Where: Easton, Md.
Why: Tarot cards, tanuki power and an old-fashioned cabaret.
How Far: 70 miles, or about 11/4 hours from the District.
Several years ago, when I was living in Manhattan, I took a day trip to Easton, a small town (population 12,000) on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The place dates to the 1700s and boasts a combination of quaint and cool -- like Norman Rockwell meets Peter Max. It was love at first sight. And before I knew it, I was the proud owner of a Victorian with a wraparound porch. I've been a devoted townie ever since.
To get the most out of a visit to my hip, adopted home, I suggest you make a loop through the heart of town. Start on Dover Street and pop into Alice's Treats, named for the former boho owner's dog. The bakery, which makes a mean fruit tart, is the offshoot of Easton's mega-popular lunch spot Alice's Cafe. On Washington Street, explore Jonas' Attic, where you can pick up a "soothing stone" or stick of incense for less than a buck. And if you've got a yen for Sapporo and sushi, hit General Tanuki's on Goldsborough, run by a gregarious father-son duo who are usually decked out in Hawaiian shirts.
Just around the corner, amateur rock guitarists gather at Rabbit Hill Music, where you can prowl through bins of vintage vinyl. At night, see a concert -- anything from Arlo Guthrie to the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra -- at the Avalon Theatre; ask to sit in the balcony, where Gary Cooper once perched, and sip a shiraz during the show. Or, end your night at Chez Lafitte, a jewel box of a cabaret, where French food, wine and good cheer prevail. You never know who'll stop in to sing a few tunes at the piano; Michelle Shocked and Owen Wilson have both turned up round midnight.
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