The North Pole might be 3,520 miles away, but this time of year, the Christmas spirit on Maryland’s Eastern Shore makes it seem a lot closer.
For many, touring decorated historic houses is a gift in itself. As part of Easton’s four-day Festival of Trees celebration, five houses will be open for touring over Thanksgiving weekend.
Additionally, there will be a four-day display of some 50 decorated trees at the Tidewater Inn, guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.
On Dec. 9 and 10, quaint in-town houses of St. Michaels, once home to watermen and seafarers, will open their doors.
All are within walking distance and will be decorated for the holidays. A shuttle bus also will link several countryside homes, many of which are at water’s edge.
Santa promises to help light the Oxford community tree Dec. 2, and return for breakfast at the fire hall the following day. There’s no word on whether he’ll make an appearance at the wine and cheese party or other events set for “Christmas on the Creek.”
Among the offerings of “Christmas in St. Michaels,” slated for Dec. 8–10, are Breakfast With Santa and Santa’s Wonderland, which features a $2.50 hot dog lunch. On the other end of the spectrum are holiday parties: the Gingerbread House Preview Cocktail Party, Dec. 2, and the Yuletide Party, Dec. 8, at the Miles River Yacht Club, with open bar, food stations that include a raw bar, and dancing.
Love a parade? Easton’s historic streets provide a magical setting for the Olde Tyme Holiday Parade at 6:00pm Dec. 1.
And, St. Michaels’ Talbot Street Parade, the largest holiday parade on the Eastern Shore, begins at the Inn at Perry Cabin and ushers in the season — and the jolly old elf — on Saturday morning, Dec. 9.
Food and shopping, too
For many, feasting is a holiday tradition. What better place to loosen the belt than in a church hall?
On the menu at St. Luke’s Holiday Breakfast on Dec. 9 are made-to-order eggs, home fries, pancakes, and other favorites. Later in the day, from 11:00am–3:00pm, the Union United Methodist Church will serve an “Old-Fashioned Eastern Shore Christmas Dinner,” featuring turkey and all the trimmings, as well as Maryland fried oysters.
And, as if shopping weren’t fun in its own right, there’s “Moonlight Madness” in Easton, Dec. 1, and “Midnight Madness” in St. Michaels, Dec. 2.
Shop for jam, jellies, and other temptations, as well as interesting gifts (hummingbird swings, anyone?), at the Marketplace and Sweet Shoppe at St. Michaels’ Granite Lodge.
Insider tip: Love Eastern Shore cooking? Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the cookbook A Few of Our Favorite Things.
As for tree lightings, there’s a variety from which to choose, but for a unique experience, check out the Great Tilghman Island Crab Pot Tree Lighting at the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center. A “tree” decorated with crab pots? You have to see it to believe it.
Best of all, many of these events, in the true spirit of the holiday, benefit charitable projects. ‘Tis the season to be jolly!
Christmas in St. Michaels: christmasinstmichaels.org
Talbot Co. Tourism: tourtalbot.org