Exploring Berlin: Historic Charm With Modern Amenities
Picturesque and quaint, Berlin is a hidden gem in Worcester County, bearing history, gourmet eats and treats, arts, antiques and much more to explore. But despite it’s quintessential old-fashioned atmosphere, Berlin is a modern town with all the bells and whistles, from great shopping to free WiFi throughout the town. Rich with interest, Berlin is the perfect place to spend the day or for a weekend getaway on the Eastern Shore.
Begin your journey with a walk around the nature trail at Stephen Decatur Park, a 21-acre area including tennis and basketball courts, a fitness trail and a waterfowl pond. This quiet, family-friendly space was named for the naval hero who played a major role in the Battle of Tripoli Harbor.
According to the White House Historical Association, Decatur would go on to serve in the First and Second Barbary Wars, as well as the War of 1812, amongst others. The park was created from a section of the Decatur family farm where he was born in 1779.
Adjacent to the park are Burley Manor and Burley Cottage on Main Street, named for the original Burley Plantation, which encompassed a 300-acre area, a land grant dating back to 1677. According to www.berlinmainstreet.com, early travelers to the area stayed on what is now Main Street at the Burleigh Inn — the namesake of the town, as historians say the contraction of the two words became “Berlin.”
Burley Manor and Burley Cottage are architecturally unique, sharing columned front porches with sawtooth arches dating back to the 19th century, both built just before the incorporation of the town in 1868.
Despite the fact that the downtown area suffered through three large fires at the turn of the 20th century, a few of the original buildings and homes still exist.
Continue to historic downtown Berlin to experience the Arts and Entertainment District. With more than a dozen different artists and galleries, there is something to appeal to all tastes.
The eclectic downtown area also is home to numerous antique stores. A full day can easily be spent wandering the antique shops — Pitts Street Antiques, Town Center Antiques, Culver’s Antiques, Toy Town Antiques and More, which features antique toys and comic books sure to tantalize your inner child. Old and retro items from days gone by are righteously priced for visitors to take home a piece of Chesapeake-themed history — old oyster cans, nautical memorabilia, and local paintings and photographs.
Shopping isn’t the only activity in Berlin — you also can enjoy some entertainment while you dine at the historic Old Globe Theater restaurant. The Globe, still boasting its original marquis over the front doors, offers culinary expertise in an atmosphere reminiscent of the roaring 20s and Vaudeville.
Continuing the tradition, The Globe hosts murder mystery dinners, local art exhibits, and live music on stage. For a full schedule of their events, visit www.globetheater.com.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat afterward, stop at Main Street Enchanted Tea Room for a relaxing cup of tea and pastries. Located at 7 S. Main St., the tea room offers 48 selections of tea flavors and varieties, and is decorated with antique tapestries, whimsical knickknacks and elegant table settings. It also maintains a gift and collectibles shop to entice your nostalgic senses. Find their hours and menu at www.mainstreetenchantedtea.com.
If you’re not ready for a nap after indulging in Berlin’s gourmet foods, visit the Calvin B. Taylor House and Museum. This restored 19th century manor house has been converted into a museum of historic and local memorabilia. With its majestic presence at 208 N. Main St., the Taylor House was built in 1832 for Isaac Covington, a trader and store owner. It’s namesake however, was Calvin B. Taylor — a teacher, lawyer, and founder of the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Company — who lived in the house with his wife from the 1890s until his death in 1932, according to the museum website, taylorhousemuseum.org. The museum is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and special events celebrating the days of yore occur periodically throughout the year.
If you’re planning to stay the night, choose the Atlantic Hotel for its rich history and classic, refined style. Built in 1895, the rooms and suites are decorated in the style of the Victorian era, and lay claim to names from literature, such as “The Bronte Room,” “The Tennyson Room,” and “The Byron.” The hotel and its staff emit a small-town charm intermingled with a regal air to create a unique experience for its guests. Find room availability at atlantichotel.com.
With its close proximity to Assateague Island and Ocean City, Berlin offers the best of both worlds — old and new — transporting visitors to an old-fashioned hometown with a touch of the 21st century.