This year, if your vacation destination is Ocean City Maryland you’re in for an added treat! You will find…while taking some off-beach time to explore the surrounding area…that many exciting discoveries await. Worcester, Maryland’s easternmost County may be bordered by the Atlantic Ocean however traveling inland just a bit will reveal an entirely different view; that of farms and forests, rivers and streams, rural villages and historic homes and churches.
One of our recent special discoveries was in the tiny town of Newark, situated just south of Berlin Maryland off of Rt. 113. Just across the street from the Queponco Railroad Station Museum, on Patey Woods Road, in an old, but recently renovated storefront sits Barbely’s Family Restaurant. We quickly learned that the best time to visit Barbely’s is on Thursday, Friday or Saturday after 4:30 pm.
This Friday evening, arriving right at opening, we were greeted in a most friendly manner. It seems many (most) of the staff is part of a large, multi-generational family who own and operate this already special country style eatery. After being seated we quickly selected our meals from an ever-changing menu. ‘In season’ and ‘fresh’ seems to be a large part of their offerings as fried oysters and oyster fritters were prominently listed. However, my companion wanted the special ribs…we later leaned that these lovely, fork-tender, lean ribs are slow cooked overnight producing a flavor and texture that only a lengthy preparation can produce!
My choice for the evening was a (what was listed as ‘petite’) crabcake. However, when it appeared I was certain that there had been a mistake…it was HUGE! Not only huge, but really, really good – all crab! Of course, there’s a long list of appetizers, including a local specialty – ‘peas and dumplin’s’ soup. However, knowing the filling nature of the soup I opted out this evening. A large assortment of ‘sides’ was listed including another local treat – ‘greens’. I’ve come to love these – boiled till tender mustard greens or collards flavored with a bit of ham and ‘mystery’!
One cannot mention Barbely’s without talking ‘desert’. Everything is HOMEMADE: Meringue topped pies and towering cakes…puddin’s, dumplin’s – whatever! Last evening the focus seemed to be on the apple dumplings – served warm with vanilla custard atop and beside excellent vanilla bean ice cream! My companion, a known desert lover, could barely finish his huge serving. He commented (several times) on the flavor of the lovely whole, spiced apple inside the tender pastry! Enough said…the food is tasty, generous and is accompanied by caring and friendly service! Don’t miss a visit…
You can find out more about Barbely’s on facebook under ‘Barbely’s Family Restaurant ‘and see the specials for the evening listed there.
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If you missed this event last Sunday, you may look forward to attending next year – and if you were one of the lucky few hundred that did attend you ARE already looking forward to attending next year. The event was the first annual PEACH FESTIVAL held at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, in the little sister town of Berlin, just a few miles west of the big sister, seaside resort town of Ocean City Maryland. The occasion was a historic celebration of the peach – specifically the peaches from the renowned Harrison Nurseries once located in the area. The day began with a ‘peach’ proclamation read by Mayor Gee Williams followed quickly by a ‘peach’ pie-baking contest, which coincidentally was followed by a ‘peach’ pie-eating contest! Actually, there were pie samplings available for all attendees. At 3 pm, Mike McGrath, host of ‘You Bet Your Garden’ heard on NPR Radio gave a special presentation on gardening. Throughout the entire afternoon there were demonstrations of basket and quilt making, live music, kid’s crafts and races while adult games of croquet and bocce were being played on the beautiful lawns. Inside the museum, informational tours were offered, featuring an exhibition of Harrison Nurseries historic Nursery Catalogues and Peach labels. Also at 3 pm, children gathered and were encouraged to ‘make their own ice cream’! By this time, due to the wonderful attendance, the fresh, homemade peach ice cream made by Worcester County‘s own local dairy purveyor – Chesapeake Farms, had run out and many had to make do with fresh black cherry or buttered pecan. Surely a woeful experience! HA!
Alas, at 6 pm the special daytime fete was over…only to be followed by the Museum’s monthly summertime ‘Concert on the Lawn’. On this evening the entertainment was provided by the popular local group – ‘Backfin Banjo’!
For more information on this and other FREE events visit the Taylor House Museum website at http://www.taylorhousemuseum.org. See you next year!
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Having thoroughly enjoyed once again your beachside visit to Ocean City Maryland it may be time to head home via Rt. 50. Or perhaps, because it’s a lovely summer evening you want to treat the kids (or yourself) to some fabulous ice cream…? Well, the well known saying, “Head west….”, is more than true. A few short miles after leaving the beach, driving along Rt. 50 (Ocean Gateway) one comes upon a row of hand-lettered signs…leading off-road to a little green building nestled in a cul-de-sac that’s well worth your attention. The sign on the building says Chesapeake Bay Farms. Within you find the retail outlet for the only dairy in Worcester County…and within you will find the most delicious homemade, hand-dipped ice cream ever! The flavors are incredible and endless!!! Along side you will find cheese – real cheese – also in a variety of flavors! And, what’s a real dairy store without butter – fresh churned butter, salted or unsalted packed in 8 oz containers. In a nearby case you will find fresh local seafood (seasonal) including local clams, crabmeat, scallops and shrimp (also live crabs when available). They also have heavenly homemade “Paul’s recipe” chocolate Truffles prettily packaged…just in case you need a quick gift for the folks back home? Outside again, under the mature trees on the lawn are a few picnic tables where you can enjoy your icy treat (or ask for “to go” and the staff will cheerfully secure your purchase within ice). And, while you’re there visit the little pen outside…where the calves are kept. Today, the merely weeks old inhabitants were looking for a friendly petting – a perfect ending to our visit to a real dairy store. To visit this shop via the Internet – www.chesapeakebaycheese.com where you may learn more about this unique local business.
“Corn’s up” is a phrase oft repeated by friends throughout the spring while driving around the Ocean City Maryland area and viewing the local farm fields. And, if the corn is up we may be sure that the phrase “corn’s in” will soon follow. Yes, the CORN IS IN and available to everyone. Stopping by one of the local farm stands in the late afternoon and selecting one’s “supper” is one of life’s pure pleasures. It is our good fortune to have several of these stands nearby. Two locations which offer a huge variety of “just picked”, locally grown produce, including luscious tomatoes, juicy ripe melons and that aforementioned sweet corn are located just a stone’s throw off Rt. 50 heading into Ocean City. The first is right at the corner of Rts. 589 and Rt. 50 and is operated by Dale and his family. Dale is a life long area native and he knows his tomatoes! The second farm stand is about a half mile further north on the right side of Rt. 589 past the Ocean Downs Racetrack and belongs to Harry – also “shore” bred and the hardest workin’ man I know! Both places on Rt. 589 are easy to reach via Route 90 from the north or Rt. 50 from the south…and they are near the entrances to Ocean Pines just west of Ocean City! You owe it to yourself and your family to pick up a few ears to enjoy this evening! Just plop them into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes or roast them on the grill or go a bit further and make some of that rib stickin’ southern favorite – corn pudding…whatever, just ENJOY!
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Abundant sunshine, warm temperatures and sandy soils combine to make the Eastern Shore of Maryland about the best place to grow the most flavorful of summertime vegetables – tomatoes, ‘lopes, sweet corn and ‘cukes. Of course, various squashes, beans, beets and onions are also plentiful this time of the year. But, to my mind the tomatoes are king!
Here, near Ocean City MD, around the 4th of July, the long awaited picking of the first ripe tomato is always cause for celebration. The harvest begins and continues through late fall. Because of the ideal local growing conditions there is always a bumper crop and this bumper equates to busy roadside stands, (roads leading into and around the town). Sometimes the stand is just a tiny shack, perhaps a lone umbrella over a table, or the bed of a somewhat rusty pick-up truck, displaying baskets filled to overflowing with nature’s bounty. In Ocean City and in the neighboring town of Berlin, MD, things get a wee bit more formal…with set times and locations at which local farmers set-up to sell their FRESH produce.
A visit to any of the regularly scheduled Farmers Markets will have you smiling…folks are friendly and the offerings are prime! Watch your step though; seeds and peach pits fly…many can’t wait to sample those juicy, ripe tomatoes, berries and peaches on the spot…! And, remember to stock up with a few dozen “ears” to take to the folks back home!
Ocean City Farmers Market, 142nd St. & Coastal Highway southbound – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday…9 am until 1 pm
Berlin Farmers Market, Main Street – Wednesday and Friday…1 pm until 6 pm
Some suggested “farm stand” locations:
Rt. 589, make left turn from Rt. 50 eastbound, two locations, one at the left corner just after the turn and one about ¼ mi. on right – both open daily. Locally grown!
Rt. 6ll make right turn from Rt. 50 eastbound, three locations, ½, ¾ mi. and 2 mi. toward Assateague Island – all open daily. More locally grown FRESH produce.
For more information on our local Farmers Market visit this website www.atbeach.com/farmersmarket.