Your monthly guide to the characters, events, stories, and history of the Delmarva Peninsula--July 2020!
Secrets of the Eastern Shore presents a Month of Fun Days!

jailbreak King of the 1930s

Meet Gilbert Lare of Federalsburg, Md. The youthful "Del-Mar-Va Bandit" escaped, Houdini-like, from jail after jail on the peninsula starting in the late 1920s.

Plus, he did it with flair--once mailing a Christmas card to local cops while on the lam. Here is his story.

douglass on the fourth

On Sat., July 4, the Frederick Douglass Honor Society will do a community reading outside the courthouse in Easton, Md. of a key speech by Talbot County's great champion of freedom. 

It's titled "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" Details here.

Back on the road again 

Hurray! Some of the area's top destinations are re-opening to visitors at last. Might be time to plan an excursion. Longwood Gardens, perhaps? The Winterthur Museum? How about the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum?

GET REEL: Ponies past

Alas, Pony Swim Week in Chincoteague, Va. will not be held this year. Blame it on that darn pandemic. But you can make a virtual visit through a series of short videos that show the beach walk, the parade, the swim, and the auction from previous years. Keep scrolling down here to find them.

get lit: A smattering of FIREWORKS SHOWS

Most Independence Day fireworks have been canceled, but a few stalwarts are still going forward as of this writing:
• Easton, Md. on Sat., July 4. Details.
• Dewey Beach, Del. on Sat., July 4. Details.
• Alas, the ticketed fireworks planned for Sat., July 4 at Chateau Bu-De Winery near Chesapeake City, Md. is sold out.
• In Crisfield, Md. on Sun., July 5, folks are being urged to watch the fireworks show at Somers Cove Marina from their cars or boats. Details.
• Photo by Jill Jasuta Photography.

farmer's fight for freedom

A Delaware farmer put everything on the line time and again to help scores of runaway slaves make it to freedom along the Underground Railroad.

Read the inspiring story of this First State hero here. The piece includes the true-life tale of Molly, one of the slaves helped by John Hunn ...


Secrets of the Eastern Shore's Jim Duffy appeared recently on WBOC-TV's Good Day Delmarva, telling the entertaining tale of the day an elephant rampaged through the marshland of Saxis Island, Va. No, really-here is the segment.

fair to remember

A scaled-down version of the Delaware State Fair runs July 23-Aug. 1. No big national music acts, but lots and lots of family-oriented fun with animals, games, crafts, and more. Details here.

Saint on the boardwalk

A sweet summertime story from Ocean City, Md. in the 1920s, when the fanciest hotel in town gave first-class treatment every July to the girls from an Eastern Shore orphanage. You can read the memories of one of those girls here.

shore things: gifts, decor, gorgeous

Despite that darn pandemic, the Shore Store is on pace for another solid year, thanks to folks like you. That's our online emporium, where folks find photo prints, greeting cards, and home decor items celebrating Delmarva—and created by Secrets of the Eastern Shore's better half, Jill Jasuta Photography.

Not everything that happens through the Store is simple as can be. We have fielded questions and filled orders lately for:
• Canvas photos for a business conference room;
• Thank-you gifts for working professionals who help an educational program;
• "Road Trips" books to welcome new arrivals in an active-adult housing development;
• Personalized greeting and thank-you cards with Delmarva themes and preprinted messages--yes, including Christmas cards for families and businesses ...

The photo here is on canvas at 20x60 inches. It's now hanging in a Kent County, Md. home The Shore Store is here. Email us:

things got steamy in 1813

The anniversary of the very first steamboat to ply the waters of the Chesapeake Bay--back in 1813--fell just a few days ago. Did you know that an Eastern Shoreman launched that steamy revolution in our waters? Read the story of Capt. Edward Trippe here.
Teaser: At the height of his success, Capt. Trippe enjoyed what just might be the greatest commute in the history of big-city America.

ride fourth!

• On Sat., July 4, folks in Dorchester County, Md. will be decorating cars for a fun 50-mile freedom ride from Taylors Island to Vienna. Everyone welcome. Details here.

• The traditional decorated golf cart parade marking the Fourth of July in Cape Charles, Va. is a go. Details here.

A Breath of  plein air

The annual Plein Air Festival in Talbot County, Md. is a go as well, though somewhat scaled down. Events will be held July 11-19 in Easton, St. Michaels, Tilghman Island, and Oxford. Yes, "Certified Plein Air Pandemic Paintings" will be available for purchase. Details here.

ice cream & PJs

On Wed., July 15, Scottish Highland Creamery in Oxford, Md. is having "Ice Cream for Breakfast Day." Flavor highlights: pancakes with syrup, fruity pebbles, more. Pajamas, slippers, and bed-head 'dos encouraged. Details here.

word of warning from Denton, Md., 1865

If you are planning to play with your own fireworks, do try to be a little more careful than they were in Denton, Md. on July 4, 1865. Here are a couple of sentences from my book, Eastern Shore Road Trips #2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva:
"Another of those historic houses is a rare survivor of the devastating fire that tore through downtown Denton on July 4, 1865. That blaze began when jubilant citizens celebrating the end of the Civil War made the unfortunate decision to create a fireworks show by flinging balls of candlewick and kerosene into the air."
The fire was devastating enough to earn coverage in the New York Times. More info on the book is here--it's full of interesting little tidbits like this that will spice up your travels along backroads and through small towns. (The image here is generic and not meant to show anything specific to Denton.)

taxing matter

Income taxes come due a little later than usual this year. Because of the darn pandemic, the deadline is July 15. For you, that probably means reams of paperwork. But back in Colonial times, that deadline meant hunting trips, as the government used to accept squirrel heads in lieu of tax payments. Not kidding--the story from an old history of Cecil County, Md. is here.

Avalon under the stars

The Avalon Theatre in Easton, Md. is taking shows into the great outdoors for now. They are working in partnership with the Tidewater Inn and the Wylder Hotel, so food by top chefs is part of the deal. Five different shows in July, including the award-winning Eric Byrd jazz trio. Details here.

Happy 90th!

Next time you are traveling on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, take time to visit Fisherman's Inn in Grasonville, Md. They are celebrating their 90th birthday this year, and they recently installed a whole bunch of photos by the incredible Jay Fleming Photography. Sneak preview here.

Scourge on Smith Island

Construction of the old Cape Charles Lighthouse on the "other" Smith Island, the own down at the mouth of the Bay in Virginia, was scheduled to be finished in the summer of 1894. But then that terrible, unbearable "scourge" came along. You've probably guessed by now? Here is why construction got delayed for a year.


Thanks so much for spending time with this issue. As always, feel free to forward it to friends, family members, co-workers, or vague acquaintances who might be interested. The next issue will arrive around the beginning of August--here's wishing you good health and lots of midsummer fun until then!
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