The Best of Bay Weekly

By Meg Walburn Viviano 

Here it is! Our final issue of 2020. I can’t say there will be any love lost when we delete that year from the front page. 

The Best of the Bay edition is an annual Bay Weekly tradition celebrating the people, places and things in Chesapeake Country that stood out over the past year. The winners are voted in by the experts, our readers, of course—who knows the region better than you?  

It is true that some people may find it easier to think of the worst things in 2020 than the best things. However, we at CBM Bay Weekly feel there is still a lot to celebrate, namely the incredible efforts put forth by regular people to help their neighbors.  

Back in March, Bay Weekly was reeling from the rapid onset of the pandemic, the shift to a remote office, and the sudden closures of many of our advertisers and distribution partners. On one of our first Zoom calls, we made a commitment to pour all our efforts into telling the positive stories that were beginning to emerge—accounts of generous and inventive people making a measurable difference. And we didn’t have to look too hard for them. Here are a few of my favorites. 

On the Front Lines 

MAY 7: In honor of Mother’s Day 2020, we put a spotlight on moms (and daughters) bravely caring for patients when hospital capacity and PPE had not yet caught up with the onslaught of COVID-19 cases. 

DECEMBER 10: Just this month, we met coronavirus survivors who voluntarily get stuck with needles to donate plasma for future virus patients. 

Selfless Donations 

MARCH 27: When we had never heard the phrase “face covering required,” and healthcare workers still couldn’t get ahold of enough masks, volunteers dusted off their sewing machines and got to work, using fabric scraps and elastic (or hair bands, in a pinch). 

DECEMBER 17: As job loss and school closures cut off access to food for some families, several grassroots efforts to feed the region were born. The wildly successful Feed Anne Arundel concept (using under-employed restaurant workers to prepare quality meals for the food-insecure) was featured in Bay Weekly back in the spring; the organization secured a $1 million grant in December. 

Business Reinvented 

APRIL 30: During Maryland’s stay-at-home order, restaurants began offering groceries in addition to their usual gourmet meals. The restaurants were limited to takeout only and hurting for income, and people in the community were dealing with food shortages at the grocery store. It was a win-win. Bulk orders of chicken wings or yeast from the Lighthouse in Solomons? Sure! Milk and toilet paper from the Chart House? Yes, really! 

MARCH 31: In an unexpected pivot, some trendy Bay-region distilleries shifted from making craft spirits to… hand sanitizer. While Purell production has caught back up to demand, at the time, the small-batch sanitizer was a life-saving service. 

Finding the Fun  

APRIL 9: Our Gardening for Health expert, Maria Price, offered a guide to starting the now-popular quarantine garden. It’s a hobby and a source of fresh produce in one. 

JULY 23: We sent intrepid photojournalist Mark Hendricks on a quest to “eat local” and support his Bay-region farmers at least once a day for a full week. Let’s just say his taste buds weren’t complaining. 

(Multiple dates): We were determined to help you enjoy the seasons on the Chesapeake, no matter how many annual events got canceled. From in-state summer road trips to socially-distanced pumpkin patches and drive-thru holiday light displays, BW calendar curator extraordinaire Kathy Knotts shared all the opportunities to help you feel festive. 

Making it Possible 

Since the going got tough in 2020, the Bay Weekly staff is even more grateful for our columnists, writers, and photographers, along with the advertisers who believe in the power of an independent newspaper as a touchstone to the community and the businesses who stock our papers and help us to reach Chesapeake Country readers. Thank you! 

Please enjoy the Best of the Bay winners inside these pages—your favorites in 2020—and cheers to 2021!