Sundaes in the Park, 6-8 p.m. Sundays through the summer, Northside Park, 127th Street and bay, Ocean City, website, free. Music, ice cream, and a cool ocean breeze to wind down after a weekend at the beach.
Soft Shell Spring Fair, noon-5 p.m. May 28, City Dock, Crisfield, (410) 968-2500, website. Devour crabs whole, at their most vulnerable. Enjoy crafts, music, the Watermen’s Hall of Fame, and fun things for kids to do besides pretend they’re eating bug sandwiches.
Taste of Coastal Delaware, June 2-4, Marketplace at Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, Del., (800) 962-7873, www.bethany-fenwick.org. See what our little neighbor to the east’s been up to, foodwise, with cuisine from the best local restaurants.
Wheeling Feeling, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. June 3, Wheeling’s Heritage Port, 12th and Water streets, Wheeling, W. Va., website. Bring a big spoon and the antacids, or concoct your own spicy, beany, scrumptious bowl of chili. Even if you don’t have a good recipe, there’s a prize for Best Booth.
Gospel Music Crab Feast/Raise the Praise Fest, 1-5 p.m. June 4, July 22, and Aug. 12, on the waterfront, Inner Harbor, (410) 484-5600, website. Thank God for all the tasty crabs, shrimp, fried chicken, greens, and corn, while Kirk Franklin and other area gospel singers sing it out. If fresh seafood doesn’t make you feel the spirit, you have no soul.
Taste of the Town, noon-10:30 p.m. June 17, Reston Town Center, Market Street, Fountain Square and the Town Center Pavilion, Reston, Va., www.restonchamber.org, $1. Thirty restaurants bring out their best cuisine for your tasting pleasure—sample everything from sushi to buffalo wings to Italian.
An Evening with Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray, 8 p.m. June 19, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW, Washington, (800) 444-1324, www.kennedy-center.org. Attention Food Network freaks. Iron Chef Bobby and culinary populist Rachael appear together to discuss food, wine, and history. Sorry, double-R, but we’ll be there to see Flay in action, not you. He’s dreamy.
Delmarva Chicken Festival, June 23-24, Byrd Park, Snow Hill, (800) 878-2449, www.dpichicken.org, free. Guess how many people are expected to show up at this event. No, guess. Twenty thousand or more. And they have a 10-foot frying pan. So it must be damn good.
Tilghman Island Summer Seafood Festival, June 24, Kronsburg Park, Tilghman Island, website. Ah, smell the spicy steam in the air. They catch the crabs the very same day as the party, so they’re fresh and sweet as can be. See if you have the fastest fingers in the crab picking contest, and play with your food in the hard crab races.
Blueberry Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 15, Deer Creek Friends Meeting, Route 161, Darlington, (410) 457-9188. Friendly Quakers serving up sweet blueberry treats, hamburgers and hot dogs, live music, and more all-natural fun.
Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 15-16, Chippokes Plantation State Park, 695 Chippokes Park Road, Surry, Va., (757) 294-3625, www.dcr.state.va.us/parks/prkevntz.htm, free. Just quit your diet right now, because with all the pork rinds, peanut brittle, ham biscuits, BBQ, sausage, and peanut pie, you can expect to gain a solid 20 pounds by the time you leave. But it will be worth it.
J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, 1-4 p.m. July 19, Somers Cove Marina, 7th St., Crisfield, website, $35. All you can eat fresh seafood—crabs, clams, fish, and corn on the cob, fried veggies, beer, and watermelon. How’s that sound? Gross, you’re drooling.
Surf and Turf Festival, noon-7 p.m. July 22, Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster, (410) 386-3880. You shouldn’t miss out on those ruminating ungulates just because seafood is so good. Unless, of course, you don’t eat meat, in which case you can just listen to the live music and tour the farmhouse.
Crab Days, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 29-30, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Mill Street, St. Michaels, (410) 745-2916, www.cbmm.org, $11 each day, members free. Don’t simply inhale the many preparations of Maryland’s most beloved crustacean. Find out how those little guys are harvested and cooked—learn how to pull up a crab pot, watch chefs at work, and find out what “trot-lining” and “chicken-necking” are.
Virginia Food Festival, 4-9 p.m. Aug. 2, Richmond Raceway Complex, Richmond, Va., (804) 643-3555, $25. Fill up on seafood, lamb, roast beef, barbeque, peanuts, and fresh fruit, then wash it all down with cold milk, beer, or Va. wine.
Old-Fashioned Corn Roast Festival, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 5, Union Mills Homestead, 3311 Littlestown Pike, Westminster, (410) 848-2288, www.unionmills.org. The Shriver clan sure can throw a corn-fest. Eat your fill of Silver Queen, and traipse around the well-preserved Homestead.
Havre De Grace Seafood Festival, 11 a.m. Aug. 12-13, Tydings Park, (410) 939-1525. Try to tear yourself away from the assortment of seafood to visit the arts and crafts area. Just for a minute. Then you can come back to speed-eating fried clam strips.
National Hard Crab Derby and Fair, Sept. 2-4, Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield, (410) 968-2500, website, $4, kids $2. It may be September already, but at least summer ends with three days of pigging out on crab, a 5K, an arm-wrestling contest, a plastic boat regatta, and fireworks. Now go pull your winter clothes out of the attic.
Bird-in-Hand Bakery, 2715 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, Pa., (800) 665-8780, website. Grandma Smucker makes good old comfort food with weird names, like the shoofly pie and whoopee pie. Make a weekend of it and stay at the inn or campground—you’ll even be invited to an ice cream social.
Bomboy’s Home Made Candy, Inc., 329 Market St., Havre de Grace, (410) 939-2924, website. During the sticky summer, it’s a good idea to skip the luscious (but melty) chocolates in favor of the ice cream. The 19 flavors include your typical chocolate and vanilla, but also specialties like Duck, Duck, Goose and Chesapeake Crunch. There’s probably no waterfowl in those.
Crab Place, 384 West Main St., Crisfield, (877) 328-2722, website. The seafood is local, fresh, and reasonably priced, for seafood anyway, and Crisfield is well worth the visit. But if you can’t make it, you can have your oysters, Maryland crabs, shrimp, scallops, clams, soups, and more shipped to your house. Send a crab feast to friends in the Midwest, the poor bastards are probably sick of reindeer or whatever they eat there.
Dolles, 1 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del., (302) 227-0757, website. Pick up an assortment of candy—chocolate, cherry cordials, non-pareils, caramels, salt-water taffy—for the ride home. They also offer many kinds of brittle, peanut and otherwise.
Dumser’s Dairyland, 49th Street and Coastal Highway, 124th Street and Coastal Highway, (410) 524-1588, website. Sure, they have a full menu of sandwiches, seafood baskets, and the like, but who comes for savory when there are so many sweet ice cream treats? An Ocean City tradition for who knows how long, with sundaes, milkshakes, soft-serve, and floats.
Fisher’s Popcorn, 200 S. Boardwalk, Ocean City, (410) 289-5638, website. If you grew up in Maryland in the past 70 years, your summertime trips to the ocean probably involved white plastic tubs of fresh, warm caramel corn from Fisher’s. Ship some to your house, or stop by on your way downy boardwalk.
Hepburn Orchards, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily, 557 E. Main St., Hancock, (301) 678-6060, website. Pick the fruit and veggies yourself for the very freshest. If you can’t decide between the different kinds of apple pie (there are six) and peach pie (four), get ‘em all. It’s fruit, so it’s healthy.
Hershey’s Chocolate World Visitor Center, 800 Park Blvd., Hershey, Pa., (717) 534-4900, website. Don’t fight the educational portion of the visit. If you make it all the way through the candy-making informational tour, you get free chocolate.
Homestead Farm, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, near Poolesville, (301) 977-3761, www.homestead-farm.net. Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and apples ripe for the pickin’. The barnyard has lots of cute baby animals, but no chasing the livestock, please.
Jim’s Steaks, 4th and South streets, Philadelphia, Pa., (212) 928-1911, website. Hey carnivores, make the trip to grab a massive hoagie, or order online and grill up some of Philly’s best red meat.
Thrasher’s French Fries, several locations on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, (410) 289-7232. Grab a grease-spotted paper bucket full of golden, hot, fresh, vinegar-soaked boardwalk fries. Save us the crunchy ones.
Baltimore Farmers’ Market, 8 a.m.-noon Sundays, Holliday and Saratoga streets, www.bop.org. Underneath the Jones Falls is not where you might expect to find the freshest local produce, flowers, and vegetables, but that’s right where it is.
Belvedere Square, Belvedere and York Roads, (410) 464-0740, website. Aside from all the delicious fresh greens and meat, super-friendly vendors, and cute stores, there’s arguably the city’s best soup and bread at Atwater’s, and Grand Cru for your post-shopping glass of champagne.
Calvert Country Market, open daily, 98 S. Solomons Island Road, (410) 414-9669, website. Going beyond just fruits, veggies, and seafood, this market also offers up jams, honey, antiques, aromatherapy products, and yarn.
Carroll County Summer Farmers Market, 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays June 3-Nov. 18, Agriculture Center, 700 Agriculture Center Drive, Westminster, (410) 848-7748. Skip the grocery store-you can find just about everything you need here, with floral arrangements, baked goods, eggs, seasonal produce, and handmade crafts. Look out for the “Home Grown in Carroll County” label so you know you’re buying local.
Cross Street Market, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. every day, Cross Street between Market and Light streets, website. This is definitely our favorite place to suck down oysters and drink cheap beer from what is basically a bucket. But you can also scoop up fresh produce (including organic), cigars, pretzels, meat, plants, and sushi.
Freshfarm Market, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays, 1500 block of 20th Street, DuPont Circle, Washington, (202) 362-8889, www.freshfarmmarket.org/markets.html. This producer-made market only allows items that the vendor has made himself—that means fresh bread, handmade soaps, and eggs gathered right off the nest. The Chef at Market program brings in experts for a cooking demonstration and talk, and after the market, vendors donate leftovers to help feed the hungry.
Historic Farmers Market, 310 First St., Roanoke, Va., (800) 635-5535. Virginia’s oldest market in continuous use includes not only food, but antiques, galleries, and the Fire Museum.
Hollins Market, 26 S. Arlington St., (410) 276-9498. The prices are good, and the seafood as fresh as it comes at Baltimore’s oldest continuously run market. Just remember to bring your own horseradish along if you want some oysters on the half.
Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., (410) 685-6169, website. Operating since 1782 on the same site (but in a different building—the original burned down in 1949), the market offers a range of carry-out no mall food court could compete with.
Waverly Farmers’ Market, 7 a.m.-noon Saturdays, the 400 block of E. 32nd Street, (410) 366-6362, www.32ndstreetmarket.org. Do your shopping for the week here, where you can get glass-bottled milk and yogurt at South Mountain Creamery’s stall, soap at the Sugar Shack, rainbow trout at Woodland Mushrooms, our favorite Colby cheese at Broom’s Bloom, and a crusty baguette at Bakery de France.
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Baltimore, MD 21201