If you haven’t spent much time on the Eastern Shore, you probably have a lot of questions. You can learn more by reading some of the pages included on this sit, but there is one basic question you need to answer.
Is the shore for me?
The Shore isn’t for everyone. Life here is relaxed and the pace is slow. There is no such thing as a quick trip to the store, not because there isn’t a store nearby, but because while you are out, you are likely to run into your neighbors who have plenty of time to gossip. If you go to the same restaurants often, the owner and waitresses will know your name. So will the tellers at the bank, who keep treats for your dogs when you bring them in. Yes, this is dog country, and you can bring your dogs almost everywhere. Its common for doctors to give you their home phone numbers.
Most of all the Eastern Shore is about community. People here are friendly and approachable, and conversations with strangers at the Exmore Diner or at any restaurant are common. When a friend was recently undergoing chemo, a neighbor she hadn't ever met came by every day to walk her dog, while others continually brought home cooked meals. At the same time, people respect your privacy. You can talk to your neighbor across your fence, but they seldom come to your door uninvited. Ultimately, its up to you to decide how social you want to be, and to make the effort to get out of your house and go meet your fellow Shore residents.
When you get off Route 13 and travel down the country roads, people you don’t even know are going to wave hello to you. Just so you know, the preferred technique is one finger in the air.
Because we are on a narrow peninsula. There are really only three main roads---Bayside, Seaside and Route 13. Route 13 goes straight down the middle and looks a lot like the rest of America, with the addition of roadside stands selling country hams, seafood and fireworks.
The two biggest industries are farming and fishing, both commercial and sport. If you don't have a dock on your own property, there are plenty of marinas throughout the shore. And if you don't have a boat of your own, your can easily charter one, or more often, go out with a friend who does have one. But driving the backroads you’d swear you were in Kansas. Fields of tomatoes, soybeans, corn, sweet potatoes, cucumbers and even cotton as far as the eye can see.
In fact, you’re surrounded by water. The Eastern Shore is about 70 miles long, and averages only 10 miles wide, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Chesapeake Bay on the other. But in between, there are miles and miles of wide creeks and small coves with tall loblolly pines that provide shelter and privacy.
It’s rural here.
If you are a shopaholic who needs daily tours of Bloomingdales or Neiman Marcus, you are out of luck. But on those days you really need a shopping fix, Virginia Beach is just across the bridge and has all the malls, movies, restaurants, concerts, museums and music you expect in a city. We get a kick out of having lunch on the Atlantic Ocean after our trip to Home Depot.