According to local folklore, on August 10, 1813 the British planned a nighttime attack on St. Michael’s Maryland during the War of 1812. The maritime community made an ideal target, but the residents had received word of the arrival of the British fleet and outsmarted them, putting lanterns in the masts of ships and the tops of trees, causing the British cannons to overshoot their target.
That story is likely apocryphal, but it speaks to the rich history and maritime tradition found in St. Michael’s, which has also metamorphosized into an ideal day trip destination for those seeking recreation or things to do with the family.
“We’ve been around a long time,” said Marie Martin, President of the St. Michael’s museum. “Historians believe people first settled here in the 1600s, and we’ve had a long history as a ship-building and fishing center for the Chesapeake Bay.”
To speak to the martitime tradition, the town hosts the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, an interactive facility on 18 acres that guides visitors through an array of exhibits that speak to the Bay’s primary industry, right on the water. The St. Michael’s museum, in the town center, also sponsors walking tours and highlights key components of the area’s long history, including the town’s role in the War of 1812.
St. Michael’s is not a crusty old fishing town, though. It has revamped itself into the modern era, providing a historic, but fashionable destination for day-trippers. “We have a tremendous variety of restaurants and retail stores,” said Martin. “We have stores focusing on toys, crafts, antiques and fine art. Our restaurants are some of the finest on the Eastern shore, with options for families or those seeking a fine-dining experience.”
The town serves as a port-of-call for boaters, and the marinas and water-side facilities can accommodate most recreational vessels, including some rather ostentatious yachts. Boats, kayaks and recreational watercraft of all kinds are available for rent as well.
To learn more about St. Michael’s, go to stmichaelsmd.org