Experience Region’s Winter Charms
[By Teisha Collins] Saunter along the quaint streets of St. Michaels, bordered with warm, inviting stores. Be greeted by seasonal music when you step into a Tilghman boutique to do some shopping, or witness the amazing sight of hundreds of waterfowl within serene wildlife reserves. Then, when night falls, inhale the comforting aroma of hickory and enjoy the soothing crackling of a fire in the fireplace of an exquisitely adorned bed and breakfast or inn.
The Chesapeake Bay region is a four-season destination with several vibrant towns that provide warm and inviting winter opportunities. Admiring bayside nature is also an option even in the colder months.
Millions of migratory birds flock to the area each autumn and winter as they follow the Atlantic Flyway during their seasonal flights. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge hosts approximately 35,000 geese and 15,000 ducks each winter, along with abundant tundra swan and bald eagles. Black Walnut Point, at the tip of Tilghman Island, is a great place for spotting eagles, osprey, herons, sandpipers, terns and hawks against a magnificent bay backdrop. Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, located in Rock Hall, is a great place for observing waterfowl, including pintails, goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, oldsquaw, canvasbacks and buffleheads.
Within small bayside towns, there are many opportunities for leisurely shopping at boutiques, antiques stores and country markets. Plus, you can visit Queenstown Premium Outlets just on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to find bargains at more than 60 stores, including Banana Republic, Coach Factory and Polo Ralph Lauren Factory.
Incorporate a little history and culture into your bay vacation by visiting one of the area’s several museums. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is the place to learn all about the bay and the people who shape their lives around it. Meanwhile, the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum is perfect for anyone interested in trains or journeying into the past. The museum even has an annual holiday open house, giving visitors a chance to buy stocking stuffers and enjoy homemade goodies.
Holidays in St. Michaels are full of family fun. The Harbour Inn Resort hosts a holiday gala, an annual gingerbread house display/competition is held in St. Mary’s Square, Town Dock Restaurant offers a breakfast with Santa for children, and the Talbot Street Christmas parade offers marching-band music, floats, antique cars and more.
If you are looking for a warm haven from winter’s chill after a busy day of shopping and sightseeing, several comfortable accommodations have a cushiony bed ready. The 80-room Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels features picturesque rooms equipped with marvelous antiques and exquisite fabrics. All rooms boast fireplaces. Be sure to also check out Rock Hall’s Moonlight Bay Inn to experience the surreal tranquility and ambiance of winter usually found only in a painting.