Neighborhood Spotlight: St. Michaels

Location: Talbot County’s Eastern Shore, about 10 miles west of Easton. Kent Island and Chester are to the north, and Cambridge is to the south.

Average property listing price: $361,000, according to Babette Farrell, a Realtor at Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. in Stevensville. Homes for sale range from $160,000 to $4.5 million.

Population: 3,521 for ZIP code 21663, according to

The history: The area now known as St. Michaels began in the mid-1600s as a trading post for tobacco, fur and timber. In 1672, the Christ Church St. Michaels Parish, which is still in practice today, was established and the town was founded.

By the War of 1812, St. Michaels had transformed into an industrial center for seafood processing and shipbuilding, which included the famed Baltimore Clipper.

After the war, shipbuilding activity declined as oyster tonging and crabbing increased. The town, now noted for its seafood restaurants and quaint bed and breakfasts, becomes a buzzing tourist destination during the summer. Notable inhabitants have included Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

What’s there: Talbot Street runs through the heart of St. Michaels and is lined with boutiques, bistros and ice cream parlors, all housed in Colonial architecture. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has a working boatyard and is home to the historic Hooper Strait Lighthouse, in addition to Chesapeake Bay artifacts.

Why St. Michaels: Monica Penwell, a Realtor at Lacaze Meredith Real Estate in St. Michaels, has lived there for more than 20 years. “On the weekends, you park your car and you can walk everywhere,” she says.

“It’s a very easy, relaxed lifestyle,” adds Lisa Rey, who traded her Washington, D.C., condominium for a home in St. Michaels about two years ago. Her house, more than 150 years old, is steps away from a creek: “I can keep my kayak down there and go out for a paddle. I love the fact that it’s a community that focuses on the water.”

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