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Visiting the Village of Chesapeake Country

This week’s virtual tour will help you appreciate all we are

 

 

 

Unless your viewing technology has advanced beyond television, you know all about how friendly local visitors opening their arms, shops and cultures for happy travelers on riverboat cruises. Whether it’s all too good to be true is not today’s point (though I am curious). This week Bay Weekly invites you to tour equivalent of Chesapeake Country.

Yes, ours is a virtual tour — in one sense of the word. But at the same time it’s literal, as you’re likely to tour via the printed page rather than computer — though either medium will take you there. Either way, what I mean is that you’ll get the inside scoop, though, alas, not the riverboat or its amenities. 

Instead, you’ll travel on the ever-magic carpet of reading into the business district of the small-town Chesapeake village of Bay Weekly partners. Chesapeake Country is not Corfu, Greece; Bergen, Norway; Beri, Italy; or the towns and villages you remember from way back, where color, life and shops full of more than you could imagine crowd together in a package of excitement.

Chesapeake Country’s history endures in our pattern of settlement, remembering plantations that were fiefdoms in themselves, linked less to one another than to the rivers and Bay, where commerce streamed. We remain a mostly sprawled-out experience, with most shops and services their own little entities, others linked in twos and threes or little shopping centers. 

So you can visit this village only in Bay Weekly pages. 

Every week, advertising partners come together in our pages. But this week is different. Most weeks of the year, they appear in advertisements, which draw your attention like billboards, flashing their name and, typically, timely specials on offer. This week, the people behind 60-plus of those shops and services stand in their doorways and invite you in.

It’s as if they’ve taken on the roles of those Corfu bakers, Beri baristas and Bergen fishmongers. Come in, they say, and let us tell you about what we do and who we are. 

Most, you’ll learn, got into their business because it’s what they do best or love most. 

In the words of Bobby Jones, inventor and proprietor of two Chesapeake Country restaurants, The Point in Severna Park and Ketch-22 in North Beach-Rose Haven says, “I love this business, love making good food and being around great people.” 

Many are tied to their work by a family story. Thus Teresa Schrodel and brother Frank Radosevic grew up helping their father William and mother Annamaria in the art businesses that evolved into Medart Gallery in Dunkirk.

That’s also the case of the Tice family of En-Tice-Ment Farm, who continue a five-generation tradition of farming, adapting generation by generation to change and culture. 

It’s true, too, that Dan Mallonee of Bay Country Crabbing, learned his trade as a boy from his grandfather.  

Others, like Jones, figured out what they could do best. For Cynthia McBride of Main Street Gallery in Annapolis and Benfield Gallery in Severna Park, that was an art-based business that could move with her husband’s career. 

And you won’t be surprised to learn that Steven Graham of Independent Tree Care loves trees. 

Among the entrepreneurs you’ll meet are successes in other fields who reached out to see what they could do in a whole new environment. The Gregories, Jack, wife Dee and daughter Cassie, stretched from all the way from plumbing, CSA Plumbing in Calvert County, to dairy-free soft serve in opening Jango’s Frozen Treats in the real Chesapeake Country town of North Beach. 

Some of the people you’ll meet in the village of our business guide are old timers. Smyth Jewelers dates back to 1914, Essex Bank to 1920, Bowen’s Grocery to 1929 and Happy Harbor to 1933.

Two, Jesse Ramirez and Jayleen Fonseca, opened their restaurant, Jesse Jays in West River this year. 

We’ve listed them all from oldest to newest so you can enjoy, as we have, this history lesson in miniature. Our own small business, Bay Weekly, founded in 1993, has passed a quarter century.

Meeting all these business owners on their own terms, you’ll be impressed, perhaps awed, by their entrepreneurial imagination and daring. You’ll be rooting for them to keep right on. You’ll be forming ties that make shopping locally a commitment rather than a slogan. 

When we get to know one another, we appreciate our community as much as all those seemingly ideal places to which we travel.

Read on …

 

Sandra Olivetti Martin

Editor and publisher

[email protected], www.sandraolivettimartin.com