A monthly feature exploring the stores, restaurants and sights of Maryland restaurants.
Berlin, only seven miles west of Ocean City, is an antidote to a vacation overdose of sun, saltwater and mindless fun. The quiet, tree-lined streets of the town's historic district have a multitude of shops, art galleries and antique stores. The town is so picturesque it was chosen as the location for the filming of Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting.
Berlin's historic district is lovely but small; it can easily be covered on foot in an afternoon, although you could linger there much longer if you have more time. If it's history that interests you, the National Register of Historic Places lists 47 buildings in Berlin. You can rent an audio walking tour from the Globe Theater.
But first, park your car in one of the numerous free lots around town and take our walking tour of shops and galleries, with a couple of stops for refreshment.
1 11 a.m. Ta-Da
Begin at this home-accessories and gift shop, which has sophisticated and unusual offerings. Jewelry is also in the mix. Owner/artist Patty Falck, a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, has created much of the artwork and hand-painted glassware she sells. She's also an interior designer, so she'll be able to help you figure out what will go with the furnishings you already have.
18 Williams St., 410-641-4430, shoptada.com
2 11:45 a.m. Perfect Touch
This store has just opened this season. What will strike you when you walk in is how delicious the shop smells. That's the line of Green Leaf home fragrances. Another specialty is "table art," decorative items such as trivets and napkin rings. The rest of the shop is a fun, idiosyncratic mix of gifts such as handbags (Leaf Leather), jewelry and toys.
4 Bay St., 410-641-2373
3 Noon Solstice Grill
Have lunch at the nicest restaurant in Berlin. It's the dining room of the historic and recently renovated Atlantic Hotel. Solstice offers a serene, light-filled setting and a seasonal menu, with dishes such as fire-roasted asparagus, grilled ahi tuna sandwich, and shrimp and grits.
2 N. Main St., 410-641-3589, solsticegrill.com
4 12:45 p.m. Pink Box Bakery
Walk a few blocks up Main Street for a cookie and a cup of coffee, or just to see this charming bakery, which looks like a confection itself. Inside are gifts and baked goods, including regional specialties such as sweet potato biscuits and Smith Island Cake.
120 N. Main St., 410-641-2300
5 1 p.m. Calvin B. Taylor House Museum
Lunch at the Atlantic Hotel will inspire you to learn more about Berlin's historic district. The town museum is this early-17th-century house with period furnishings and Berlin memorabilia. It's open only Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, though, so plan accordingly.
208 N. Main St., 410-641-1019, taylorhouse museum.org
6 2 p.m. Treasure Chest
Step into the past when you step into this family-owned and --operated jewelry store that's been around for more than 30 years. It's one of Berlin's cornerstone businesses. Baltimoreans visiting the beach have been coming here for decades to get their jewelry repaired. Treasure Chest specializes in diamonds and other gemstones and baby gifts.
20 N. Main St., 410-641-0333, treasurechestjewelers.com
7 2:15 p.m. j.j. Fish Studio and Gallery
Nearby is the working studio of Judy and John Fisher. The shop sells their jewelry and metalwork and represents artists from all over the country as well. You'll find affordable crafts and gifts, including glass, wood, quilts and art cards.
14 N. Main St., 410-641-4805
8 2:45 p.m. Bruder Hill
Berlin has one clothing boutique, and this is it. Everyone shops here, from teenagers to women in their '70s. The shop's specialty is to put together complete outfits for its customers, including jewelry, handbags and accessories. The clothes are set up in what the owner calls "color stories," with lines such as Willow, Live a Little and Eliza B.
25 Commerce St., 410-629-1260
9 3 p.m. STUARTS' ANTIQUE
While there's plenty of antiquing to be done in Berlin, this is the one shop you must not miss if you're interested in 18th- and 19th-century antiques. Here you'll find an impressive collection of oyster plates, Staffordshire figures, Mary Frances purses and majolica. Stuarts' is also known for its watch repair and silver and brass cleaning, and its customers for these services come from Berlin and beyond.
5 Pitts St., 410-641-0435
10 3:30 p.m. Tea by the Sea
You deserve a break. If you're lucky, you have a reservation for afternoon tea here. The baking is done in the morning, and there might not be a scone for you if you haven't reserved a spot. In any case, you'll be able to get a pot of freshly brewed loose-leaf tea in this traditional English tearoom. Fine teas, teapots and tea accessories are also for sale.
7 S. Main St., 410-641-4000
Got more time? Here's more to do
Berlin has many more shops and galleries. Even this list isn't complete:
Town Center Antiques, an antiques mall with more than 150 dealers, 1 N. Main St., 410-629-1895
Abigail's Home Accents, 18 N. Main St., 410-641-0808
Gold Crafts, 4 S. Main St., 410-641-1119
Victorian Charm, 100 N. Main St., 410-641-2998, victoriancharm.biz
Water's Edge Gallery, 2 S. Main St., 410-629-1784
Plan in advance and get brochures for a tour of historic buildings and one for a walking tour of spots that were used in the filming of Runaway Bride. Visit the Chamber of Commerce's Web site at berlinmdcc.org for more information.