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Chicken Pickin’
Written By: OC Fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Chicken Pickin’
Chicken Pickin’
Chicken Pickin’
Chicken Pickin’
Chicken Pickin’
Chicken Pickin’
I decided this summer to rediscover the DelMarVa Peninsula. In a previous “life” I was on every back road, in every small town and knew many of them very well. I wish I’d bought a bunch of stuff I saw in the General Stores back then, but I always put it off. Now, the General Stores are gone and it’s too late. I made a list of Community Festivals (, coordinated my getaways with O.C.’s noise weekends, and coupled them with places where I wanted to park my nest (slide-in camper on a pick’em up truck) for the night. I’ve done two so far and did a couple last summer, which worked out very well, too.
There’re lots of places to have an Adventure right here within a short driving distance of O.C. To name just a few: the Cambridge Seafood Festival, the Taste of Cambridge, in July, the Berlin Bath Tub Race also in July, and Tilgman Island, a quaint little waterman’s community in the Chesapeake Bay east of Easton and east of St. Michaels, plus Fishing Creek and Hooper’s Island, also waterman’s communities in the Bay southeast of Cambridge and Black Water National Refuge. Both are a bicycler’s dream with lots of scenic back country roads.
Tilgman Island is nautical, historical, and a nature lovers delight. I walked and bicycled til I was exhausted. The area has the last working skipjack fleet. Mastodons were butchered here by the natives 14,000 years ago! I saw eagles, foxes, a red breasted nut hatch and myriad of other birds.  Plus there're many restaurants that serve seafood fresh from the water just a stone’s throw away! St. Michaels may take two bags of money to eat and get lodging there, but still a nice place to walk around and enjoy 1800 nautical scenery. If you go on a day other than Sunday, there's a roadside stand that sells crab cakes between Easton and there. Easton has the Amish Farm Market (near the bowling alley), that has all that Pennsylvania Dutch Comfort Food and baked goods Thursday-Saturday.  Yummy!  Real éclair with Bavarian Cream, fried chicken livers, cheese curd and more. 
I topped off the weekend by stopping in Cambridge for their oyster fest.  The fritters were very tasty and my Rock Fish sandwich at the Portside Restaurant was delicious. Plus everywhere I went the locals and others were friendly. 
Hooper’s Island is at the roads (Md. Rt. 335) end. There’re many crab picking plants there and a high bridge that carries the traffic in and out that has a great view for a bicycler. I remember the old road, which was only inches above the water level and was submerged many times at high tide. The deli as you enter the town makes a great sub. I saw lots of juvenile Ospreys on a nest. I drove all the way to where the land ends and parked my nest for the night and spent my day riding my bike.
I passed on the Dew Tour this past weekend and went to the DelMarVa Chicken Festival in Snow Hill. I’ve been in and around the shore since 1978, but never to this Festival. I parked outside of town and walked to where I thought the Festival was downtown. There was a car show going on and a band was playing, but I couldn’t find any chicken. A guy walked up to me and asked, “Where’s the chicken?” I told him I was thinking the same thing, so I asked as teenager who was walking by. He said in the park, about a ten-minute walk away, and pointed the direction. I didn’t even know that part of the park along the Pocomoke River was there, so I headed that way.
There were arts & crafts being sold, carnival rides for the children, another band, and I heard an announcer talking about a chicken picking contest, so I wandered over there. Four people were rapidly deboning chickens. I’d photographed crab picking contests, but never a chicken pickin’ contest. They were too far apart to get them all in one photo, so I watched the ones in the middle. When the pickin’ time expired, the judges weighed the meat and I got a chance to look at each contestant.  One was very familiar. He was the only familiar face I’d seen and I knew this guy and probably you do too.  e was Ocean City’s own Senator Jim Mathias and he had the biggest pile of meat in his pan! He won.  He was the Champion! Now, when you need a superlative to call him, you can call him a Chicken Picker, and be right!
From there I drove my nest to my favorite spot in the Pocomoke Forest, took a nice walk amongst the trees, ate a chicken leg and thigh that had been fried in the world’s largest frying pan at the Festival, and spent the night in the silence of the forest. No skate board noise there. Sunday morning I headed for Marumsco Point, which is east of the Rumbley Maryland Ornithological Site, south of Crisfield and west of Pocomoke City right on the Chesapeake Bay. I parked and got out of my truck, walked about ten steps and dozens of green head flies descended on me for a feast. That changed my plans in a hurry. This is another one of those lands end places and road that most people say is to nowhere that I love, but I’d come back after the first frost in October! Hopefully the flies will be dead!
Then, I decided to find a place at the end of one of the roads that goes to Chincoteague Bay east of Snow Hill. I went to several, when I saw a flock of Glossy Ibis in breeding plumage near the end of a dirt road at the water’s edge at Pruitt’s Landing; I had another favorite spot!!! I got some tremendous photos of the Ibises, ate a bunch of steamed crabs, and some fresh DelMarValous sweet corn, watched a gorgeous sunset, then turned around, and watched the big orange full moon rise. DelMarValous sweet corn and other vegetables that are grown in that great sandy loam soil that surrounds Birch’s Produce Stand across from the O.C. airport on Rt. 611, can be purchased there.  See ya at CocoNuts, O.C. Wasabi’s, MRs, and of course Monday for the Deck Party @ Fager’s for Raymond’s BBQ Feast for only $6.50.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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