm Staff Writer
Autumn is upon us, and the last traces of summer weather are beginning to fade. Thankfully (or maybe unfortunately, depending on your view), the madness of Maryland weather will give us summer temperatures now and again throughout the season, sporadically interwoven with the more typical days of fall. And while the bipolar weather certainly drives us all a little insane, it can be a blessing in disguise. It can give you one last opportunity to take in the warmer weather before it vanishes. So before the seasonal changes hit us full-force, here are some ideas for local mini road-trips to satisfy your lingering summer wanderlust.
If you’re looking to get off campus for a day or an afternoon at the beach, Betterton is your best bet. This tiny town, known as the “Jewel of the Chesapeake,” is only about a 20 minute drive north if you follow Still Pond Road. Once there, you’ll find a small sandy beach which opens onto the northern point of the bay. Betterton also has a paved fishing pier which extends out onto the water, a volleyball net, and public restroom facilities.
Another local beach can be found in the town of Rock Hall, the Pearl of the Chesapeake, only a 20 minute drive down Route 20. This beach may be smaller, but it offers a beautiful view in the evenings of the bay bridge lit up in the distance. Rock Hall also has much more to do in town; Durding’s store is locally famous for its ice cream, and Waterman’s is a favorite for a nice dinner out.
While in Rock Hall, if you take a right at the intersection and follow Route 445, you’ll soon find yourself at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, on Eastern Neck Island about a half hour drive from the college. This is an incredible place for a day trip or half-day trip, where you can walk nature and wildlife trails, enjoy beautiful views over the bay and marshlands, and even walk through a butterfly garden. Eastern Neck is the perfect place to escape campus life for a bit and get in touch with your inner Thoreau as you experience the natural beauty the Eastern shore has to offer.
Perhaps you’re looking for somewhere to explore off campus that’s a bit more urban. If an hour’s drive doesn’t daunt you, Easton is your answer. In addition to a myriad of stores and restaurants (including Target), which dear old Chestertown is known to lack, a trip to the historic downtown area is an afternoon well spent. Imagine the quaint charm of Chestertown’s historic district, but spread across several blocks which house a plethora of local shops, eateries, art galleries, and more.
After moving to the Eastern shore, it seems many students bemoan the lack of things to do and places to go, but there are plenty of hidden gems if you just know where to look. So if you’ve been aching to get away from campus for a few hours, dying to wear your favorite bathing suit one last time, or just wanting to explore the region, grab some friends and hit the road. You won’t have to drive for long before you find what you’re looking for.