Roughly the size of Belgium, Maryland is one of the most prosperous states in the union, thanks in no small part to a thriving biotechnology industry and the largesse of the federal government. It has frequently been dubbed “America in Miniature” for the remarkable diversity of its topography.
The western Piedmont region has gentle, verdant hills, and the eastern littoral has rolling dunes spotted with sea grass. But Chesapeake Bay, the world’s largest freshwater estuary, is the state’s crown jewel. St. Michaels is a charming Victorian town about two hours outside Washington, D.C., along the bay’s Eastern Shore. This seafaring community dates to the 1600s, and it gained fame as the “town that fooled the British” in a battle during the War of 1812. Canny residents placed lanterns in the tree line just above the village to draw cannon fire from the nearby British fleet, sparing the town’s buildings and shipyards. Today, St. Michaels’ main thoroughfare is lined with boutiques, bistros and the occasional antiques shop.