Best Things To Do In Berlin, Maryland, One of America's Coolest Small Towns
Located just a 15-minute drive from Assateague Island and Ocean City on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Berlin, Maryland, had the honor of winning last year's coveted “America’s Coolest Small Town" title. I had such a great time visiting this summer and couldn't wait to share this video from my trip with all of you!
If you're planning to visit and see it for yourself this summer, here are five ways to make the most of your trip to this artsy, quaint, and historic part of the east coast.
Get to know the locals
Learning about a place from the people who live there is the best way to truly get a sense of that destination. Whether you speak to someone in a store or restaurant for travel advice or chat up the locals on a bench, you’re sure to learn something new.
Never skimp on desserts
Berlin has a town dessert that you don’t want to miss: the peach dumpling. The are was once home to one of the largest peach orchards in the country, and this dessert certainly pays tribute to those roots. Stop by Baked Dessert Café to get a sugar rush from this sweet treat that consists of peach slices sautéed in butter, brown sugar, and spices encased in a buttery puff pastry. The best part: It’s topped with homemade caramel sauce. Yum!
Embrace your artsy side
From galleries to glass blowing, there are plenty of great ways to get artsy in Berlin. Make a plan to meet Jeffrey Auxer and learn the art of glass blowing at his studio and gallery just off Main Street. Whether you create an ornament or your own special home décor souvenir, you’ll have a keepsake with true meaning and the knowledge that you challenged yourself (or your kids) to learn something new.
Head to the local watering hole
Pay a visit to Burley Oak Brewery, a sustainable brewery that guests can tour. Sip on inventive brews like the Dirty Blonde—a Belgian inspired ale made with yeast from a Trappist Monastery—the Tart Attack, or Hand Made Root Beer in the lively taproom. Plus, the beer tastes better when you know that just by drinking it, you’re supporting local farmers and small businesses, so give yourself a pat on the back as you toast Berlin.
Window shop on Main Street
Did you know the 1999 movie “Runaway Bride” with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere was filmed along Berlin’s charming Main Street? Take a stroll down the main drag to look for antiques, unique gift items, or just window shop and soak in this small town’s ambience.
Looking for more things to do around the Berlin area? Ocean City is just a 15-minute drive away.
Also within a 15-minute drive of Berlin is scenic Assateague Island, a great place to spend the day or take the family on good old fashioned camping trip.
Of course, no camping trip is complete with out s'mores. Here's how to make them perfectly.
The world's best airports
The word airport can prompt all kinds of reactions: horror at the thought of using the airport bathroom, anger at the gate change that caused you to miss your connection, and on occasion, even joy at having a smooth, stress-free experience. Earlier this year, The World Airport Awards were announced, aiming to recognize the best airports. For the seventh year in a row, Hong Kong was named the World’s Best Airport. Munich was named Europe’s winner, while San Francisco came in first in North America. Singapore’s airport won top ranks in the categories of best duty free shopping, best airport dining and best leisure amenities. But Skytrax's survey wasn't the perfect one for discovering the opinions of American budget travelers. The awards are given every year by the British aviation research group Skytrax. They're based on surveys of more than 8.2 million passengers worldwide. Airlines are rated for terminal cleanliness, staff efficiency, security processing, walking distances, and features like shopping and dining. But the survey is disproportionately filled out by business travelers, which might skew the results somewhat. At This Just In, we’ve asked you about your favorite airports before, and more than 50 of you responded. So I thought it may be interesting to compare what you said with the survey results. There were a few favorite airports that appeared in both the survey results and in your own comments, like Singapore and Munich. And then there were also some of our hometown airports that offer a sense of place and distinct character. Here are a few of your favorites: Sarasota-Bradenton: "The water walls, plants, and aquariums add much class and make it so unlike an airport. No endless shuttles here — just sun and palms." Minneapolis-Saint Paul: "In addition to being a pleasant airport, you can catch an inexpensive light rail train right at the airport. In one direction is a beautiful park and the other is the Mall of America." Singapore: "It has indoor gardens, a free movie theater with comfortable seats, a barber shop, a hotel, scores of shops and 300 free internet kiosks." Munich: "Clean, modern, open, easy connections to rail, well-marked and friendly staff." Portland, Ore.: "You know that you are in the Pacific Northwest as you walk around. Large floor to ceiling windows look out towards the Willamette River and woodsy scenery. Also, there is a playroom for kids where they can crawl and play on a huge airplane."
A/C comes to the London Underground
Some trains on London's Underground will soon be cooling off a bit as the Tube adds new, air-conditioned trains to its lines. The new models, unfortunately, are too large to fit some of the deeper routes, so blessed A/C is coming to only about 40 percent of the total network. In a separate chilling initiative, London is looking into using underground rivers and other water sources that may help cool the air in overheated stations — this method is already being used at Victoria Station.
Going Beyond The Beach In Grenada
In the Caribbean, clear turquoise water and soft white sand are a dime a dozen. The sensory appeal of Grenada's magnificent beaches is undeniable, but savvy visitors venture beyond the sun, sand, and sea. This compact island pleases with a trifecta of adventure, activities, and nature. The best part: its manageable size makes it easy to cover a lot of ground in a short time frame. Nicknamed the Spice Island, locally grown nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon gently perfume the sea air. Island cooks utilize these aromatics in scrumptious ways, so prepare your palate for culinary magic. The tourist footprint is relatively light, so expect to be embraced by locals. Ripe for development, now is the time to explore Grenada's unspoiled flora and fauna. Here are 10 ways to go beyond the beach in Grenada. Explore Grand Etang National Park and Rainforest Preserve Nestled in the heart of Grenada's lush interior lies Grand Etang, an unblemished rainforest and wildlife sanctuary. A cobalt blue lake is its sparkling showpiece. Be on the lookout for exotic birds and playful Mona monkeys as you hike the winding trails. Try a guided tubing tour down the river Grenada Adventure Tours offers thrill-seekers tubing excursions down the Balthazar River. Spin, swirl, and slide as the current carries you along. The shady vegetation and cool water are just right on a steamy day, plus, you'll be outfitted with a life jacket, helmet, and professional guide the entire length of the trip. Check out the Belmont Estate Belmont Estate is a locavore's wonderland. Visitors to this 300-year-old plantation get a first-hand glimpse of how passionate Grenadians are about preserving their traditional agricultural practices. 400 acres of gardens and rolling hills produce a bounty of tropical fruits and organic vegetables. A herd of goats provide milk for the cheeses that are served in the open-air restaurant. Chocolate is produced on the estate, so you'll commune with Willy Wonka as you observe the bean-to-bar method. Go behind the scenes at a rum distillery River Antoine Rum Distillery is the oldest functioning water-propelled distillery in the entire Caribbean and the rum is made in much the same manner that it was 200 years ago. Watch the process and sample away. You may purchase the potent spirit in the shop, but note that much of it has such high alcohol content that it's considered too flammable to bring home on the plane. Visit a nutmeg factory It's not called the spice island for nothing. An assortment of fragrant spices flourish here, but none is more globally prized than nutmeg. At the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station, visitors join an informative tour, observing the various stages of the grading and classification process. Best of all, the tour only costs a buck. Don't forget fish Friday Each Friday night, the village of Gouyave is transformed into an open-air eatery that draws islanders and visitors alike to its famed Fish Friday where dozens of vendors cook just-caught seafood over open fires. Homegrown spices add gentle complexity to even ordinary dishes. Epicureans who crave the taste of the sea combined with authentic local color won't want to miss a single bite. Spend time exploring Market Square Everyone needs to eat to live, but Grenada appeals to those who live to eat. St. George is the bustling capital city and its market is a feast for the senses. They say that anything can grow in Grenada's rich volcanic soil and a stroll around the market confirms this. Papaya, mango, breadfruit, and leafy green callaloo are top produce picks. The assortment of spices is outstanding and the intoxicating smells may put your taste buds into overdrive. Go back in time at the island's historic Forts Grenada's complex history has seen its share of bloodshed and includes a U.S. military invasion in the 1980s. While it is extremely safe today, its strategic location means it is loaded with venerable military fortifications and visiting one of them is an essential element in understanding the island's past. Hilltop Fort Frederick commands a panoramic view while imposing Fort George is equally stately. Visit the world's first underwater sculpture park If the natural splendor of a coral reef isn't enough for you, grab your snorkel mask and head to Grenada's Underwater Sculpture Park. Sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor's artistic gem explores the relationship between art and the environment. This manmade wonder is located in fairly shallow waters, so even novices can sneak a peak. See wonderful waterfalls There are many spots to refresh under the cascade of cool water. Popular waterfalls include three-tiered Concord Falls and Annandale Falls, easy to reach via paved trail. Where to stay Sandals La Source is an all-inclusive resort located on stunning Pink Gin Beach. It's a two-minute ride from the airport, so you can be on the beach within minutes of clearing customs. Besides locally inspired cuisine and top-shelf alcohol, all non-motorized water sports are included in your rate—divers will appreciate this policy, as Grenada is every bit as breathtaking below the water as above it. Experts consider it one of the top wreck dive sites in the world with over 20 shipwrecks. Best times to visit Grenadians know how to party, or "lime" in local speak so try and plan your visit to coincide with one of the island's numerous festivals. The premier event is Carnival aka Spicemas, held each August. In the spring, Chocolate Fest pays homage to this country's favorite confection. If you're lucky enough to visit in winter, get better acquainted with this country's seafaring traditions during the Grenada Sailing Festival. This article was written by Allison Tibaldi, a native New Yorker who has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Toronto, and Los Angeles. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish and laughably adequate in French. When she's not traveling, she's scouring NYC for delectable eats. As a freelance travel writer, she focuses on family, culinary, and car-free travel. She's also a senior travel writer at offMetro.com.
Rating cities by their effect on the environment
For the first time in history, more than half the world’s population now lives in cities. This accelerating urbanization raises serious concerns about how cities will thrive and accommodate newcomers’ needs. (Consider that by 2015, there will be 23 mega-cities of more than 10 million people, according to the U.N.) Researchers at SustainLane, a community devoted to sustainable living, began evaluating U.S. cities back in 2005 to determine which are best prepared to meet such 21st-century challenges—and which policies are most effective. This year, Portland, Ore., again ranks as the greenest of the 50 largest U.S. cities (determined by 2004 census data). Atlanta gets a most-improved nod for jumping up to #19 from #38 in 2006, thanks primarily to a boom in LEED-certified buildings. It’s encouraging to note that the median and average scores of all 50 cities have increased over the past three years. How do other cities rank and why? SustainLane’s methodology takes into account air and water quality, parks, public transportation networks, green building, renewable and alternative energy, and farmers markets. The 2008 rankings say a lot about a given city’s quality of life and reveal some national trends: more cycling (Portland, New York City, D.C., Minneapolis); revitalized downtowns (Columbus, Philadelphia); investment in public transportation (Phoenix, Charlotte, Seattle); growth of wind and solar energy production (San Francisco, Houston, Sacramento); and more community groups (Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago.) SustainLane’s results will be showcased at the first global Sustainable Cities and Communities conference held this week in Geneva, Switzerland. In other news, Japan has begun using the organization’s methodology to rank its own cities; SustainLane hopes more copycats will follow. 15 greenest U.S. cities: 1 Portland 2 San Francisco 3 Seattle 4 Chicago 5 New York 6 Boston 7 Minneapolis 8 Philadelphia 9 Oakland 10 Baltimore 11 Denver 12 Milwaukee 13 Austin 14 Sacramento 15 Washington