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Sleepy, Artsy Easton Sits Along the Chesapeake Bay and Has a Well-Kept Historic Downtown, Art Galleries, Excellent Eateries and Fun Festivals
At the top of the Tred Avon River on the eastern banks of the Chesapeake Bay in eastern Maryland, artsy Easton (population 18,000) was founded by Quakers fleeing persecution in the late-1600s, giving this waterfront town a solid, soothing feeling.
The city has a mix of new gated communities, established modest neighborhoods with ranch ramblers and older, shaded, waterfront sections with large homes. The median home price is $380,000 reflecting a 26% increase from just a year ago.
The cost of living meets the national average, and the median age is 42. Politics lean to the right, and 37% of residents hold at least a four year college degree. The crime rate meets the national average.
The quaint, leafy, walkable downtown, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is lined with well-kept Colonial, Federal and Victorian buildings that evoke an earlier time. Many now house specialty shops, good restaurants, fun bookstores and more than a dozen art galleries.
The First Friday Art Walk is the time when art galleries keep their doors open late and serve food and refreshments. There is also a gallery walk. The Talbot County Arts Council supports individuals, organizations, and lifelong learners. The Academy Art Museum is housed in a renovated 1820 schoolhouse and exhibits the best of local, regional and national artists.
The farmers' market operates on Saturdays from April through October, and a three hour food tour takes place on Friday afternoons. Tour participants venture into a variety of outstanding restaurants and learn what makes each one special.
Easton also has the oldest religious building still in use in the United States, as well as an African American settlement that dates from 1790. The courthouse was built in 1711, and the site uopn which the Tidewater Inn stands today has been home to a some sort of inn for more than 200 years. Historic walking tours happen the third Saturday of every month and discuss how Easton's eclectic architecture relates to its spiritual, civic and daily life.
The Talbot County Free Library is housed in an attractive red brick building and hosts art exhibits, art classes, technology classes, book discussions and more.
The Talbot County Fair, hosted in Easton, is always a fun event, as is the annual Waterfowl Festival, a celebration of art, food and wildlife conservation. The Arts Marketplace's Juried Art and Craft Exhibition happens every autumn. The annual Plein Air Competition and Arts Festival is a popualr outdoor painting festival. The Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival brings out nearly everyone, while the Avalon Theatre is a venue for the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.
Residents enjoy four golf courses and several nearby state parks. The Bay and its tributaries are perfect for sailing, canoeing, fishing and crabbing. The Bill Burton Fishing Pier and bright red Easton Point Marina are both open 24 hours a day.
A door to door van service for people age 60 or better is offered by the county. The cost to ride is $1.50, and advance reservations are required.
The University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton is accredited by the Joint Commission and has 133 beds.
Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 41 inches of rain and 11 inches of snow each year.
Maryland does not tax Social Security benefits or 401(k)s. It does, though, tax IRAs. Income from public pensions and private employee retirement plans is also taxed, but taxpayers age 65 and older can claim a $33,100 deduction, less Social Security.
The Maryland homestead tax credit is available to all homeowners and limits increases in assessed property value to 10%, meaning the credit is equal to any increase in excess of 10%. The average effective property tax rate (the annual tax payment as a percentage of median home value) in Easton is .68%. The annual taxes on a $380,000 home are approximately $2,584.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Charles I of England granted a royal charter for Maryland in 1632, and English settlers arrived in 1634. Early on, it was primarily home to indentured servants, convicts and Catholics (and was one of the only early settlements to have Catholics in positions of power).
The Mason Dixon Line was created in the mid-1700s, and Maryland gave away some land in 1791 to create the District of Colombia, which is now the location of the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and the White House. British troops attempted to capture Baltimore in 1814, prompting Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner. Maryland was a slave state during the Civil War but stayed in the Union.
Maryland covers both sides of Chesapeake Bay, and it has one of the longest waterfronts of any state. A few vital agricultural products are nursery and greenhouse products, dairy products, chickens, soybeans and eggs. The waters from Chesapeake Bay grow clams, finned fish, oysters and crabs.
Baltimore is home to Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, and Annapolis, the state capital, is the site of the U.S. Naval Academy. Popular sites for visitors include Harpers Ferry, Fort McHenry, Antietam National Battlefield, the U.S.S. Constellation, the National Aquarium and the Goddard Space Flight Center.
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