Easton has been voted as one of America's top five coolest vacation home towns by Forbes magazine, located in Talbot County along the state's gorgeous Eastern Shore. The city, which is likely named for England's Somersetshire town of the same name, is home to the nation's oldest Quaker meeting house, which has been in operation since the 17th century and is one of Maryland's oldest continually-operating places of worship. Visitors can catch cultural performances at the Avalon Theatre, peruse the art exhibits of the Academy Art Museum, or meander through over 400 preserved acres of farmland and native wildlife habitat throughout the Pickering Creek Audubon Center.
1.The Avalon Theatre
The Avalon Theatre is a lovely historic theater originally constructed as a movie cinema in downtown Easton, billed as the "Showplace of the Eastern Shore" when it opened in 1921. In 1924, the cinema was purchased by the Schine Chain Theatres company and renovated in Art Deco style. Throughout its tenure in the 20th century, it hosted world-premiere film showings, including the premiere of acclaimed film The First Kiss. Following its fall into disrepair in the 1980s, the cinema was restored as a performing arts center in 1989. Today, the cinema serves as the premiere performing arts venue of the Mid-Shore region, bringing in local and national performing arts groups, musicians, and performers throughout the year. A cabaret space, dance floor, and exhibition and banquet hall are also available for private special event rental.
40 E Dover St, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-822-7299
2.The Academy Art Museum
© The Academy Art Museum
The Academy Art Museum is one of Easton's most beautiful historic landmarks, originally constructed to house the city's first chartered school in 1820. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the space was used for primary and secondary education purposes before being converted into a funeral home and later an antique store. Since 1958, it has been operated as an art museum facility, dedicated to spreading the knowledge, appreciation, and practice of the multidisciplinary arts. The museum's lovely permanent collections showcase important works by artists such as Anne Truitt and Gene Davis, featuring significant holdings of modern American and European master works. Prints and photographs by artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Martin Puryear, and Robert Rauschenberg are also showcased. Each year, the museum presents a wide variety of cultural programming, including a renowned concert and lecture series presenting performances from top international musicians and authors.
106 South St, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-822-2787
3.Pickering Creek Audubon Center
© Pickering Creek Audubon Center
Pickering Creek Audubon Center is a spacious 400-acre working farm located adjacent to the shores of Pickering Creek along Maryland's lovely Eastern Shore region. The center showcases over a mile of tidal creek shoreline for visitors to explore, along with mature hardwood forest, brackish marsh, tidal wetland, and meadow habitats. It was established in 1984 after land donations by Margaret Strahl and George Olds and is open to the public for free every day of the year between sunrise and sunset. Over four miles of walking trails are showcased throughout the center, along with platforms for birdwatching and wildlife watching. Other natural attractions include a freshwater pond for fishing, a children's imagination garden, and canoe and kayak access points at the shoreline.
11450 Audubon Ln, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-822-4903
4.The Third Haven Friends Meeting House
© The Third Haven Friends Meeting House
The Third Haven Friends Meeting House is the oldest surviving meeting house connected to the Religious Society of Friends, preserved as a living history museum facility honoring the traditions and cultural practices connected to the Quaker religious history of Talbot County. The house was constructed in 1684 as a gathering place for the religious group and held monthly meetings for centuries for religious members in the area. It still maintains a healthy congregation today, offering worship services each Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. Visitors can also explore the building's historic architecture and view its quaint burial grounds onsite, which are home to nearly 200 graves dating back as far as the 18th century.
405 S Washington St, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-822-0293
5.Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association
© Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association
Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association preserves the rural history and culture of Maryland's Eastern Shore region, showcasing two museums and a collection of restored engines on its 70-acre public facility near the city of Easton. The organization, which was founded in 1973, welcomes the public to its facility at select times throughout the year, including an annual farm show held the weekend following the Fourth of July. Visitors can explore the association's Rural Life Museum, which is structured to recreate a typical turn-of-the-century Eastern Shore farmhouse kitchen and an historic restored general store. The museum's Tuckahoe Machine Shop also serves as a working exhibition where organization volunteers can preserve and demonstrate early line shaft-driven machine tools and antique engines. A collection of antique gas and oil engines dates back to the turn of the century, representing noted manufacturers like Fairbanks-Morse and Atlas.
11472 Ocean Gateway, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-822-9868
6.The Trippe Gallery
© The Trippe Gallery
The Trippe Gallery is a lively gallery and working studio located within the heart of the Harrison Street historic district, originally opened in 2010 by Nanny Trippe. Today, the gallery is known for its presentation of fine art photography, oil and watercolor paintings, and botanical art paintings, which are showcased as part of regular and rotating exhibitions throughout the year. Award-winning artists presented at the gallery space throughout the year include luminaries such as Don Hilderbrandt, Roberta Seger, Meg Walsh, and Lee D'Zmura. Plein Air painters such as Elise Phillips and Len Mizerek are also showcased, along with sculptors like Joan Bennett and John C. North.
23 N Harrison St, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-310-8727
© Troika Gallery
Troika Gallery has been one of Easton's most acclaimed art gallery spaces and dealers since 1997, specializing in fine classical art and portrait commissions and custom framing services. The sophisticated gallery space creates a friendly, warm studio vibe and presents works by more than three dozen professional artists throughout the greater Eastern Shore area throughout the year. Award-winning custom-commissioned portraits showcase various oil, watercolor, and pastel painting techniques, while sculpture and porcelain works celebrate trends in three-dimensional art. Past exhibitions have showcased artists such as Kevin Fitzgerald, Jeanette Le Grue, Kirk McBride, Vladislav Yeliseyev, and Kenn Backhaus.
9 S Harrison St # 1, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-770-9190
8.Portofino Ristorante Italiano
© Portofino Ristorante Italiano
Portofino Ristorante Italiano was opened in 2002 by Italian immigrant Rosario Di Pasquale as the culmination of her three decades of experience in the restaurant industry. The intimate restaurant is known for its five-star sauces and is frequently acclaimed as the best Italian dining experience in Easton, offering indoor and seasonal outdoor patio seating in three separate dining spaces. Top-of-the-line Italian fare served up at lunch and dinner throughout the week includes pesto tortellini, vodka sauce ravioli, and vodka penne with sausage. Italian classics such as four-cheese lasagna are also served, along with favorites like chicken marsala, veal parmigiana, and sole piccata. Diners can split delicious homestyle appetizers with the table, ranging from prosciutto-wrapped scallops to eggplant parmigiana.
4 W Dover St, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-770-9200
© Scossa Restaurant
Scossa Restaurant is a classy Northern Italian restaurant helmed by executive chef Giancarlo Tondin, known for its high-quality elegant entrees served up with fresh, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant specializes in putting new twists on traditional Italian recipes, serving up gourmet fare in a sophisticated dining space with a chic outdoor seasonal terrace. Main dishes served up throughout the week include classics like eggplant parmigiana and veal cannelloni, along with creative fare like sage butter spinach and ricotta ravioli, crispy sweetbreads alla salvia, and shrimp in light curry sauce. The restaurant's Scossa Bar and Lounge serves up a wide variety of top-shelf wines and spirits, perfect for happy hour sipping and socializing.
8 N Washington St, Easton, MD 21601v, Phone: 410-822-2202
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10.Doc's Downtown Grille
© Doc's Downtown Grille
Doc's Downtown Grille is the latest outpost of the popular Doc's Riverside Grille restaurant, originally opened in Centreville by Bo and Dianne Oristian. In 2013, the restaurant opened its Downtown Grille location, named after Bo's father Doc Oristian. Today, it offers three traditional American saloon locations throughout Maryland's Eastern Shore, striving to carve out a niche as the "Cheers" of the Eastern Shore. Delicious nightly dinner specials are served up throughout the week, including Steak Night offerings on Wednesdays. Diners can choose from high-quality American-style favorites like soft-shell crab sandwiches, airline barbecue chicken, seared rockfish in Old Bay tomato sauce, and blackened mahi mahi fish tacos with jalapeno lime aioli. Excellent sandwiches and wraps are also on the menu, along with classic ribeye and tuna steaks and steakhouse entrees like steak frites. Shareables range from Maryland-style favorites like hot crab dip in pull-apart ciabatta bread to seafood nachos topped with crab, shrimp, and bay scallops.
14 N Washington St #3124, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-822-7700
11.The BBQ Joint
© Joshua Resnick/stock.adobe.com
The BBQ Joint is an award-winning barbecue joint in Easton, opened in 2010 by executive chef Andrew Evans. Two years later, the joint was named as one of the nation's top barbecue joints by Food and Wine magazine. Diners can enjoy barbecue platters crafted with all-natural protein sources, free of growth hormones, antibiotics, and other unhealthy filler. Barbecue chicken, slow-smoked sliced beef brisket, and St. Louis spare ribs are available wet or dry on platters, served up alongside delicious hearty pulled pork and chicken sandwiches. Families can also share sampler and junior sampler platters stuffed with selections like sliced beef briskets, barbecue chicken thighs, and homestyle side dishes. Shareables range from loaded tater tots and smokehouse chili cheese fries to redneck nachos topped with nacho cheese, jalapenos, and chipotle cream sauce.
216 E Dover St #201, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-690-3641
© Bas Rouge
Bas Rouge is a lovely contemporary European restaurant helmed by executive chef Harley Peet, known as one of the Eastern Shore's top dining destinations. The restaurant offers refined dining experiences in a lush, sophisticated dining room, serving up traditional Viennese and European classics throughout the week at lunch and dinner. Classic entree offerings are served up with Maryland twists, including options like wienerschnitzel with lingonberries and jumbo lump crab cake spätzle. Guéridon service is offered at dinner on antique tableside silver trolleys, creating a classic continental dining experience. A world-class wine program is cultivated by beverage director Thad Hoy, highlighting hard-to-find cult wines.
19 Federal St, Easton, MD 21601, Phone: 410-822-1637
12 Best Things to Do in Easton, MD
- The Avalon Theatre, Photo: lapandr/stock.adobe.com
- The Academy Art Museum, Photo: The Academy Art Museum
- Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Photo: Pickering Creek Audubon Center
- The Third Haven Friends Meeting House, Photo: The Third Haven Friends Meeting House
- Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association, Photo: Tuckahoe Steam and Gas Association
- The Trippe Gallery, Photo: The Trippe Gallery
- Troika Gallery, Photo: Troika Gallery
- Portofino Ristorante Italiano, Photo: Portofino Ristorante Italiano
- Scossa Restaurant, Photo: Scossa Restaurant
- Doc's Downtown Grille, Photo: Doc's Downtown Grille
- The BBQ Joint, Photo: Joshua Resnick/stock.adobe.com
- Bas Rouge, Photo: Bas Rouge
- Cover Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com