Work is underway to rebuild a living history site and honor local black history in Wicomico County. The location of what was once the homestead of Buffalo Soldier, Thomas E. Polk and his wife Hattie Polk, located in Allen, is being brought back to life by Deborah Scott, granddaughter of Thomas Polk.
Buffalo Soldier was a nickname given to members of African American cavalry regiments of the U.S. Army who served in the western United States from 1867 to 1896, mainly fighting Indians on the frontier. The nickname was given by the Indians, but its significance is uncertain. According to folklore, the name was given to them by Native Americans, and the term means 'man with hair like buffalo’. In conjunction with the restoration of the site will be the construction of ‘Hattie’s Trail’. Henriette den Ouden will oversee the planting of native species — including elderberries, spice bushes and butterfly weed — along the trail beginning in the fall. Ouden is a University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension specialty herbs consultant.
Ouden is also interested in building a garden to showcase traditional foods and medicines used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Certain medicinal plants she hopes to include are willow trees, meadowsweet and plantains.
Henry Wayman, a member of the Eastern Shore 9th and 10th Buffalo Soldier Motorcycle Chapter, will serve as technical adviser on the project.
It’s hoped that the site will become a place where history is shared for generations and where anyone can learn about a piece of history often forgotten.
Following the site’s launch, guests will be met with signage detailing the history of the buffalo soldiers on the trail. The site will also feature soldier reenactments and video presentations.
The trail is being established in part by funding from a program under the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The Preservation Trust of Wicomico is serving as the sponsor of the project’s grant. Those looking to participate in the project can reach out to McCoy Curtis at UMES firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to announce our mini-grant awards to 6 organizations across the heritage area.
Berlin Heritage Foundation
Berlin Heritage Foundation was awarded $2,500 for the development of two new exhibits in the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum. The Museum will be researching, creating, and installing two new exhibits telling the stories from the African American communities in Berlin. The first will be about Briddletown, which refers to the east end of Flower Street that was established in 1866 by free blacks and formerly enslaved people who settled there in the years following the Civil War.
The second will revolve around the history of Reverend Doctor Charles Albert Tindley, an American Methodist minister and gospel music composer who was born in Berlin, MD and whose composition "I'll Overcome Someday" is credited as the basis for the U.S. Civil Rights anthem "We Shall Overcome."
Crisfield Heritage Foundation
Crisfield Heritage Foundation was awarded $900 create a new exhibit within the J. Millard
Tawes Historical Museum in Crisfield. The exhibit will showcase the history of the Agricultural
industry in Crisfield and the surrounding areas of Somerset County. Current and past exhibits within the
museum have showcased industries such as Seafood (crabbing and oystering), decoy carving, shipbuilding, manufacturing and even the political heritage.
Delmarva Discovery Museum
Delmarva Discovery Museum was awarded $2,500 to host Delmarva Heritage Days, a 2-day event in March that will celebrate Delmarva’s rich decoy carving history and its unique traditions. Master carvers and living legends will be on hand to demonstrate their craft and tell their stories. In addition, their will be a decoy historian on hand to historic decoys for their age and value.
Maryland Coastal Bays Program
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is receiving $2,500 to promote the heritage and history of the fishing industry in the greater Ocean City Area in what is titled Voices of the Coastal Bays. The stories hidden within these fisheries will be told, recognized and supported with individual oral histories of local fishermen and commercial fishermen. They’ll also be producing a Sustainable Seafood Guide highlighting local species and the importance of making environmentally-conscious seafood choices that promote local catches. In addition, an interactive story page on their website that will take the visitor through the history of fishing in the Coastal Bays.
Somerset County Historical Trust
Somerset County Historical Trust was awarded $1,000 to produce a Fairmount Academy Film Series. Finds will be used to acquire and market a 3 date film series, to be shown outside on the Fairmount Academy Grounds, in Spring, early Summer and Fall of 2022. Proceeds will be used to continue to restore the Fairmount Academy property and buildings.
Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art was awarded $2,500 in funding to support an exhibit (January 28 – May 15, 2022), gallery book (available January 2022), virtual exhibit tour (March 2022), and artist talk and community roundtable (February 2022), all focused on a new series of artworks reflecting Black experiences of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, created by Berlin, MD artist Patrick Henry.
Germantown School Video
The Germantown School is a two-teacher, Rosenwald school serving students in the African American community of Germantown, Maryland from its opening in 1922 until the late 1950s.
Seal Stewards of the Maryland Coastal Bays
It’s almost seal season (late December-May) so thought we’d share this great program in case you want to get involved.
Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) and the National Aquarium partnered in 2012 to launch an outreach program on responsible seal viewing and sighting reporting. Out of this partnership developed the seal steward program, as Ocean City and Assateague Island have been experiencing a significant increase in seal sightings.
This citizen volunteer opportunity is an ‘on call’ opportunity. When a seal hauls out, seal stewards are contacted to see if they are available to man the haul out area to make sure beach and dog walkers keep a safe distance to protect both the walkers, dogs, and the seal.
Parsons Cemetery, located in Salisbury, is today both operational and historic. According to their website, it is an urban green space, an outdoor museum, and in the words of architectural historian, Keith Eggener, urban cemeteries "are where life meets death, nature meets city, and present meets past."
Preservation Maryland recently bestowed Parsons Cemetery with the 2020
Best of Maryland Community Choice Award. Over the past several years, the Parsons Cemetery Advisory Board has worked hard to develop walking tours in Parsons Cemetery. Seven tours have been developed and more are being planned for future release. In addition to the tours, Parsons Cemetery is an active participant in
the Wreaths Across America program which honors veterans at Christmas time.
Over the past year, a comprehensive database was created to identify all the veterans who are
interred in Parsons Cemetery so they can be recognized, even those who have no markers.
Work is now underway to create a comprehensive database of all first responders interred in
the cemetery. Ultimately, the Board’s goal is to make the information in the Cemetery
Information Management System (CIMS) available to the public, so they can search for and
locate any person interred in Parsons Cemetery. However, this information is not very useful if people are not easily able to locate graves. Thus, the Board believes the installation of signage is a critical next step in the continued development of self-guided tours and other activities like Wreaths Across America.
Currently, there are no signs which delineate the layout of the cemetery. Parson’s Cemetery is
broken into 9 sections with 40 rows of plots. Through the strategic placement of 19 signs at
various points in the cemetery, the signs will make it easier for people to complete the self-
guided tours in a timely manner. The signs will also make it easier for visitors to locate a specific
person interred in Parsons. The impact of these signs will be immediate and long-lasting, as the
signs will be a permanent feature of the cemetery. Work is expected to be completed by June
You can visit their site, by clicking here.
Get in the spirit with holiday events!
Winter Wonderland: Illuminating Traditions
Tuesdays through December 29
A seven-week virtual celebration of winter holidays from around the world and their traditions of light. Each video illuminates a new tradition. Pick up a craft kit to take part in the at-home activities. Reserve your kits at 410-742-4988 x 115 or go to wardmuseum.org.
Ice Ice Berlin: Ice Art Sculptures & Holiday Shop Night
Friday, November 27, 5-9pm
24 holiday ice sculptures carved by award-winning ice artist Erik Cantine throughout town, pinecone birdfeeder craft at the Calvin B. Taylor Museum, Santa, carriage rides, shops open until 9pm.
Small Business Saturday
Saturday, November 28
Shop local this season!
Free Carriage Rides in Berlin
December weekends, 11am-3pm
A Miracle on Market Street
Friday, December 4, 5:30-8:30pm
Walk through the winter wonderland in Downtown Pocomoke City with a tree lighting, holiday music, dance performance, carriage rides, sidewalk sales, vendors, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a bonfire, and carol sing-alongs.
Light Up Berlin
Drive around town and look at all the beauty Berlin has to offer during this holiday house decorating contest! Tour map list will be available at berlinmainstreet.com
Holiday Tea at Poplar Hill
Thursday, December 10, 11:30am
Celebrate the holiday season at Poplar Hill Mansion, Salisbury’s oldest house, with a tea and menu featuring soup, tea sandwiches, scones, desserts, and more. Safety precautions in place. RSVP by December 4 at 410-749-1776.
A Pemberton Christmas
Saturday, December 12, 11am-4pm
Enjoy a festive day at Pemberton Historical Park with holiday music, decorations, tours of the grounds, wreath-making classes, gingerbread-making contest, socially distanced photos with Santa, fire pits, vendors, food truck, and more.
2nd Friday in Berlin
Sunday, December 13, 5-8pm
Shop, see Santa, and enjoy live music!
Shop Local on the Lower Shore
If you haven’t yet finished your holiday shopping or, maybe haven't even started, think about doing your shopping from small businesses across the shore. Shopping at a locally-owned and operated business is truly a unique experience.
While everyone was hunkered down during the COVID pandemic, local shops, restaurants and galleries were struggling to create new ways for people to shop and eat out. Let’s show some love this holiday season and give those hard-to-buy- for on your list a unique gift made right here on the lower shore.
For the Drink Lovers
Rise Up Coffee- Who wouldn’t love their slogan; Grown by Friends. Roasted by Friends. Enjoyed by Friends. Coffees, espressos, blends, coffee club, swag and gift cards are available.
Wind Mill Creek Winery is a fairly new winery and vineyard located just on the outskirts of downtown Berlin. The main building is a meticulously restored 1858 homestead which has been in the family for decades. New this season is an igloo village, yes, you just read that right! No one else is offering this anywhere, so if you’re looking for a gift that is unique, this is it. Rent the igloo by the hour and sip their selection of delicious dry wines. You can even have their wines shipped direct to your family and friends.
Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery whose name literally means the water’s edge is located on the banks of Wicomico Creek south of Salisbury. Bordeleau offers tastings in their cozy tasting room or weather permitting outside on their patios. A loyalty program and wine club membership are also available and make great gifts. Stock up this holiday season on some of their award-winning wines.
Seacrets Distilling Company offers plenty of award-winning spirits, in a variety that will suit any palate. A fearless collection of premium small-batch, handcrafted spirits; bold spiced & gold rums and sweet white & coconut rums, ultra-smooth vodka and exceptionally refined gin. Their flavored vodkas are a must try – lemon drop, orange, ruby red grapefruit, bumbleberry and passion fruit, macerated with fresh fruits. And don’t forget their traditional bourbon and American whiskey. I gift basket of these selections will be a huge hit!
Burley Oak Brewing Company, as their apparel says hand-crafted goodness. Burley Oak is located in Berlin and is a local favorite. Pick up a growler or two for that craft beer lover on your list.
Evolution Craft Brewing Company might just arguably be the best restaurant and taproom in Salisbury. They offer gift cards and a loyalty program which includes all seven of their restaurants. We couldn’t say it better than they do, “Ever-better beer for ever-better food. An excellent recipe for ever-better times.”
Tall Tales Brewing is located between Salisbury and Ocean City. This brewery has gift cards, growlers, branded apparel, and the coolest outdoor pizza oven and bar anywhere in the area.
The Buzz Meadery is located in downtown Berlin, Maryland. They are devoted to using local produce and honey to create unique flavors of mead. This is a great new idea for holiday giving.
Specialty Crafted & Unique
Uncle Jon’s Soap, Beards, Bath & Beyond
Ok, yes, they have gift ideas for everyone but this is especially good for the guys on your list. They’ve got the dudes covered with everything from shave soap tubs, shave brushes, aftershaves, head balms for the bald, mustache wax, grooming kits and so much more. You’ve got to check it out! Free shipping is provided on orders over $100.
Beach Memories Jewelry, located right on Main Street in downtown Berlin offers gorgeous, hand-made glass beads and glass bead jewelry. One particularly cool item is the sand encased glass bead. Put a little sand in your beads and create a lasting memory for anyone on your list. They will also lovingly and respectfully create a beautiful piece of keepsake jewelry with your loved ones cremains. A truly special gift indeed.
Jeffery Auxer Design Studio offers hand-blown glass items from ornaments to lighting fixtures. Is items are not only unique and gorgeous but both functional and ornamental. Even more cool? Give someone a gift of a class where they can create their own holiday ornament. He studio and gallery are right behind the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin
Art Lovers on Your List
Bishop’s Stock Fine Art, Craft & Wine in downtown Snow Hill is a mainstay of the downtown and not only offers 2 and 3-dimentional art but also offers jewelry, textiles and boutique wines. Purchase a wine club membership and discover some really great small batch wines. Each December, owner, Ann Coates has a ‘bin sale’ offering unframed works by regional artists. This is a great way to own or gift some really fabulous art!
OC Center for the Arts is a must stop to take in their wide selection of art by regional and local artists. Their gift shop also sells a variety of handmade items including jewelry, pottery, prints and handbags. Gift someone on your list a class (virtual for now) in all varieties of medium from pottery to watercolor to oils and photography.
Salisbury Art Space or SAS is located in downtown Salisbury and has a large gift shop selling a wide variety of hand-made items from local and regional artists. Another great gift is a gift of membership. Memberships are a way to show your support year-round.
The Mudhud Clay Art Studio, located in Salisbury is a clay studio offering membership levels for creating your own clay masterpiece. The Mudhud offers, classes, memberships and giftcards. They also host ‘clay’ parties perfect for the holidays or birthdays.
For the Bibliophile
The Greyhound Indie Bookstore, offers a wide selection by local authors. Owner, Susan Ayers Wimbrow is an author herself. She has a wide selection of books for both young and old.
Sweet Tooth Fixes
Smith Island Cake, YESSSS. From traditional cakes to cake bites, there’s a flavor for everyone, even gluten free. These sweets are the real deal, no knock-offs here. They offer shipping too! Come to their store in Crisfield and you won’t be able to resist a little holiday indulgence.
On What Grounds Coffee House on Main Street in Berlin has so much more than coffee. Stop in and check out their wide selection of house made chocolates, packaged beautifully for a ready-made gift.
This holiday season, visit a Main Street. Step out of your car. Take in the sights and sounds of the Beach to Bay Heritage Area. Buying a gift card to any main street business supports all our small business owners. After all, they are our friends and neighbors.
Bicycling is a great activity when trying to social distance and still get outside and enjoy spectacular scenery and a little exercise. There is no better place than the Eastern Shore of Maryland with its deserted country roads, rivers, and ferries. Jody Arneson at Mid Atlantic Day Trips explored White Haven and Wicomico County in an article early this year that includes fabulous pictures to whet your appetite. They started at the Whitehaven Hotel on the banks of the Wicomico River, loaded their bikes on the ferry where they spoke with the ferryman, Dennis. See what they saw and learn what the lower shore offers to both casual and serious bicyclists.
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