Welcome to America’s Coolest Small Town
Updated by Chris Murphy
While it’s just eight miles away from the sandy beaches of Ocean City and Assateague Island, the town of Berlin is miles away from ordinary. The historic town is picture perfect, with red brick buildings, stone churches and period homes framed graciously by magnolias, sycamore trees and tulip poplars. The town is so cool, in fact, that Berlin was named “Coolest Small Town in America” by Budget Travel Magazine in 2014.
Things to Do in Berlin
A stroll down Main Street offers unique shopping in art galleries, antique stores, specialty gift shops and lots of dining options. Berlin is known for its fun, and sometimes quirky, events like the annual Bathtub Races in June and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop!
The best way to appreciate Berlin is to meander around the town’s scenic streets. You’ll notice many old buildings—in fact, there are numerous structures in the town that are noted in the National Register of Historic Places, not to mention the whole downtown itself. Nearly two centuries of architectural heritage are represented, dating from the Federal, Victorian and 20th Century periods. Since the 1980s, Berlin has undergone considerable revitalization of its historic downtown commercial district, and it shows. A memorable way to discover downtown is by horse and carriage with daily rides spring through fall.
Arts and Entertainment in Berlin
Today’s downtown Berlin has been designated as an “Arts and Entertainment District” due to its cultural growth and fostering of artistic activity. Berlin is also home to the Worcester County Arts Council, which maintains an art gallery filled with works by local artists.
Staying in Berlin
Of course, you may enjoy your visit to Berlin so much that you’ll want to stay the night. And with historic B&Bs like the famed Atlantic Hotel (photo at top of page), The Inn Berlin or the charming Holland House B&B, your night’s stay is sure to be as enjoyable as the day.
Berlin, a Real Life Movie Set
Berlin is so enchanting that it has been the location for some major motion pictures.
In 1998, Paramount’s Runaway Bride was shot in Berlin, which became the fictional town of Hale, Maryland for the film. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts starred in the movie, which featured several local shops downtown and many residents as extras. In 2001, Berlin transformed itself into the set for the film Tuck Everlasting, starring Sissy Spacek, Ben Kingsley and William Hurt. The downtown was transported back in time to the turn-of-the-century, complete with dirt roads, horses, carriages and period costumes. Today, you can take the walking tour of the Runaway Bride set locations.
Taylor House Museum
Located in Berlin’s historic downtown, the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum is a carefully restored early 19th-century house featuring period furnishings and local history exhibits. Current displays include Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley, Calvin B. Taylor, Isaiah Fasset plus much more. Enjoy free evening concerts on the lawn once a month from June to September. The museum is open Memorial Day weekend through the end of October, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1–4 p.m. For more information, call 410-641-1019 or visit TaylorHouseMuseum.org.
- Art galleries
- Horse and carriage rides
- Ghost tours
- 2nd Friday Art Strolls
- Great eateries with nightly live entertainment
- Home of the peach dumpling—official town dessert
410-641-4775 | BerlinChamber.org
Shopping in Berlin
While it is just seven miles away from the sandy beaches of Ocean City, the quaint town of Berlin is miles away from ordinary. The historic town is picture perfect, with red brick buildings, stone churches and period wooden homes framed graciously by magnolias, sycamore trees and tulip poplars.
Browse through the one-of-a-kind antique shops to find a vintage treasure, or purchase a gorgeous piece of artwork or handcrafted house item. A stroll down Main Street is like a trip back in time. When a resort town is almost 150 years ago, there are a lot of stories to be told, history to be learned and trinkets to be found. Antique shops abound whether it’s to venture further inland or further south to the Eastern Shore. Whether you seek vintage postcards or Victorian lamps, this treasure hunt could go on for days. Sometimes resort towns are home to a unique store that won’t thrive elsewhere. Whether that be an independently owned pet store, a high end cigar store, or a local winery, be sure to flip through this magazine for an idea of what’s here.
If you’re always a season late on your swimsuit fashion, be sure to check out our swimwear section. What’s hot right now, what flatters you, or just go retro… plus, where to find it so that you can wear it. There are plenty of places to shop, and whether you stick to the boardwalk or venture downtown or to Historic Berlin, you’re sure to find something that will please. Bringing a piece of Ocean City home with you is a great way to relive your vacation all year long.