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Welcome to America’s Coolest Small Town
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The town of Berlin, otherwise referred to as “America’s Coolest Small Town,” (see below) is just 10 miles from the beach, but it’s more than a tourist destination for sunshine and summer fun. Historically charming and artistically alive, Berlin has a lot to offer, from festivals and art strolls to locally-owned shops and restaurants that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. An expedition around the town will prove that Berlin is as quirky as it is rich in history and beauty, and there’s always something interesting going on.
Exclusive eats and drinks
Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it in Berlin. Some restaurants, like the Globe, located in a 100-year-old building in historic Berlin, seem to have been around forever – and for good reason. Others, like Fins Ale House and Raw Bar, have only recently added new flavor to Main Street’s lineup and are keeping the community on its toes.
While family-oriented Halloween fun abounds in Ocean City every year with OCtoberfest, the neighboring town of Berlin has its own festive fun. Berlin’s Oktoberfest is a full day of shopping, food, music and games on Main Street in the spirit of Oktober. This year, the festival will take place noon- 6 p.m.
There’s always something to drink here, too. Wine connoisseurs rejoice at the Maryland Wine Bar, which specializes in Maryland-made wines but also offers a selection from all over the world, while beer and music lovers convene in Burley Oak, a Berlin-based brewery and bar.
No matter what kind of dish or brew you crave, it’s nearly impossible to exhaust your options in Berlin.
Arts and entertainment abound
For over 10 years, Berlin has been a state-recognized Arts and Entertainment District. The flourishing arts community celebrates the second Friday of every month with an Art Stroll that includes live music, art on display, plein air painting, gifts, photography exhibits, jewelry and more.
On any day of the week, you can view a piece of the new mural underway on the side of the town’s Visitor Center, and even participate in the public art project.
Berlin is a major supporter of the arts and is home to the Worcester County Arts Council, which works to nurture the artistic community of Berlin and all of Worcester County.
Unique antiques and other businesses
One of Berlin’s many charms is its vast array of locally-owned businesses. There’s clothing boutiques and candy shops and so many opportunities to take home a souvenir that you’d never find anywhere else. The stores in Berlin sell much more than postcards – in fact, with two expansive antique stores, you might end up with a tchotchke that’s over a century old.
There’s always something going on
Like many other towns, Berlin hosts its share of movie nights, fireworks and concerts in the park – but then there are other events that are totally, uniquely, sometimes weirdly, Berlin. Take, for example, the Bathtub Races, where local businesses and competitors have been turning ordinary “tubs” into decked-out racing vehicles since 1992.
There’s also the annual Peach Festival, a staple of summer that includes pie-baking, pie-eating contests, various vendors and juicy peaches galore, and Shakespeare on Berlin, where the Brown Box Theatre Troupe takes drama to the streets.
History buffs, look no further
Home to 47 structures on the National Register of Historic Places, Berlin has a rich history that’s accentuated by well-preserved architecture, some of which dates back hundreds of years. Businesses like the Globe and the Atlantic Hotel have been restored over time to reflect their original glory. Anyone with a penchant for history can learn the complete story of these sites at a Berlin History Walking Tour – or, for the supernatural seeker, at a Berlin Ghost Walk. The Calvin B. Taylor House Museum is also great way to learn something new enjoy a slice of the town’s history.
The 21 acres of Berlin, known as Stephen Decatur Park, are designated to provide playground and picnic facilities for families, as well as tennis and racquetball courts for the athletically-inclined. Dogs are also right at home in Berlin, where bowls of water sit outside of practically every store.
Accommodations are easy
Since 2012, Berlin has offered free public wifi for the convenience of visitors. It’s also not difficult to find a place to stay when cozy bed and breakfasts seem to line every street. (Maybe that’s why the Smithsonian Magazine named Berlin one of the top 20 Small Towns in the Country?)
A beautiful landscape of trails and scenery
The nature trails throughout the town are the perfect way to enjoy the scenery, kept beautiful and clean thanks to the Grow Berlin Green campaign, which establishes Berlin as a model community for environmental protection and conservation.
And on every Earth Day for the past 10 years, the town has promoted Clean-Up Berlin Day, where community members volunteer their time to tidying up the area’s neighborhoods and parks. Following the spring cleaning is Take Pride in Berlin week, where locals celebrate the beauty of their small town.
It’s just the coolest
In 2014, Budget Travel famously named Berlin the Coolest Small Town in America, due in part to the charm of the farmers market and arts district, the prevalence of quirky functions like the annual Fiddlers Convention, and the town’s proximity to Ocean City and Assateague Island. Others seem to agree – Berlin has been the backdrop to movies like Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting, and visitors are drawn in year after year for the food, entertainment and scenery they can’t find anywhere else. Berlin may have been recognized for its charm three years ago, but today it’s still America’s coolest small town.