Top: Highland Aerosports; Middle: Cambridge’s Bistro Poplar, Knapp’s Narrows Marina & Inn, Salsbury Zoo; Bottom: Adrenaline High, Dr. Dodson House Bed & Breakfast
Spring has finally sprung and summer is right around the corner. Apparently, so is another snowstorm. Nevertheless, thoughts of beachy escapes and summers at the shore are keeping us all warm in the meantime. While crowds flock to Delaware beaches and the Jersey Shore, ditch the bottleneck and sneak down to Maryland’s Eastern Shore communities, where fab dining, outdoor adventures and the Chesapeake Bay await, sans road rage and overcrowding.
The best way to enjoy the season isn’t by the water—it’s on it. Adrenaline High kayak outings are the perfect way to cruise, fish and relax when the weather’s nice. Based in Salisbury, this land-and-sea adventure company (it offers cycling, too) offers everything from a gentle drift to kayak fishing outings to paddle and dine packages with local restaurants. 107 Morris Mill Road, Salisbury, Md.; (410) 749-2886, adrenalinehigh.com
Get a birds-eye view of the coastline with Highland Aerosports, where you can get tandem (instructor and student together) hang gliding instruction for all ages. Flight training is available for adrenaline junkies and Wright Brothers-wannabes. 24038 Race Track Road, Ridgely, Md.; (410) 634-2700, aerosports.net
Taking a vacation doesn’t mean breaking the bank, especially when the Salisbury Zoo offers year-round free admission. Bonus: Becoming a member here means you get 50 percent off admission to the Philly Zoo and Baltimore Aquarium through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Reciprocity Program. 55 S. Park Drive, Salisbury, Md.; (410) 548-3188, salisburyzoo.org
If St. Michaels is a haven for history buffs, the Dr. Dodson House Bed & Breakfast is a home away from home. Retaining its original fireplaces, wavy glass and woodwork, this B&B is as charming as it gets. Owner Janet Schilling elevates the breakfast experience with some truly decadent entrées like caramel French toast and lemon ricotta cornmeal pancakes. Here, the most important meal is also the most delicious. 200 Cherry Street, St. Michaels, Md.; (410) 745-3691, drdodsonhouse.com
It’s hard to go wrong with a waterfront inn where every room has a balcony. That’s why the Knapp’s Narrows Marina & Inn on Tilghman Island is a popular overnight and extended stay spot for out-of-towners looking for impeccable service in an inviting atmosphere. Before you’re there, ask for a third-floor corner room (try suite 307) for the best views. While you’re there, do some fishing on a charter boat or take in a lighthouse tour. 6176 Tilghman Island Road,â€¨Tilghman, Md.; (410) 886-2720; knappsnarrowsmarina.com
Looking for coffee and maybe a little buzz for later? Chestertown’s Play it Again Sam fields all your cravings perfectly, whether it’s a jolt-packed cappa, a smooth red wine or an avocado BLT. Whichever you prefer, you really can’t go wrong here. 108 S. Cross St., Chestertown, Md.; (410) 778-2688
If you’ve picked your fill of crabs the night before or are looking for a French connection on the Eastern Shore, Cambridge’s Bistro Poplar fits the bill. What the menu lacks in size, it more than makes up for in flavor and innovation. Don’t skip the wine list either—there’s a pinot blanc you haven’t tried yet, just waiting to make friends with Poplar’s seared scallops. 535 Poplar St., Cambridge, Md.; (410) 228-4884, bistropoplar.com
For more about the Maryland Eastern Shore, click here.