I will always have a little sweet spot for the East Coast. Charming is just one of the many adjectives I could throw out to describe the many small towns in the Mid-East. Whether it’s college towns, beach towns, or straight up in the middle of nowhere towns the East Coast has a lot to offer for travelers looking for a peaceful escape.
Small towns can offer the savvy and frequent traveler something more than the flashy and predictable cities, so why not check out the Mid-Atlantic region? Here’s my list of personal favorites with a few crowd favorites for a blend of relaxation and exploration for any traveler looking for somewhere new to go.
CHESTERTOWN, MARYLAND – This charming small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland lies on the beautiful Chester River and is only two hours from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. Chestertown is an unlikely spot for tourists, which actually makes it the best spot for travelers. Grabbing a bite at Evergrain Bakery, thrift shopping down High Street, and enjoying a sunset by the river are some of the many things Chestertown has to offer. With Washington College just a brisk walk away and the river always in eye-sight, Chestertown is sure to please. Check out this great story, by Coastal Living, about Chestertown if you end up loving it so much you want to move there. The area is one of the most affordable parts of Maryland as it is also one of the least populated areas, so for all you budget travelers (like myself) this is a great place for you!
DEWEY BEACH, DELAWARE – I have such deep love for this town right here. Summer time in Dewey is one big party – life is just a little bit slower at this delightful beach town. Just a Jolly Trolley ride away from the main beach area of Rehoboth, Dewey is in the perfect location – a little out of the action, but still close enough to take advantage of all the public transportation. Beaches are significantly less crowded and parking is actually possible, as opposed to it’s big brother beaches Rehoboth and Bethany. A trip to the Delaware Beaches is under-rated and I feel it deserves more attention. Delaware is a small wonder and I grew up there so I’m most definitely biased, but for any traveler who loves going to little-know areas Delaware’s your place. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “Delaaawheree?” It’s all too common of an occurrence, but let’s be real – they’re the ones missing out. Check out this youthful beach town for a great time that you may or may not remember if you get me.
BERLIN, MARYLAND – Recently named the “coolest small town in America” by Budget Travel, Berlin certainly lives up to it’s reputation. It’s charm comes from all the local businesses filling it’s small main street. Located in the heart of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, or the other side of the bridge as the rest of Maryland calls it, Berlin features dozens of small businesses and a location no one can deny as being perfect. Right outside of Ocean City, Berlin is able to keep it’s town clean and safe for residents and tourists alike while being a manageable commute from DC. Berlin has streets that you simply can’t get tired of walking and the ocean close enough that the air just feels fresh.
LEWES, DELAWARE – Located in the eye of the Atlantic Ocean, Lewes is perfectly breezy without the classic umbrella turning wind of the beach. It’s called the Harbor of Refuge for a reason.. Lewes is a delightful small with a wide array of independent restaurants and shops in a very culturally-rich (and actually rich) community. For a trip to Lewes either stay in their cheaper sister cities or go for a day trip because prices do lighten your wallet while visiting. Check out Agave for to-die-for guacamole and local boutiques for unique accessories. With Tanger Outlets right outside of the town you can be sure to spend a hunk of cash, but it’s also easy to just enjoy the town for what it is and relax downtown. There’s nothing physically ripping the money away, let’s just say there’s some temptation in Lewes. A wonderful coastal community none-the-less and a definite spot to add to any traveler’s “to see” list.
NEWARK, DELAWARE – This town bleeds blue and gold with it’s most well-known feature being University of Delaware. Newark basically revolves around the college – any driver fears downtown during class changes and be prepared for some sights that will be forever burned into your memory if you’re around on Saint Patrick’s Day. University of Delaware, named one of the biggest party schools in America particularly on St. Patty’s Day, has created a booming economy for the surrounding town of Newark. Why travel around the world when you have the mainstreet of Newark, Delaware? There’s more international cuisine in this small town than you would expect with of course multiple Froyo shops (you can never have too many..).
Not too far from the social center of Newark, is White Clay Creek State Park, a wonderful place to hike, run, take pictures, mountain bike, etc, etc. Because of it’s proximity to UD, Newark always has something going on whether it be a guest speaker on campus or concert at Homegrown Cafe or Mojo. I may also be extremely biased in my decision on number 1 because I grew up here.. Sorry! (But I’m really not because Newark is an amazing place to grow up and travel to)
HONORABLE MENTION – Assateague Island, VirginiaPhoto Sources: Evergrain Bread Co., Delaware Online, Dewey PD, About My Beaches, Government of Berlin, Zorach Files, Active Rain, and me :).