Take a mental escape with author Niambi Brown Davis

When I lived here as a child, I couldn’t wait to get away. When I returned as an adult, I was happiest when a trip across Route 50 West ended at “Welcome to the District of Columbia.” Except for shopping and seafood, I could have cared less about Easton, Chestertown and Kent Island. I wanted to be inside Crown Bakery on a Saturday afternoon, at the Smithsonian on any day and the Zanzibar on any night.

But like a native New Yorker on her first trip to the Statue of Liberty, I began to view my part of Maryland through the eyes of visitors. It took me a while to appreciate why this place could be anything but a stop on the road to somewhere else. But the Eastern Shore grew on me. I talked it up and showed it off to out- of- state friends. I took pictures of the marshes, creeks, local beaches and meadows filled with wildflowers. I held my breath when a graceful blue heron skimmed low over a small stream on a hot sunny afternoon. One of the few times I was without a camera we counted 10 deer standing perfectly still off a two-lane country road just as the sun burned away an early morning fog. I enjoyed the unique small-town flavor of waterside towns like St. Michaels and Rock Hall. On a summer night at sunset, I watched a boat make its way up a river towards the Chesapeake and the majestic Bay Bridge. Presence, not absence grew my appreciation for the Land of Pleasant Living.

The Kent Island of my youth was home to watermen – oystermen, crabbers, fishing boat captains and the region’s famous seafood industry. Shacks of migrant workers stood where visitors now dock their boats and disembark to eat at Annie’s or Harris Crab House and drink at the infamous Red Eye’s Dock Bar. On the other side of the Kent Narrows Bridge, cars from the entire Delmarva Peninsula fill the parking lots of Fishermen’s Inn and the Crab Deck. Locals take a break from their own kitchens to sit at tables covered in brown paper, and background music is the collective crack of hard-shell crabs under a wooden mallet. “From the Bay to your table” is more than a slogan when a local crabber pulls his boat up to the dock and offloads his catch right before diner’s eyes.

Further down the shore, along with the towns of Easton, St. Michaels and Cambridge, Talbot and Dorchester counties claim Frederick Douglass and Harriett Tubman as native son and daughter. In Cambridge, the Harriet Tubman Association conducts tours of sites relating to Tubman’s life and African American history of the region.
Although Frederick Douglass spent part of his youth in Talbot County, in later years he had ties across the Chesapeake in Anne Arundel County. When his son Charles and wife Laura were refused service at the Bay Ridge resort, they promptly bought 40 acres of beachfront property and founded the town of Highland Beach (the first African American incorporated town in the state of Maryland). The community became an enclave for well-to-do black families and their guests. Some descendants of the original families still live in the beautiful town that’s a few miles but still a world away from Annapolis. At the end of Bay Avenue and facing the Chesapeake is Twin Oaks, the home Charles Douglass built for his father. Outside a plaque commemorates Douglass’ words: “As a free man I could look across the Bay to the land where I was born a slave.”

Recently, I discovered another waterside town in Anne Arundel County. Like Highland Beach, Columbia Beach boasts a spectacular view of the Bay and the same strong sense of community. I’ll keep you posted - there’s much more to Maryland. And seeing is sometimes better than saying; I hope my pictures speak for themselves.

Meet Author Niambi Brown Davis
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Niambi was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She and her family lived for many years in Washington, DC and for three and a half years, made the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago their home.

She has written for Bronze Thrills, True Confessions and Black Romance Magazines. Niambi indulged her passion for sailing and travel by serving as publicist for the Black Boaters Summit and as a member of the National Association of Black Travel Writers. A script for her first digital novella has been accepted and published by Arrow Publications, LLC. Presently, Niambi writes for Travel Lady Magazine.

Aside from travel and writing, Niambi is an avid reader of historical fiction, and deeply involved in tracing the history of both branches of her family tree. Her day job is running the business of Sand & Silk / Soleful Strut, her own line of handcrafted bath and body products.

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