By Mindie Burgoyne
Berlin is located on the Blue Crab Scenic Byway, a series of connected country roads that link the small towns and water-laced landscapes of the region. Traveling the Byway makes the visitor’s drive to Berlin part of the rich Eastern Shore experience. At the intersection of S. Main and Broad Streets – the very heart of downtown Berlin – the visitor will be awestruck by the town views. Historic, brick commercial buildings — many with interesting Victorian details — line streets that are edged with trees and sidewalks. Because the town buried its power lines along Main Street years ago, there are no telephone wires or poles jumbling the view. Berlin is a walkable town, where history wraps itself around the visitor like a welcoming friend.
The Atlantic Hotel dominates the streetscape in the center of town. This Victorian, 18-room full service hotel has been the anchor at this crossroad since 1895. Fully restored with updated amenities, this regal lady has open porches with rockers that offer a shaded, relaxing view of town activities. All 18 rooms have Victorian period décor, private baths and luxury bedding. The Drummers Café provides fine and casual dining daily, with outdoor seating in season. Within the same block is Rayne’s Reef, a 50s-style diner with good food and homey atmosphere. Around the corner is the historic Globe Theater, now a full-service restaurant and pub with excellent food and a gallery on the second floor. The Globe still has a stage and provides live entertainment and films periodically. The larger than life paintings of early Hollywood movie stars, painted by Maryland artist Patrick Henry that decorate the walls near the stage, are reason enough to take a peek inside the Globe.
Berlin has 47 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The unique and sometimes ornate residential and commercial architecture makes a simple walk through the town an experience akin to stepping inside a painting. The Calvin B. Taylor Museum located on N. Main Street is a 19th century house museum that exhibits Berlin memorabilia and early Americana artifacts. The Merry Sherwood House, a pre-Civil War Victorian mansion located outside of town, has 8,500 square feet of period furnished rooms for accommodation. The house is situated on a lush plantation with landscaped grounds and formal gardens, and claims to offer guests an experience that will allow them to step back in time.
Berlin is a well-known hub for antique shopping. The antique stores are still popular but are complimented with upscale boutiques, art galleries, and a farmers’ market. Baked Desserts Café and Gallery is home to Berlin’s official dessert, the Original Peach Dumpling. The Main Street Enchanted Tea Room serves tea and pastries on fine china while soothing music plays in the background. Burley Oak Brewing Company has eight of its own brews on tap and offers tours and educational opportunities to learn about brewing craft beers.
If shopping, good food, art galleries and Victorian ambiance weren’t reason enough to visit Berlin, the events are a worthy draw. Monthly Second Friday Art Strolls in the Arts and Entertainment District, the Jazz and Blues Bash in the spring, the Berlin Bathtub Races and Peach Festival in the summer, and the four-day Berlin Fiddlers Convention in the fall all provide a unique downtown experience. For a complete list of Berlin’s events, merchants and attractions, visit the Berlin Chamber of Commerce website.
Mindie Burgoyne is an author, travel writer and tour guide living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her blog, The Travel Hag, shares information on outdoor travel for women. She is the author of Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake.