Here is your August 2020 collection of Delmara love, with lots of stories, happenings, and fun tidbits to discover and share.
Secrets of the Eastern Shore presents a Month of Fun Days!

STORY: Making Milford Proud

Meet Albert Jackson. His mother made a mad dash out of slavery when he was two, with six other children in tow! The Milford native grew up to win a spot in Canadian history books--a street named in his honor, a prominent historic marker, and a commemorative postage stamp, too. His story is here.

sky kings

On Aug. 15-16, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be doing their thing in the skies above Ocean City. The setup is going to be different this year because of the stupid pandemic--the info you need on that is here.

get nabbed

Looking for a distraction? The Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University just put the 3,600-piece Thurston Photography Collection online. It's chock full of fun old events, street scenes, and landmarks from the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland and Southern Delaware. Start browsing here.


On Wednesday evening, Aug. 5, I will be set up outside of the wonderful Bethany Beach (Del.) Books, chatting with customers and signing copies of my Secrets of the Eastern Shore travels and history guides. Details here.

FEDERALSBURG! Days of Threshing & Milling

• In the early 1800s, Exeter was the Caroline County, Md. home of millers who worked at a nearby grist mill on Marshyhope Creek near Federalsburg. One measure of the authenticity of this home: The building has never had indoor plumbing, not even today. A labor-of-love renovation began in 2002. It's still in process, but the Federalsburg Historical Society has decided that it's time to show off where things stand. Exeter will be open for tours Aug. 15, Sept. 19, and Oct. 17. Details here.
• Last I checked, the Eastern Shore Threshermen show of Aug. 7-9 was still a go, despite the stupid pandemic. The 60th annual affair is held outdoors in the countryside near Federalsburg, Md. Bluegrass music, old-school church services, and old-time steam-power displays. Here is the group's Facebook page.

story: a Local wonderful life

Remember "It's a Wonderful Life?" That movie kept popping into mind as I dug into what happened on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the early 1900s when a citizens' co-op, the Eastern Shore Produce Exchange, transformed a poverty-stricken farming backwater into one of the country's richest rural regions. Read about that miracle here.

get reel: A video blessing

Alas, one of my favorite Delmarva events is canceled. But you can still relive the magical moment during the annual Blessing of the Combines in Snow Hill, Md. when humongous farm vehicles parade into a town before a slew of flag-waving onlookers. The 90-second video is here.

seabird cruise!

The good folks at Delmarva Birding have three "Sunset Seabird Safaris" coming up, but one of them is already sold out. A Bombay Hook field trip is on the calendar, too. Their slogan? "We are not snotty birders!" Info here.


If you've ever been to Saxis, Va., you know it's a pretty quiet watermen's town nowadays. But that wasn't always the case: Here is a brief, fun account of wild "Saturday Nights in Saxis," circa 1929.

DECOYS! New exhibit, BIG contest, "Cigar" Daisey

• Starting Aug. 14, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. has a new exhibit about famous boatbuilders who also carved hunting decoys in their spare time. Info here.
• In Salisbury, Md., the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art's annual "Delmarvalous Festival" is going to be a mostly virtual affair this year. One highlight is the "Chesapeake Challenge," in which carvers compete to make decoy artworks from scratch in a few short hours. Info here.
• Back in 2017, WBOC-TV did a nice piece talking with local carvers about the influence of the late, great Delbert Lee "Cigar" Daisey of Chincoteague, Va. Watch that four-minute piece on a regional legend here.


Peddler's Run is a tiny little waterway that you might not even notice as it meanders through historic Charlestown in Cecil County, Md. But that "run" with the innocent-sounding name has a murderous pedigree dating back to colonial times. It's also linked with some wild trade fairs held there during that era. Here is the  story, complete with ghost sightings. 

get reel: Capt. Art Daniels

Come Aug. 24, the storied Deal Island skipjack caption Art Daniels would have turned 99 years old. He worked the water for more than 80 years before passing in 2017--rest in peace, Captain Daniels. You can kinda sorta meet him (and watch him work) through the magic of this four-minute video. 

barn swallows!

George Burroughs and Lauren Giordano are high-powered creative types who have now set up shop at "Schoolhouse Farmhouse" in Talbot County, Md. There, they grow things, they create things, and they share cool stuff with the rest of us. Here is a fun video of barn swallows building a nest. There are more videos here, including "Baby Barn Swallows Leave the Nest").

Vj day, Easton

Oh, they were partying in the streets of Easton, Md. when World War II finally came to a close on in August 1945. Here is a really fun and well-written account of that big night in one Delmarva town.

WEB GEMS: the top facebook "Secrets" of July

In case you missed any of them, here are the posts that got the biggest responses last month from the 52,000-plus folks who follow Secret of the Eastern Shore on Facebook:

Wait, our modern turn signals were invented by a guy from Berlin, Md.?

Two Navy jets collide in the skies over Virginia's Eastern Shore, 1955

The days of the old herring fishery: Delaware City, Del.

A sweet old scene from somewhere near Sherwood, Md. in the early 1900s.  

The huge old Valiant packing plant in Bellevue, Md.

All dressed up for a day at Tolchester Beach, 1916

Meet Miss Maryland 1936, a Worcester County gal (pictured)

One happy, hard-working farm family from way back when in Wicomico County, Md.

The Miles River ferry gives way to the Miles River bridge, 1913

the monster storm of 1933

What might be the most important event in the history of Ocean City, Md. happened 87 years ago this month when a humongous hurricane roared through. Read about those dreadful days (and their not-so-dreadful aftermath) here. There is a link to some old video of the storm, too!

home shopping

Have you ever browsed through the Shore Store? That's where we showcase the sweet photos, fun greeting cards, and cool bits of home decor (like this bit of three-dimensional Delmarva beauty on canvas) created by Jill Jasuta Photography. No worries: My books are there, too. The support we get with that stuff from folks like you is how we keep this operation afloat-- THANK YOU!


• The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. has a "Guided Paddle & Tasting" coming up on Sat., Aug. 15. There is ice cream involved. Details.
• The Sultana Education Foundation has six public paddles planned for this month in various locations on Maryland's Upper Eastern Shore. Be sure to register early, as these trips often sell out. Details.


In the mid-1790s, a ship arrived in Vienna, Md. that "filled" the people there "with astonishment and alarm." Find out here what made Paul Cuffee and his boat so unusual, as well as how he overcame the fear his arrival sparked in the populace.


I am sending this on the day an unpronounceable tropical storm is supposed to blow through--stay safe, everyone!
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See you in September!
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