Steeped in history, Kent County retains its colonial charm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Enter through Queen Anne's County by turning from 301 or Rt. 50 north across the new over pass to Rt. 313. It offers a serene retreat far from the hustle bustle on a peninsula. Its rolling farmland and many creeks afford a pleasant oasis. The sweeping panorama of the Chesapeake Bay is on the West, the Sassafras River on the North and the Chester River on the South.
Chestertown, founded in 1706 as a port of entry, beckons the visitor with its brick sidewalks, Georgian, Federal and Victorian homes and unique shops. The quaint town is home to Washington College, the 10th oldest Liberal Arts College in the United States and the only one to which Washington gave official permission to use his name. He often dined at Worell's Tavern and its building still stands today.
Rock Hall, "Pearl of the Chesapeake," is a working watermen's town, a popular destination for pleasure boaters and has spectacular views of the Bay. Twenty miles from Chestertown on Rt. 20, it was originally known as Rock Hall Crossroads, established in 1707. Many believe that this collection of homes dates further back in history. East Neck Island and New Yarmouth were the locations of the earliest settlement in Kent County. The courthouse was located at New Yarmouth and later moved to what is now Chestertown in 1697. Washington, Madison and Jefferson traveled through Rock Hall often. It was an important port for packets bringing people from the South and Western Shore to inland routes headed north to Philadelphia and New York. Water routes were often the safest. For over 300 years locals have earned their living from the water, which is still pleasurable for fishermen and boaters also. The town Museum in the Municipal building and the Waterman's Museum offer a closer historical view.
Nature lovers enjoy the abundance of wild life on East Neck Island. Another refuge, Remington Farms, draws naturalists. Remington Day in September is an event featuring wildlife. Rock Hall's "Ferry Park" affords some of the most splendid sunsets in the area. Historic inns can be found throughout the county as well as opportunities to enjoy local cuisine from casual watefront dining to elegant restaurants. Antique shops can be discovered in small country towns such as Galena and Georgetown as well as in Chestertown. The natural landscape and wildlife refuges provide excellent opportunities for ecotouring and there are well equipped charter and guide services available. Come and enjoy the gracious hospitality of Kent County.
Bay Breeze Inn
Bay Breeze Inn
The Bay Breeze Inn, a refreshing change from many B & Bs, offers an open patterned first floor plan. One can see the lovely back gardens through the dining room window. An attractive living area with chaise lounge and sofa is on the right of the front door beside comfortable chairs near a fireplace. An antique table with claw and ball feet stands by the door, where twin grey- hounds often greet guests. A pen for your pet is in the rear English garden. Decks on each floor overlook its gold fish pond near patio tables for sunlit breakfasts or evening libations.
The owner, a professor, bakes fat-free muffins for the breakfasts which also include include fresh fruit, juice, coffee and tea.
A third floor suite for families and couples has a private entrance and deck. Crowned by skylights, it contains a double bed and two singles with artistic quilts. Five of these enhance beds throughout the inn and the baths boast antique tubs with gold claw and ball feet and gold fixtures. One guest room features the free-hand garland artistry of inn keeper, Liese Marshall. It has twin beds, while other rooms offer queen size beds.
The Bay Breeze Inn offers kayaks to rent.
INNKEEPERS: James Gillin and Liese Marshall. Well behaved pets and children are allowed. ROOMS: 5. MEALS Gourmet breakfasts and snacks. NEAR boating, fishing birding biking, America's Cup Cafe, Talula Bankheads home town, 5 restaurants. Phone: (410) 639-2061
Bay Breeze Inn
The Hynson-Ringgold House at 106 Water Street is named for Nathaniel Hynson, Jr., early owner of the lot and Thomas Ringgold, Jr., a wealthy merchant and lawyer. Ringgold purchased the house from Dr. William Murray, who had constructed the front portion in the early 1740s. The Ringgolds built the remainder of the structure in the late 1760s, tripling the original size and had the magnificent mahogany antler stair built as the northeast side was remodeled. One of the remodeled rooms is installed in the Baltimore Museum of Art. The cipher, "WB1770," found on the back of the paneling was attributed then to William Buckland. Greek Revival details were added in the ante-bellum period by U.S. Senator James Alfred Pearce. The portraits of family members who have lived there decorate the walls.
The house is on the National Register and has been the home of the presidents of Washington College since the late 1940s. Several years ago, the brick-walled yard and garden were refurbished through efforts of Mrs. Karl Miller and the late Mr. Miller with help from local citizens. President and Mrs. John S. Toll now reside in this private home.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic W.T. Rhinelander is near River House at 103 N. Water Street. Mr. Rhinelander's great grandfather was one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some of the furniture pieces such as a splendid walnut table were made by Mr. Rhinelander and many antiques are from the family. The present house is particularly interesting because of the changes which it underwent as it passed through the hands of subsequent owners.
Thomas Anderson, a merchant, bought water lots 15, 14 and part of 13 in 1795 on which he built a one-room deep, 2-1/2 story brick house laid in Flemish bond with an "A" roof. In 1876, John Aldridge altered the original roof line to incorporate a full third floor. He added a two story kitchen wing and replaced the original porch with a two-story porch, typical of Chestertown, on the river side. The Water Street windows were enhanced by decorative cornices and the entrance portico and two story, oriole bow window on the south side (which once housed an elevator) were added.
The lovely garden wall features sculpture of cherubs embracing and overlooks a fine view of the Chester River. This is a private home.
The nearby Wickes House at 102 High Street is named for a family associated with the Eastern Shore since before the Revolution. The five bays, gabled roof main house was built circa 1767 for the Wallis family. The Wickes family owned this large Georgian house from 1831 until 1943. Ezekial F. Chambers, U.S. Senator, resided here in the early 19th century. The 15 fireplaces, most mantels, moldings and floors are original. The molded water table is set in Flemish bond. Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Hall Johnstone now own the house, which they lovingly restored.. Mrs. Johnstone was from St. Mary's County and her family owned the Porto Bella Mansion. She has furnished the house with treasured family pieces, such as the corner chairs in the parlor left of the foyer. These were made to accommodate men wearing swords. One large painting is of a Spanish artist in his atelier and was the lead piece in an exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The gardens and house are private.
Airy Hill near Chestertown is situated on part of a land grant made to Simon Wilmer in 1688. Wilmer was a member of the state legislature and was elected to the first vestry of Old St. Paul's Church. The original house, consisting of the present kitchen wing was built circa 1790 when John and Anna Maria Rowles owned the land. Mary Thomas, buried at Airy Hill alongside her husband, George, grew up at the famous River House in downtown Chestertown, which she inherited from her father, a professor of law at Washington College in 1801. Airy Hill was their summer house. It is also connected with the Wickes House, in downtown Chestertown. Judge Joseph A. Wickes, a prominent attorney and judge of the Circuit Court, owned both properties from 1864 to 1915. Dr. Berna, a physician, owns the house with her husband, who has written a book about it. Notable features include the old kitchen, once a blacksmith's shop with an iron fireback bearing the date 1769, the "Wall of Troy" pediment above the front door, a bathroom once used as a birthing room and a bedroom that was the "hoop skirt room." This is a private home owned by Mr. and Mrs. James Berna.
The Geddes-Piper House at 101 Church Alley is the home of the Kent County Historical Society. The 3-1/2 story brick townhouse was built in the 1770s by William Geddes, customs collector of the Port of Chestertown. He sold it to James Piper, a merchant, soon afterward. The building was enlarged and completed in the 1830s by George B. Westcott. It remained in the family until 1914. The back portion was added in the 1830s.
In the living room is a beautifully restored desk from 1770, an heirloom of the Wescotts. A portrait of Rebecca Brown Ringgold, wife of Thomas Jefferson Ringgold hangs in the back parlor. Samuel Ringgold's portrait hangs in the front parlor, and a lithograph of his death in the Mexican war is nearby. Another portrait is of Senator George Vickers, who cast the deciding vote against Andrew Johnson's impeachment. His home was at the site of the Lauretum Inn, presently on High Street. Swords in the dining room belong to George Vickers and his son.
Upstairs in one room, depicting the 1800s, is a child's riding habit, a Windsor chair from the 1700s, a Wescott family piece and a copper bracelet from Paris. In a front bedroom the wedding dress of Sophia Ringgold illustrates how petite women were in those times. She married Nathaniel Hynson and lived nearby in the Hynson-Ringgold house, described above. In the hallway is a 1907 view of Chestertown. An 1860 map of Kent County hangs in the lower hall.
The Geddes Piper House is open to the public on weekends and Mondays and Wednesdays from 9am-3pm from May - October and by appointment. The Candlelight tour of Chestertown in September always features the house. For information call 410-778-3499.
Haven Harbour Inn
Conveniently located within short (5 min) walking distance of the main town of Rock Hall and adjacent to the resort amenities of Haven Harbour Marina, the Inn at Haven Harbour exudes the ambient charm of a boater's paradise.The Inn, consisting of 5 buildings, 19 guest rooms/suites and a full-house rental, offers a soothing retreat for those cruising on the Bay, exploring the Eastern Shore, enjoying the charm of Rock Hall or touring historic Kent County. Guests of the Inn at Haven Harbour enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast daily, as well as access to all the amenities of Haven Harbour Marina.
Our Manor House and Cottage buildings, with their panoramic views of Swan Creek, are the ideal setting for a waterfront wedding or event.Consider booking one (or all) of the Inn at Haven Harbour buildings for your family reunion, yoga retreat, rehearsal dinner, hunting trip, girls or guys weekend getaway or holiday party. No matter what type of event your planning, the Inn at Haven Harbour with its multiple buildings offering a variety of room/space options and privacy, resort amenities, waterfront spaces and tranquil setting is sure to provide a venue just perfect for your memorable stay or event!
The Inn Manager, Dottie Wetmore, is available to answer all your questions and/or help with your reservation. Call today at 410-778-6697.Dottie Wetmore Chief Financial Officer Inn Manager
Haven Harbour Marina Haven Harbour South Inn at Haven Harbour 20880 Rock Hall Avenue Rock Hall, MD 21661 (410) 778-6697www.havenharbour.com
INNKEEPERS: ADDRESS: 20828 Rock Hall Avenue, Rock Hall, Maryland, 21661. email@HavenHarbour.com PHONE 410 778-6697. ROOMS: five, three with private baths. CHILDREN: Over five. PETS: No. MEALS: Kitchen for coffee and refrigerating food. RESTAURANT for fine dining. NEARBY: Gift, clothing and antique shops, kayaking, sailing, swimming. croquet, shuffleboard.
Haven Harbour Inn
Running Fox - Kent. Co.
Running Fox, circa 1857, is a handsome 213 acre estate, surrounded by picturesque fields, woodlands and a quiet pond attracting native wildlife The simple and stately mansion with its old smoke house, widow's walk and barn offers serenity and the integrity of Federal design. Benjamin F. Beck, Sr. purchased the Middle Plantation from John Claypoole in 1846. Local tradition states that the house was built for Benjamin, Jr. by his father upon his marriage,
The house is three bays long and two rooms deep, covered with a low pitched hip roof with chimneys on the side walls and a windowless modillion cornice on the roof. Inside are double parlors and a dining room with secondary passage behind the pantry to the kitchen which has been newly remodeled with modern appliances. It looks into a family style dining room with an enchanting country motif. The inscription: "Rachel Lusby" is carved into one window sill, as was the custom in those times. A den with curving sofas, wood stove, bolted closet, original beams and paneling is a few steep steps down from the hallway where a splendid hunt board stands.
Upstairs, a boy's room with striped wallpaper and rustic striped quilt is complemented by a girl's room with satin comforter and pillows in spring green and soft pink. These rooms share a bath and both look out on spectacular views down to the water. Three more rooms, originally servants' quarters, have twin and queen beds and also share a bath. A back staircase and elevator add convenience here. In the knotty pine attic, extending the length of the house is space and peace with a king bed, desk and plenty of room for families.
Runnning Fox is ideal for romantic getaways, retreats or country weddings.
INNKEEPER: Natalie Turner. ADDRESS: 800 High Street, Chestertown, MD. 21620. PHONE: 410 810-7591. ROOMS 4/sleeps 9 with 3 queen and 3 twin beds. BATHS:2.5. Linens provided. Newly remodeled kitchen, dining room, sitting room, den. laundry closet. Hairdryers, irons, central A/C, Satellite TV: NEARBY: Walking, hunting, fishing, drives into Chestertown for shopping, dining and historic events.Running Fox
Kent County : Spring Cove Manor
Spring Cove Manor
Far from the hustle bustle of towns and cities in Kent County is a new inn, restored from a historic home circa 1890. On eight acres by the waterside not far from the fishing village of Rock Hall, this manor house is picture perfect and a real adventure get away. Feel like kayaking? It's owned by the proprietor of Chesapeake Kayaking Adventures, who can introduce you to hundreds of miles of Kayaking on the Chester River.
Sit back, afterward, and relax in a wicker rocker on the porch and enjoy afternoon tea before retiring to one of the five renovated rooms. Miss Eleanor's Room, for example, is graced by a cozy fireplace and French doors, leading to the porch. The Orchard Suite in the Cove Cottage offers a queen bed and day bed for families.
In the main house, polished dark panelling sets off the sunny, spacious common rooms, and all is centrally air conditioned.
Wedding party packages are available with reservations, made well in advance, for up to six rooms with use of the grounds for rehearsal, ceremony and reception.
Innkeepers: Jim and Liese. Address:12060 Cove Spring Rd. Rock Hall, Md. Phone: 410 639 2061. Rooms: 5 in the house and a suite in Cove Cottage. Meals: Country breakfast. Pets: yes. Nearby: Kayaking, fishing, hunting shopping, restaurants.
Spring Cove Manor Website Water accessable
Great Oak Manor
Great Oak Manor
Great Oak Manor, eight miles south of Chestertown, was part of a land grant from Lord Baltimore in the 1600's. The current manor house was built in 1938 by an heir to the W.R. Grace shipping fortune named Russell D'Oenche. He had the house created as his family's private residence. Two years into its building, the architect, Douglas Braik, was awarded an Excellence in Architecture Award for creating Great Oak Manor's 18th century Georgian detail. Russell D'oench sold the manor to Frank Russell in 1946, who made it into a resort for the power elite of Washington, D.C. Thus, the original residence with 26 rooms, nine fireplaces and eight baths became a sporting club with 12 guest rooms, all with original fire- places. The spectacular Foyer, graced by an elegant curving staircase, two large parlors and luxurious dining room makes this a perfect wedding venue. A spacious art gallery-conservatory lends itself to dancing.
The D'Oench Room is named after the original owners who just visited after the remodeling in 2008. The wickes Room has a lovely nautical motif with a ship engraving on the fireplace and crisp Blue and white hues, complimented by a red Oriental carpet and a newly remodeled bath with modern fixtures. The Caulk Room, in verdant, spring green tones is graced by an antique armoire and rose accents, while the Tilden Room is more exotic with a mural tapestry near the handsome bed. The Marmaduke Master Suite is perfect for newly weds with its connecting sitting room. The Roese Suite is named for the owner's family and has a green and red motif with Rose panels and cushions, a waterfowl scene over the fireplace and lovely cream colored drapes in the newly remodeled bath. Downstairs is the cheerful Sterling Suite with a semi-handicap garden entrance, framed by drapes in a sunny French Pineapples print plus a newly remodeled bath and sitting room with comfortable pull out sofa. This suite is fine for hunters or families as a powder room across the hall may be employed by guests in the sitting room. All in all, Great Oak Manor is a dream come true inn for all seasons and reasons.
INNKEEPER: Holly, ADDRESS: 10568 Cliff Road, Chestertown, MD 21620, PHONE: 1-800 504-3098. ROOMS: 12, all with private baths and fireplaces. Meals: Gourmet breakfasts and special parties. Nearby: Hunting, fishing, boating, no free golf but Chester River Yacht Club golf priveleges for $30. Children: Over 13 years of age.
Link to Great Oak Manor Website
Inn at Mitchell House.
Inn at Mitchell House
The Inn at Mitchell House, rated among the top ten of ten thousand by America's Historic Inns, Inc., has an interesting history. During the War of 1812, the Kent Co. militia under the command of Lt. Col. Philip A. Reed marched on Belle Air, now Fairlee, near Rock Hall. On August 31, 1814, the British were repulsed. Their commander, Sir Peter Parker was mortally wounded and brought to the Mitchell House. after he died there, his body was shipped back to his native England, preserved in a barrel of rum.
Some of the rooms are named after the battle's important commanders. The Col. Phillip Reed room has a fireplace, Queen bed and private bath, while the Sir Peter Parker room boasts both a Queen bed, Queen sofa and fireplace and has a black and white motif. The Joseph T. Mitchell Room also has a queen size sleeper sofa and lovely lace canopy. It can be combined with the Martha Hynson small room which has a double bed. The Doctor William Ringold Suite offers a bedroom with sitting area, queen bed and fireplace, while the Alton Marshall third floor room has a king bed and private bath.
In 1907, the owners, Jim and Tracy Stone, built a quest cottage, called the Stone's Throw just that close to the house. A one bath cottage, it affords a full kitchen, great room, gas fireplace, private deck and pull out couch for families. The Stone's throw is also perfect for honeymooners who enjoy weddings on the sweeping lawns, overlooking Stoneybrook pond, woods and luxuriant fields surrounding this most gracious inn.
INNKEEPERS: Tracy and Jim Stone. ADDRESS: 8796 Maryland Parkway, Chestertown, Md. 21620. PHONE: 410 778-6500. ROOMS: six plus private cottage. MEALS: Full country breakfast. CHILDREN: well mannered and quiet ones. PETS: no. NEARBY: Eastern Wildlife Refuge, Adkins Arboretum, boat charters, kayaking, sporting clays, hiking, fishing, hunting.
Web page: WWW.InnatMitchellHouse.com
White Swan Tavern - Kent CountyWhite Swan Tavern
The White Swan Tavern at 231 High Street in Historic Chester town was built in 1730. This precisely restored inn, the epitome of a colonial tavern of Maryland, is a brick two story building with pillared front porch. The original door with authentic graining opens to a center hallway, leading to a foyer which gives out on lovely gardens and a patio for breakfast and tea. The gourmet Continental breakfast includes freshly baked pastries, hard boiled eggs, juices and a fruit basket.
To the right as one enters is a dining room with tables for games or teas served from 3-5pm daily. It has a Celia series of colonial cartoon prints and Windsor chairs. A powder horn and Flintlock pistol hang over the mantel. To the left of the entrance is a parlor with a secretary desk which is a reproduction by Evans of one in Colonial Williamsburg. The grandfather clock on the front wall, made in 1740 by Joseph Medley, bears that information inside an ornately carved and painted door with an Oriental design. This room is often used for private parties and its window seats lend themselves to such functions.
Walking down the central hallway further, we find a gracious sitting room on the left in vivid hues of aqua and yellow. This makes a cheerful motif for reading, chatting or watching T.V. The bright aqua molding and mantel are original to the building. Guests often sip complementary wine in this parlor before dining out. Working fireplaces in these rooms provide a cozy atmosphere in inclement weather and highlights of an archeological dig on the property are displayed in glass cases.
Four elegant guest rooms upstairs and two suites all have private baths.and an ample parking lot is behind this impeccable AAA 3 diamond inn which is on the Select Registry.
INNKEEPER: Mary Susan Maisel. ADDRESS 231 High St., Chestertown. PHONE: 410 778-2300.FAX 110 778-4543. MEALS Gourmet Continental breakfast and dessert teas. NEARBY:Galleries, bird watching, fishing, hunting, restaurants, shops.