Nice: Closed St. Michaels Acme to Become Town Center

According to the Star-Democrat this morning, the old Acme food store in downtown St. Michaels will be transformed into a new town center. Plans call for second floor apartments with balconies looking down on Talbot Street.

Read the full story here. Charges may apply.

Environmental Concern Holds 18th Annual Spring Native Plant Sale

More and more homeowners are planting rain gardens, butterfly gardens and stormwater management gardens. Home gardeners are reaping the benefits by reconnecting with nature and bringing the practice of planting native into their own backyards.

The 18th Annual Spring Plant Sale at Environmental Concern’s Campus in St. Michaels is the perfect place to get inspired, and to pick up native plants grown in EC’s nursery. This year’s sale takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, Friday, May 11th and Saturday, May 12th   from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Garden lovers will find new species, and the popular favorites that have made this event an annual tradition for Eastern Shore gardeners for nearly 2 decades. Growing more than 100 species of shrubs and herbaceous plants for over 46 years, Environmental Concern hosts one of the largest native plant sales on the Eastern Shore.

In addition to the plant sale, EC will host workshops that will inspire and educate customers. “Milkweeds for Monarchs” will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. each day. Participants will learn about the Monarch butterfly, and the dependence of the Monarch caterpillars on native milkweed for survival. Recommendations for plant selection and habitat creation techniques will encourage even first time gardeners to dig in, and get wet and muddy – and don’t forget to shop for the perfect Mother’s day plant. Our experts will be on hand to help you with your plant selection.

There will be a large selection of flowering herbaceous perennials and hardy shrubs. Highlights include colorful red columbines (Aquilegia canadensis) with red and yellow showy, drooping, bell-like flowers, and the Joe pye weed (Eupatorium dubium) which is very attractive to beneficial pollinators. Additional offerings include the Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), Blue flag iris (Iris versicolor), and the Northern sea oat (Chasmanthium latifolium), known for its interesting flat foliage and unique seed heads.

Visit Environmental Concern’s Nursery in historic St. Michaels at 201 Boundary Lane. Watch for signs along St. Michaels Road. For more information, call 410-745-9620.

Environmental Concern is a 501(c)3 public not-for-profit organization. All proceeds from the plant sale will help fund EC’s mission to improve water quality and enhance native habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Spy House of the Week: Tuned in to Tunis

When I was active in real estate, I always enjoyed showing prospective buyers properties in Talbot County’s small unincorporated towns like Claiborne, Sherwood and Tunis Mills. This house in Tunis Mills was built in the farmhouse style and two additions greatly expanded the living space. One addition contained a family room with a fireplace and my favorite room, the sunroom. Floor to ceiling glass doors around three sides opened the room to the patio, waterside pool and sunsets over Leeds Creek.

Both the spacious great room and the recreation room had fireplaces to ward off winter’s chill. I liked how the large kitchen had a table and chairs instead of a center island for informal dining. The kitchen was large and the dark cabinets with off-white flooring and countertops were a welcome change from the white cabinets found in most houses. The decorative wood beams in the great room carried through to the kitchen, and a skylight added light to illuminate the Owners’ collection of copper cookware on the wall below.

There was a bedroom on the ground floor, but the elevator allowed the Owners to use the master suite on the second floor with its beautiful views to Leeds Creek. I liked the graceful sloped ceiling detail in several of the bedrooms where the ceiling sloped slightly down to the wall. A great family house and perfect for entertaining friends and neighbors in this quaint village.

For more information about this property, contact Barb Watkins at 410-822-1415 (o), 410-310-2021 (c), or, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

Adkins Arboretum’s Forest Fair is Sat., May 19

Hear ye, hear ye! All are invited to revel in a day of forest fun when Adkins Arboretum celebrates its inaugural Forest Fair (with a Medieval Flair), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., May 19.

Adventurers of all ages can embark on a forest quest, visit Robin Hood’s hideout and join in medieval games. Entertainment includes falconry and beekeeping demonstrations, ballads, dance, and performances by Shore Shakespeare. Archery and swordplay will add to the fun. The truly stout-hearted may visit the apothecary for a lesson on natural remedies or forage with a local peasant.

Medieval costumes are encouraged, and imaginations are a must. Forest Fair is $10 for ages 6 and over and free for ages 5 and under. Advance registration is appreciated. To register, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Know Thy Neighbor: Carol Bean and Mark Connelly of “Know Good Farm” in Wittman

I first met my neighbor, Carol Bean, when she ran the FreshFarm Market and lived with her husband, Mark Connolly, in a charming cottage on Pot Pie in Wittman. Most Saturdays I would visit her stall at the St. Michaels Farmers Market and I was soon hooked on her radish microgreens which enhanced many of my summer tuna salads.

Know Good Farm started with heirloom tomatoes, ducks for eggs and meat, and flowers. The day I visited several male turkeys with their resplendent plumage strolled through the property in hot pursuit of the “ladies”. Carol explained that the heritage turkeys were smaller and an older breed than their Butterball cousins. Her turkeys are grass-fed which produces succulent meat.

As Carol and I chatted, Muscovy ducks checked under the bird feeders to pick up any seeds that had fallen while the birds feasted above, a great example of a food chain.

Making a living solely from the land is unpredictable since each year you are at the mercy of Mother Nature, like the heavy rains we had in the spring of 2017. To supplement the farm, Carol now offers Vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes of fresh vegetables for $25/week for pick-up at the farm or the St. Michaels Farmers Market. There is also an Oyster CSA in November and December with free delivery to the St. Michaels/Bay Hundred Area. Classes and workshops are offered as well as gift cards and seasonal farm gift boxes (Mother’s Day, Summer Season, Fall Season and Christmas). Seasonal wreaths are available during the holiday season.

Summer’s and Fall’s bounty from the 1.5 acres under cultivation may include heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, radish microgreens, beans, cucumbers, several varieties of squash, etc. The Muscovy duck eggs are especially prized by bakers and the duck meat is sought after for its being 97% fat free and tasty due to the grass-fed duck diet. Seasonal Bay bounty includes soft-shell crabs and oysters.

Know Good Farm is now open Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 am to noon or by appointment. The first Open House at Know Good Farm will be held on May 19th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, followed by a class on “Growing Heirloom Tomatoes” from 2:00 to 4:00pm. The St. Michaels Farmers Market is now open from 8:30 to 11:30 so visit Carol at her stall (please leave a bunch of radish microgreens for me). Starting May 26, she will be at Piazza Italian Market on Saturdays in the summer from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm where she will be selling her over 25 varieties of tomato seedlings.

Upcoming dates or events include orders for the Mother’s Day Gift Box available from April 20 through May 12 and the Open House and Plant Sale on May 19.

For more information about Know Good Farm at 8721 Cummings Road in Wittman , visit or call 410-829-1829.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

South Fork Studio Receives Industry Recognition for Residential Project

South Fork Studio, an Eastern Shore-based landscape architecture firm, was honored for the quality of one of its residential design projects by the American Society of Landscape Architects–Maryland Chapter during its 2018 Awards Banquet. The awards honor projects that demonstrate a superior quality of design and execution.

“This award is the culmination of a great partnership with our clients John Piper and Deborah Tuttle that continues today,” said D. Miles Barnard, Principal and Founder of South Fork Studio Landscape Architecture. “It’s satisfying to be recognized for the work we were able to produce, but also sets our expectations higher moving forward.”

The Chapter honored 11 projects in total; South Fork Studio was the only firm to receive an award for a single family residential design project – a Built Merit Award for a project on a 2 acre waterfront property in Chestertown, MD.

The initial design scope seemed straight forward enough says Barnard, “We were asked to provide three things: address drainage and erosion problems, create a secure garden area to keep in pets and children, and improve the circulation. We suggested a fourth element which was the incorporation of art into the garden. From there we were given complete design freedom which resulted in the construction of this project requiring the collaboration of over 10 local builders and artists. We rely on these colleagues to make our designs become reality and we feel grateful to them and to our clients for making this award possible.”South Fork Studio designed everything outside of the home including all the masonry steps and walls, gates, fencing, paving, soils, planting, lighting and irrigation.

This project is also featured on the cover of the May 2018 issue of Chesapeake Views Magazine

Click here to read the article: Chesapeake Views

To learn more about the Piper-Tuttle project, click here: Piper-Tuttle Residence

To learn more about South Fork Studio, please visit our website:

More on South Fork Studio Landscape Architecture

South Fork Studio Landscape Architecture is dedicated to creating inviting, innovative and environmentally sustainable human spaces and native landscapes throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Our mission is to create and nurture a direct connection between the landscape and the people that inhabit it. Whether designing a small intimate garden room or a commercial development, our philosophy is to focus on how the needs of the people are best served by the landscape and how the landscape can be maintained as a self-sustaining and functioning ecosystem.

More on the Maryland Chapter of ASLA

The Maryland Chapter represents approximately 365 landscape architects at the local level. The purpose of ASLA is to advance the profession of Landscape Architecture in the eyes of the general public. The Chapter is the main advocacy body to advances the profession on the local level by holding events, meetings, outings and providing information regarding the profession to the local media and schools. The Chapter may also interface with municipal governments regarding local issues that could impact the profession, or the public realm.

Spy House of the Week: Mulberry Perfection

The original plan of St. Michaels was developed by British agent James Braddock. The cornerstone of the plan was St. Mary’s Square in the area known as “Braddock’s Square” whose boundaries were the harbor, Mulberry, Talbot and E. Chestnut. This house at 202 Mulberry was one of the first sold In Braddock’s Square to John Rolle “Gent”. There was an reference to a frame dwelling as early as 1804 when it was home to the Merchant family, who later built what became known after the War of 1812 as the “Cannonball” House next door. Until 1916, the other owners were the Fairbank and Hambleton families. At that time, ownership passed to the Orem family who undertook extensive renovations.

During the Seventies, the house became a duplex but in 2001 Minerva Enterprises reverted the house to its original single family residence.  Their careful restoration preserved original items from its past such as two doorbells, and a push-button light switch. They replicated the shed in the backyard that is now a studio to a very gifted quilter.

I loved the form and massing of the house with its front gable and wrap-round porch that ended at the side gable wing which projected from the main house. The original house layout was a side stair hall, front parlor, rear kitchen and another sitting room.  The 1915 renovations replaced the kitchen with a dining room and a new kitchen was added at the rear along with another sitting room.

What impressed me so much about this house were the wonderful vistas on axis from room to room throughout the house.  When you open the front door, you look through the dining room to the rear kitchen. The cross vista from the dining room is centered on a fireplace flanked by large windows.  The sofa on the side wall is in front of a wide doorway to the family room beyond and centered on the double windows on the rear wall with views of the landscape beyond.

I am a cook and I loved the kitchen with its two-toned wood craftsman cabinets with the trim in a darker shade than the face of the cabinets.  The sloped ceiling had two skylights and windows on the side and rear for more light and views of the pastoral rear yard. A small butler pantry connected  the kitchen to the dining room and I noted the owners had many of the same cookbooks that I do!

The second floor front guest room’s iron beds had beautiful multi-colored quilts in a triangular pattern crafted by the owner. The middle room was a sitting room for the serene and spacious master suite that opened to a bedroom with clever storage to maximize space and a bath.  

The rear yard was lushly landscaped and a quiet oasis from the Town activity nearby. The shed at the rear was the domain of the quilter and I loved how the original exterior door was preserved.  A bi-fold French door behind it allowed the owner to have light and views to the landscape while she created another quilted work of art.

This house truly embodied Habitat’s goal to celebrate the best of Talbot County’s architecture, interiors and landscape.  When I bade goodbye to the Owner, I told him I wish I could write him a check for the house! The lucky buyer who does will become the steward for this wonderful part of St. Michaels’ architectural history.

For more information abou

t this property, contact Amy Berry with Meredith Fine Properties at 410-822-2001 (o), 310-310-0441 (c) or, “Equal Housing Opportunity”

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.


QA’s County Master Gardeners Plant Sale and 20th Anniversary Celebration

Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners are busy getting ready for their 5th Annual Plant Sale and 20th Anniversary Celebration slated for Saturday, May 12th at the University of Maryland Extension-Queen Anne’s County Office (505 Railroad Ave, Centreville, MD 21617) from 9-noon, rain or shine.

Master Gardener Jane Chambers helps a gardener pick out the perfect plant at our 2017 plant sale.

In addition to mingling with a group of passionate and knowledgeable gardeners, you can buy plants, introduce the kids to pollinator friendly gardening, or ask those questions about your landscape you’ve been wondering about all spring. Master Gardeners are volunteers who are trained by the University of Maryland Extension and will help you select the perfect plant for your garden. Maybe you’ve been longing to have some herbs by the kitchen door, or to grow that perfect heirloom tomato, or try a new variety of eggplant but don’t know how or where to find the plant. You are welcome to request advice about flowers, fruits, vegetable beds and plants that can beautify your yard and provide friendly habitat for wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and humming birds at our ‘Ask A Master Gardener Plant Clinic.’ While you’re there selecting the perfect plants stop by the Bay-Wise table and learn about turning your garden into a Bay-Wise friendly landscape. And don’t forget to pick out the perfect present for the mom in your life.

For further information please call or email the University of Maryland Extension Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator, Rachel Rhodes, at 410-758-0166 or or see us on Facebook @

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

“For the Love of Nature” with Jim Brighton on May 9

Photo by Chris Polk

The Garden Club of the Eastern Shore presents a lecture on “For the Love of Nature” with Jim Brighton. The event will take place on May 9, 11:15 am at Christ Church Parish House, Etherton Hall, Willow St., St. Michaels. Admission is free. It is open to the public and seating is limited.

Jim Brighton’s love of nature led him and web developer Bill Hubick to create the Maryland BioDiversity Project, an online listing and cataloging of eventually all the plant and animal species in Maryland. Maryland Biodiversity Project (MBP) is a non-profit organization focused on cataloging all the living things of Maryland. Their goal is to promote education and conservation by helping to build a vibrant nature study community.

“It is not enough to say that our environment is important. We must act accordingly…..we must all accept the responsibility and act. Action is what will make the difference.”
Jim Brighton upon acceptance of Chesapeake Champion award. Quote from The Talbot Spy.

Spy House of the Week: Sherwood Serenity

One of my favorite villages in Talbot County is Sherwood, because it embodies a wonderful sense of place due to the group of historic houses that comprise its core.  From The “Wharf House” to the charming bungalows, the village is simply charming. This house caught my eye for its site with its expansive views of the Chesapeake Bay and its evolution from 1890 to the renovation in the 1990’s. Modern touches included the contemporary windows without any muntins and the addition of a “lighthouse” room at the third floor that complements the original massing of the house.

When you open the front door the vista opposite in the two-story entrance area is an “L’ shaped stair with an open railing on one side up to the second floor. I liked the open plan of the main floor, with the kitchen as the pivot point between the family room and the dining room. The large sunroom was one of my two favorite rooms with its windows on three sides and French doors to a deck for direct views to the water just one lot away from the community pier.

The bedrooms were located on the second floor but my other favorite room was located on the third floor, accessed by an open stair from the master bedroom. Furnished as a sitting room, its rear “picture” window was truly that-it framed the water views and the decorative octagonal window allowed light in from the front of the house.  I loved the “bird’s eye” expanded view of the water since you were on the third floor and could look over the rooftop of the surrounding houses for a clear view of the water. The pitched ceiling with its stained wood lateral beams below made a dramatic space. It was indeed a “lighthouse”- one filled with light.

It would be easy to enjoy the outdoors and the water views since most of the main rooms had access to the decks on both floors. The site also contained both a one-car detached  garage and a studio/office/workshop outbuilding in the large fenced rear yard.

For more information about this property, contact Benson and Mangold Real Estate agents Gene Smith at 410-745-0417 (o),410-443-1571(c) or, and Kim Crouch Ozman at 410-745-0415 (o),410-410-829-7062 (c ) or, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.