Easton: The County Seat of Talbot County

History buffs will appreciate the deep roots this tiny town has to offer.

Head south on Md. 213 for about 22 miles, turn left at the light at U.S. 50 and head about 14 miles to the town of Easton.

Easton is the county seat of Talbot County, which has a rich tradition going back to the 1600s when European settlers established tobacco plantations along the county’s rivers and streams. The town was once called “the East Capital” of Maryland because it was a center of government and commerce. Talbot County is also the birthplace of the great Civil War-era orator, writer and social reformer Frederick Douglass. (A statue of Douglass stands outside the county courthouse on Washington Street.)

Hit the visitor’s center on South Harrison Street to obtain guides for exploring the several walkable blocks surrounding that historic building. (discovereaston.com,
town-eastonmd.com) Down the block, at the corner of Dover and Harrison streets, is the historic Avalon Theatre, a restored art-deco theater that offers national and international musical acts and locally produced plays. 

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Across from the Avalon is the Tidewater Inn. Its rooms and restaurant—The Hunter’s Tavern—are bright and elegant. Other fine dining options within a two- to three-block area include Mason’s (with a chocolate bar), The Bartlett Pear Inn and Restaurant, Scossa, Out of the Fire, Peacock Restaurant and Brasserie Brightwell.

Continue down Harrison Street to explore galleries, gift shops and boutiques (and be sure to check out Vintage Books and Fine Art on East Dover Street). Another special choice for fun gifts and decor (and mermaid art) is Moonvine on Harrison. A handcrafted mermaid doll greets visitors. 

A block away on North Harrison is Easton Market Square. Open year-round, several vendors sell products ranging from antiques to cooked meats to fresh produce and flowers, plus coffee, sandwiches and ice cream. On Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. from April to October, the Easton Farmers Market takes place on the town’s parking lot right outside the Square. Find local art, jewelry, cheeses, meats, produce and more, plus local musicians regularly perform. 

You’ll want to continue your walk around the block and back up Washington Street. For a bite to eat, try Washington Street Pub, then move on to visit the colorful garden and museum at the Historical Society of Talbot County (home walking tours are offered through the society). While on the same block, paint some pottery or fuse a glass pendant at The Clay Bakers, and check out the unique children’s toys and books at Crackerjacks

Highlights not to miss:

  • Two of the biggest events during the year are the Easton Plein Air painting competition and sale in July and the Waterfowl Festival in November (the WF headquarters, complete with a goose family statue, is on South Harrison). Both have international following. 
  • Academy Art Museum on South Street off South Harrison. Incredible art exhibits … and a Picasso! 
  • Third Haven Meeting House, completed in 1684, is considered the oldest surviving Quaker meeting house and reportedly the oldest frame building of any kind continuously used in the United States. Find it on South Washington Street. 
  • The Amish Country Farmer’s Market on Marlboro Avenue is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9 a.m. (breakfast bar at 8 a.m.). You’ll find a variety of farm fresh produce, meats, milk, cheese, baked goods and more, all under one roof. (Hint: Plan to purchase some dinner rolls from the bakery. They are so soft and buttery they probably won’t make the trip home.)

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