Thursday, May 28, 2009

A little slice of heaven: Chestertown, Maryland

Over the Bay Bridge from Annapolis, up highway 213, nestled on the bank of the Chester River sits a little slice of heaven on the Eastern Shore known as Chestertown, Maryland. At least that’s how the locals describe it. After a half-dozen visits to the picturesque community of about 4,500 people, I’m beginning to see their point.

Chestertown was founded during early colonial America and still retains the feel and look of a quaint Mid-Atlantic hamlet. The Chester River is not only the town’s name-sake, it’s also the town’s identity. Chestertown’s most famous resident, the Schooner Sultana, is a reproduction of a colonial British sailing ship and spends its days cruising up and down the Chester River. The Sultana is prominently featured in Chestertown’s biggest event of the year, the Chestertown Tea Party. The Tea Party, held every Memorial Day, attracts thousands of visitors to Chestertown for colonial music and dance, food, crafts, and the joyous overboard heaving of several colonial tax collectors during a re-enactment of the original “tea party.”

Chestertown also has a rich history of community. It’s a close-knit town of life-long residents and new arrivals coexisting to create peaceful, prosperous lives for themselves and their families. The town famously fought against Walmart—and won—to keep their unique businesses and small-town feel. It’s also home to Washington College and its 1,200+ students from all over the world. It’s a destination town that draws visitors and émigrés in, and makes it difficult for them to want to leave.

And it’s also the perfect setting for the first program in MPT's “Our Town” series and our exploration into what makes a community.

Please stay tuned to The Buzz in upcoming weeks to meet some of the proud Chestertown residents that have decided to grab a camcorder and help MPT create “Our Town: Chestertown.”

Peter Shea
Associate Producer for On-Air Fundraising

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