Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Little Taste of Sunshines

A few Saturdays ago, after spending the day with my dear friend Connie, I headed back towards home for a local beach party in the quiet town of Leonardtown, Maryland.  Mr. Tide had phoned me as I was making my way back home to ask if I wanted to go to the party, and it sounded like great way to cap off a perfect day!

A bypass put in years ago, which re-routed traffic away from the historic downtown shopping district in Leonardtown, nearly sealed the town's fate.  But those who had grown up in the area refused to let that happen, and over the years small businesses, residents, and area officials have worked together to bring life back to this once booming small town.

And one of the ways they've sought to inject Leonardtown with a sense of community and economic welfare is to host several annual events which are centered around the town's square.  Vendors, musicians, and our local fire and rescue departments all gather on the square for the various events where fun can be had by all.

And although many of the original businesses are no longer located on the square in Leonardtown, many new and thriving ones have come in to take their place.   You can find everything from a local pub to a wonderful used book store.  And you can even find a place to take cooking lessons or purchase a piece of fine art created by local artisans.

And of course there are wonderful places to dine.  One of the new kids on the block, and a favorite for Mr. Tide and me, is The Front Porch.  It's located in a historic home once owned by the Sterling family, a prominent local name.  The house remained in the family for many generations until it was sold, completely renovated, and turned into a wonderful restaurant.

I love the casual family friendly atmosphere of The Front Porch.  The decor inside includes a trip down memory lane as the walls are filled with items and photos of Leonardtown from years gone by.  And I love this vintage bicycle with petunias spilling out of the basket!

And true to its name, The Front Porch does indeed have an inviting front porch where you can dine on great food or simply sit and have a drink overlooking the town.  And if you're feeling up to a little friendly competition, you can play a game or two of croquet on the restaurant's well manicured front lawn. 

By the time we arrived, the sun was getting low, but that didn't stop the children from having a fun time in the water provided by Leonardtown's Volunteer Fire Department.

And what kind of beach party would it be without some sand and water?!  It was a hot day that day so kids weren't the only ones enjoying the cool mist!

Crazy for Ewe is one of my favorite stores in town.  Not because I knit, but because the windows are adorned with the most wonderful sheep paintings!  It is a great knitting store to boot though, and they even offer lessons!

There are so many great places and cool old buildings in Leonardtown.  And the evening light was perfect!  Duke's, which was once a notorious watering hole (they had a drive-thru window where you could order a mixed drink!), is now home to Cafe Des Artistes, a wonderful French restaurant.  Owners Karleen and Loic Jaffres are gracious proprietors and their profiteroles are to die for!  And don't forget to try my personal favorite, the European style hot dog served in a banquette with yummy mustard from their lunch menu!

And Leonardtown is blessed with not one but several wonderful floral shops, so flowers are never hard to come by...my kind of town!
Even the bank is located in a gorgeous old building!  Unfortunately it's no longer locally owned and operated like so many banks which have fallen on hard times, but they can never take away the history and craftsmanship that went into the building itself.

And check out the beautiful Maryland seals that adorn its brick facade!  I have made many a deposit at this old bank when I worked for local attorneys in town many years ago during my summer breaks from college.

But it wasn't just the chance to wander around the historic old buildings, beautiful homes, say hi to our son, and to mingle with a lot of friends that brought us to Leonardtown that night.  We had heard from a reliable source that one of our favorite catering companies was going to be selling their wares at the beach party that night!

You see, we had it on good authority from our friend and painter extraordinaire Jeff (he's on the left in the blue shirt) that there would be yummy BBQ to be had!

Sunshines Catering is located in Hollywood, Maryland and is owned by Patrick T. Michael, but most people just call him Chef.  They are well known throughout southern Maryland for their delicious food, and the steady stream of customers buying their BBQ at the beach party was certainly happy to see them!

And if the heavenly smell of their BBQ and other yummy food doesn't help you find them, well you can always look for their one of a kind truck!

Imagine Jimmy Buffett and a pirate/artist/biker chick had a love child...that's Sunshines Catering.  Laid back, fun loving, and oh so good!

And waiting in line becomes a real treat when this great catering company is serving up the grub!  They don't just set up a booth, they do it in style!

I just love their quirky sense of humor and I'm not going to argue with a bull and a bun!

I will argue that the sliced beef BBQ, fries, and soda I had that evening were second to none though!

And that the artwork on their truck is amazing!

These folks agree too!

I'm pretty sure if there really are pirates with chests full of booty, then this must be the greatest booty of all!  If you are ever in the area, keep an eye out for the bright blue truck for your own little taste of Sunshines!

And if you live in the area and are in need of an amazing painter, email me and I'll give you Jeff's contact information.  Just don't become too popular Jeff or I won't have my favorite painter around when I need him! ;-)

There is so much more to the town of Leonardtown then what I've been able to show you here, so I hope that if you're ever in southern Maryland that you'll venture down this way and stop by for a visit!

Thank you everyone for your kind comments about Mary Beth's wonderful artwork in her son's nursery, I know it made her happy to see such lovely things said about the room she worked so hard on!


  1. You two kids
    are quite the
    social butterflies
    and I love flying
    along and seeing
    the sites! Looks
    like another fun
    day. What a sweet
    town, too!
    xx Suzanne

  2. Kat, that looks like a great town and what fun to have a beach party like that. Good food and fun nothing better than that at the end of summer.

  3. This looks like such a fun place and I love that the community all comes together. That BBQ must really be wonderful. Wish I had some. Thanks for the tour of your town. Hugs, Marty

  4. What a great little town!! I love to see things like this that can bring a town back together again, especially one with such history and personality!! I love the paintings on the truck, what a great catering service and amazing painter!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  5. I love to see a community drawing together like that. Kind of reminds me of the Mayberry days.

  6. Small towns always seem to have the best celebrations! That truck is awesome! It is great how the community worked together to bring life back to their town.

    Thanks for the tour!

    ~ Tracy

  7. What a wonderful town. Thanks as always for the tour - it's almost as good as being there in person! K xx

  8. I love your posts about areas near you. I'm a NY native that moved to Harford County a few years ago. This looks like a place I would love to visit. Thanks

  9. I love the art on the van. I am a motorcyle babe whether I want to be or not so why fight it? olive♥

  10. Great photos and commentary about a town that's coming around again. I love that little yarn shop!

  11. So sorry I missed it, thanks for making me feel like I was there.

  12. Hey Kat, Nice post, lots of fun and all that, but more importantly....could you please send me the handsome Jeff, Mr. painter extraordinaire?? Um, not how to reach him info...just him. :D

    Your ever crazy as usual friend, Jane T.

  13. This looks like just the kind of town we love to visit and would love to find to live in. Don't you wish you could visit all the cute little places all around the country...each so unique and special in their own way!

  14. Looks like a wonderful Maryland town, but then most of them are in Maryland... How I miss living in that state!


  15. That sounds like my kind of night out! Thanks for sharing that beautiful small town.

  16. Historic buildings, barbeque, and a YARN SHOP. This is definitely my kind of place!

  17. Kat, I love that town!! I want to go to that yarn store-I love the sheep paintings on the windows!!!

  18. What a fun place you live in Kat! That yarn shop certainly got my attention. And those graphics are really something on that BBQ truck. The historic buildings are really beautiful too. ~Lili


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