Discover “America’s Coolest Small Town” on foot.
Park your car, put on your walking shoes, and step into genuine proof that good things do come in small packages. Berlin, Maryland—located just ten minutes from Ocean City on Maryland’s Seaside—has been dubbed “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel and one of the “20 Best Small Towns to Visit” by Smithsonian. It’s also counted among the “Top 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America” by Country Living, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and Reader’s Digest.
Berlin’s historic downtown is bursting with good reasons to visit. And it’s easy to explore! Stroll along tree-lined streets discovering art galleries, boutique shops, local eateries, historic architecture, seasonal events, and much more at your own pace. Come for a day or make it a car-free weekend or longer stay.
Shop dozens of unique retail stores for everything from gourmet foods to antique treasures. Find yarn and other textile craft essentials at A Little Bit Sheepish. The Church Mouse Thrift Shop offers gently used items and one-of-a-kind tchotchkes. Independent bookstore The Greyhound stocks titles from national bestsellers to local publications. Toy Town offers nostalgic playthings. With pet supplies at Yuppy Puppy, fashion at Madison Avenue, garden accessories at Bird of Paradise, charcuterie at Gilbert’s Provisions, crystals at Dreamweaver—and so much more!—Berlin’s retailers sell an eye-popping array of essential and splurge-worthy items.
Step around Berlin and make your Fitbit proud on a self-guided historic walking tour. The downtown area is a National Register Historic District and boasts 47 structures on the National Register of Historic Places spanning two centuries of architecture. Or pound the pavement on the self-guided filming locations walking tour, visiting locations used for Paramount Pictures “Runaway Bride” and Disney’s “Tuck Everlasting.” Join a Haunted Berlin Ghost Walk to hear local lore during a spirited guided tour that takes about an hour.
Learn local historywhile you sit back and let a horse do the walking on a carriage tour, learning local history from a guide along the way. Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered most days throughout the year; on weekends in December they’re free, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Berlin Main Street Organization committee. Satisfy curiosity about what’s inside a historic structure at the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum. This lovingly restored home built in the 1830s is furnished with local period pieces. The main structure functions as a house museum and the west wing as a gallery of local history with exhibits that include memorabilia.
Indulge in delicious local flavor at 20 different eateries, from casual to elegant. At Blacksmith both the bar and food menus focus on local, small, and handmade. Atlantic Hotel Bistro Bar (also known as Drummer’s Café) serves local fare and classic favorites. The menu at Fins Ale House & Raw Bar presents fresh seafood with a Southern twist plus several beers on draft. Frozen treats at Island Creamery are made in small batches using fresh ingredients, including local fruit and milk from local cows. Burley Oak Brewing Company uses new and traditional brewing methods to create distinctive beers from IPAs to sours using locally grown grains. Sisters Gift Shop doubles as a wine bar. Baked Dessert Café & Gallery is home to Berlin’s official dessert, the peach dumpling, plus other handcrafted desserts and artisan breads.
See art at Berlin’s multiple galleries that present an eclectic mix of works, from fine art to local handcrafts. Look beyond the gourmet cupcakes and fresh pies at Baked Dessert Café & Gallery for the gallery displaying artworks by local talent. Jeffery Auxer Design features blown glass and ceramics by its namesake artist, who also offers hands-on workshops including create-your-own ornament sessions. Art in the Fields shows 20th century original works and high-quality lithographs, from post-impressionist to pop art. Metal and wood is transformed by the artisans at Steel-n-Glory. For more than 10 years, Berlin has been a state-recognized Arts and Entertainment District. Arts in Berlin spearheads pubic art installations and events.
Join in seasonal, festive fun in a town known for its quirky events like the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, Bathtub Races, Fiddler’s Convention, Reggae Play Day, Shakespeare on Main Street, Paint Berlin Plein Air, Small Town Throw Down, and Oktoberfest. A seasonal farmer’s market is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May through September. On the second Friday of every month is an Art Stroll. Bring a picnic and enjoy live music at the Calvin B. Taylor Museum during its free concert on the lawn series held the second Sunday of each month June through September.
Relax on the spacious porch at the historic Atlantic Hotel (circa 1895), which overlooks Main Street and offers personal fans in summer and electric blankets in winter to anyone who wants to enjoy its famous rocking chairs. Linger even longer by booking one of the cozy boutique hotel’s 15 rooms. Or check into bed and breakfast accommodations at Waystead Inn, nestled inside a gracious Victorian home and surrounded by a 1.5-acre garden, or Holland House Bed & Breakfast, which is in a former doctor’s home built in 1900 and located just a hundred yards from Berlin’s Main Street.
For more information, call the Berlin Welcome Center at 410-973-2051 or visit berlinmainstreet.com. When you arrive in Berlin, stop by 14 South Main Street for free brochures, maps, local recommendations, and a friendly hello.