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ESCAPE KEYS

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GETTING THERE: From the Beltway, follow U.S. Route 50 east and across the Bay Bridge. At Queenstown, follow U.S. 301 north for about six miles. Take Exit 25/Centreville to MD Route 213 to Chestertown. Turn left at Cross Street and then right onto MD Route 20 (Chestertown Road) to Rock Hall.

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WHAT TO DO: Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (1730 Eastern Neck Rd., 410-639-7056) is six miles south of Rock Hall. Admission free. Open every day from 7:30 a.m. until a half-hour after sunset. Winter hours 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sailing charters include Blue Crab Chesapeake Charters (410-708-1803, http://www.bluecrabcharters.com) and Gratitude Yachting Center (410-639-7111, http://www.gratitudeyachting.com). There are many fishing charters, including Dawn II Charters (Capt. Larry Simns, 410-639-2966, http://www.dawnII.com) and Gunsmoke Charters (Capt. Greg Jetton, 410-639-7127).

WHERE TO EAT: Seafood is the name of the game in Rock Hall. Waterman's Crab House (21055 Sharp St., 410-639-2261, http://www.watermanscrabhouse.com) is known for its steamed crabs, crab cakes and other seafood. The Harbor Shack (20895 Bayside Ave., 410-639-9996, http://www.harborshack.net) is a fun place, with steaks and Mexican food as well as seafood. Pruitt's Swan Point Inn (Coleman Road and Rock Hall Avenue, 410-639-7454, http://www.rockhallmd.com/swanpointinn) bills itself as Rock Hall's most innovative restaurant, with fresh-caught fish done your way as well as prime rib and fowl, served with a hint of Greek flair. For ice cream, try Durding's Store (Main and Sharp streets, 410-778-7957), an ice cream parlor right out of the 1930s, with ceiling fans and a soda fountain.

WHERE TO STAY: While Rock Hall has no chain motels, there are lots of bed-and-breakfasts. We stayed at Swan Haven B&B (20950 Rock Hall Ave., 410-639-2527, http://www.swanhaven.com; rooms $110 to $178 per night Nov. 1-March 31), overlooking the Haven, one of the town's many inlets. Another lodging right on the water is Moonlight Bay Inn (6002 Lawton Ave., 410-639-2660, http://www.moonlightbayinn.com). Bay-front rooms are $190 per night.

INFORMATION: Town of Rock Hall (410-639-7611, http://www.rockhallmd.com).

-- J.F.L.


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