The Centrevillain

Mary McCarthy

"a funky blog about life in downtown Centreville, the capital of Queen Anne's County on Maryland's Eastern Shore"

Mary McCarthyMary McCarthy
Pajamas and Coffee Blog
Mary McCarthy is a local writer, former newspaper columnist and former member of the Centreville Town Council. She lives on Chesterfield Avenue with her husband and four children in beautiful downtown Centreville, in the centre of the Eastern Shore.

Mary has written for a number of national and local publications, including the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Victorian Homes magazine, and What's Up Eastern Shore where she worked as Managing Editor. She is the author of Cape May for All Seasons and Adult Halloween Parties, and is also the Home Management Feature Writer at Suite101.com.

Her personal humor blog can be found at www.pajamasandcoffee.com.

Centreville's Jumping Jack

by Mary McCarthy

If you frequent downtown Centreville, you've probably seen him. At first, he appears to be walking beside his owner but soon you notice him jump vertically into the air. Vertically...as in STRAIGHT UP!
jumping jack
This aerial canine is known as Jumping Jack, owned by the Gearharts on Chesterfield Avenue (he's shown in the pictures with his mom Trish). Believe it or not, he's 4 years old. The family adopted him to join their other dog Molly, a cocker spaniel, from the Caroline County Humane Society. What kind of breed is he?

Owner Paul says,

"People often ask or try to guess what kind of dog he is.  He obviovously has some terrier in him.  Maybe some aikido too because of his curved tail.  We often tell stories about our mix breed dogs and for jack we often use the Jumping Japanese Terrier story.   They are quite rare because during the famine many of them were eaten, however Zen Monks took the breed in and some have survived to this day!  Most people have never seen one."

Kids in town love Jumping Jack. They always ask why he jumps. Paul says,
"The jumping is something that he has always done and we don't know why.  Why do teen age boys jump up and down on their skateboards?  It is the same maybe for Jack the Jumping Dog of Centreville."

Well it's no doubt that Jack is quickly become the energetic mascot of downtown Centreville; he brings a smile to all who see him.

Jump on , Jack!

FAIR ENOUGH! (Queen Anne's Fair, That is!)

by Mary McCarthy
As we all know from Charlotte's Web, a fair is a veritable smorgasbord (orgasbord).
And this week is the long-awaited Queen Anne's County fair week! Due to an ill-timed vacation, I am going to miss the fair this week and do you know why this makes me excruciatingly sad? Because I was asked to judge. THE COOKIES! I am doing that smack-in-the-head "I coulda had a V8" thing, because I had the chance to judge the fair one other time. But it was the breads and this time I got promoted to COOKIES and uggghhh I promised them I'd time my vaca better next year!

If you haven't seen the fair schedule, here are some highlights of the things that are my QAC Fair faves:

Um- the food! Hello! This lineup ensures no one will have to cook at home for a while week!

Monday Aug 10:
Pit Ham Dinner 4-7 p.m.
Tuesday Aug 11: Crab Cake Dinner 4-7 p.m.
Wednesday Aug 12: Chicken Barbeque Dinner 4-7 p.m.
Thursday Aug 13: Pork Barbeque Dinner 4-7 p.m.
Friday Aug 14: Barbeque Beef Dinner 4-7 p.m.

Hayden's Alley: In Search of a New Business

by Mary McCarthy

Probably the saddest thing in Centreville at the moment is the fact that our adorable coffee shop (once Hayden's Alley, then JPJ Coffee) is vacant. Now, fortunately, we have Sugar Magnolia downtown, so local employers and employees can get their caffeine fixes.

But once upon a time Hayden's Alley carried yummy, yummy pastries from Village Bakery up in Chestertown and I used to love me some Apple Fritter. I actually remember walking up there and getting warm muffins out of the boxes when the delivery truck came from Chestertown. Heaven.

Before Hayden's, the Commerce Street shop was actually a liquor store, and I used to love walking up there for a bottle of wine for dinner. But having the cute historic building (with its cool upstairs views of the courthouse) closed is a sad state of affairs. (Probably the only thing sadder in town is the UGLY ELECTRIC LINES than run down our National Historic District main street!)

I am hopeful someone will come along and transform Haydens once again into a thriving downtown business, like Serendipidee and Belle Maison are. Thank God there's always lunch at Julia's! I am headed there today because I would kill or die for the Crab and Avocado Salad that David so expertly prepares.

Bowling For Hollahs

Queen Anne's Bowlingby Mary McCarthy

I love bowling. Although I often find myself to be a sub-par soccer mom, I loved the time I was a Bowling Mom. If you can sit in an air conditioned building and eat a sausage, cheese and fried egg sandwich or even order a beer while watching your kids play their sport, you have hit Sports Parent Paydirt! The kids duckpin bowling league in the fall takes place on Saturday mornings and is lots of fun.

The Queen Anne’s Bowling Centre is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Centreville- about 10 miles up the road on Rt. 213 North. It’s a great place for indoor birthday parties, but my favorite thing to do with the kids is go up there on a summer Wednesday evening. From 5 to 10 pm on Wednesdays, it’s Family Night. This means that, for $9 a person, you get 2 games of bowling, 2 slices of pizza, a soda and bowling shoes. So a family of four gets a night out together for $36- not including the all-important Ms. Pac Man quarters or a candy bar from the machine!


Centreville Alive!

by Mary McCarthy
Centreville Alive is - well, alive and kicking. The Block Party last Friday night was FANTASTIC! Attended by several hundred citizens of our lovely burb, the event was coordinated and DJ’ed by Bob at Optical Galleria along with his great crew of downtown businesses and residents.

Water Street was closed between Liberty and Commerce and there was a stage featuring the band Flashback (with guitarist Rick from Edwards Pharmacy!) and even a dance floor. There were dance contests, hula hoop contests, and costume contests. Not a lot of people dressed up, which helped my chances of winning- which I did with my sorta outlandish looking 80s attire. I was the only one ‘representin’ the decade, so I proudly bore my Boy Toy belt buckle, yellow Ray Bans and vintage Ms. Pan Man shirt. My prize was donated by Price and Gannon and is a FANTASTIC gardening set- how’d they know I’m a gardener?!

Costume Party in Centreville!

by Mary McCarthy
Ooh, DRESS-UPS, everybody! This is so exciting for lil old downtown Cville, especially in the middle of the summer when we are all sort of ‘blah’ (and I’m all sort of ‘WHEN DOES SCHOOL START?!’).

DO.NOT.MISS the Centreville BLOCK PARTY this Friday night, July 17 from 6:30-9pm on West Water Street in the block in front of Optical Galleria and Cottage Cuts. The street will be closed to traffic (cool!) and the theme is “Flashback to Days Gone By.” The event is being held by CENTREVILLE ALIVE! (sorry- it just begs for capital letters and an exclamation point) which is a cool local group dedicated to revitalizing downtown Centreville (hopefully their mission #1 is getting somebody back into the old Hayden’s Alley Coffee Shop building! And then maybe changing the lame outdated "Welcome to Centreville" sign that still hangs on the side of the Centreville National Bank building.)

There will be vintage cars, a Hula Hoop contest (in which I will- er- NOT be participating!) and a band called, appropriately, FLASHBACK. Best part of the Block Party Friday night, though? THE COSTUME CONTEST! I usually have to wait until my killer Halloween party to see grown-ups all decked out in costume finery, but this Halloween-in-July event means we can all rock our favorite decade in history- for prizes!

Summer Fun on the Mid Shore!

by Mary McCarthy
Had a fantastic opportunity the other night to attend a cool waterfront summer concert in Georgetown. If you haven’t been over to the
http://www.kittyknight.com/[_new]Kitty Knight House (far up 213N, after Galena), for God’s sake, GO. You can bring the kids, the outdoor waterfront dining area is fabulous. The views of the Sassafrass River are gorgeous- there’s a huge marina, ice cream shop, pool, and of course - a waterfront bar!

I was invited by my pals from Jack the Penguin. In case you have not heard of them, these are a bunch of guys from Northbrook- that’s right, the subdivision here in little Cville has produced this fantastic, laid back, coolio little band. They sing Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brian Adams, Jimmy Buffett, you name it. In fact, they sing Def Leppard by request- the form of my request this past weekend was a cloth napkin on which I had written, IN KETCHUP, “Def.” (They do a sweet acoustic version of “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”) Their motto, if you check out their
http://www.myspace.com/jackthep[_new]Myspace page, is “Music For Drunk Girls To Dance To, Since 2003.”


by Mary McCarthy
If you are a newcomer to Centreville, you will need a little vocabulary lesson. We moved to Cville in 2001, then I served on the Centreville Town Council (2004-2007), so the last 8 years have offered ample opportunity for me to learn the lingo of the land. Here’s a little list to help you get started:

Chicken Necker: This means, according to Urban Dictionary:

“Slang commonly used on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to describe a tourist or someone who is not from that area. Comes from the practice of using chicken necks as crab bait.

Eg: These g.d. chicken neckers always turn 50/301 into a parking lot during weekends in July.”

Although I do not use chicken necks to catch crabs (my preferred method is driving to a crab seller and catching them in brown paper bags), I am considered a chicken necker because I do not have three or more generations of family members in an Eastern Shore cemetery. I embrace my chicken necker-ality. If you complain about something in Centreville, natives are happy to remind chicken neckers that ‘the bridge is free on the way back.’

Things to Love in Downtown Centreville

by Mary McCarthy
I’m completely prejudiced. I moved my family here from Frederick because I wanted to live in a cool downtown, where I could walk to get a loaf of bread, my kids could ride bikes to the library, and neighbors pass by your front porch and say ‘hey.’

So I love downtown Centreville. Love. It.

What’s to love?

The town, founded in 1794, is laid out around the oldest courthouse in continuous operation in the state of Maryland. We have a fantastic collection of Colonial and Victorian architecture, from which I was pleased to create a National Register Historic District for the town in 2004, so that historic property owners (um, that’s owners of historic houses, though I am starting to feel a bit historical myself since I turned 40 last month!) could take advantage of the state historic tax credits for rehabilitation.

Cool Picnic Spots

by Mary McCarthy
Hey, welcome back, fellow Centrevillains!

This week, in honor of the end of the traditional school season (and the potential cries of “I’m bored!”) , we’re going to take a look at a few quick family summer picnic spots, each within a half hour of our lovely hometown of Centreville, Maryland.

Wye? Wye Not!

It’s one of the best-kept secrets of our local area, but have you had a chance to take your friend/family/self-and-book by the town of Wye Mills lately? It’s less than 15 minutes from downtown Centreville (take Rt 213, past Rt 50, and left when Rt 213 ends at Rt 662 in Wye Mills). You can park at the little fishing pond, visit the historic working Wye Mill, check out the site where the Wye Oak fell, and definitely stop at the Wye Mill Country Store, next to the post office, for sandwiches and snacks. You can have a picnic on one of the picnic tables under the trees behind the Wye Mill, with the stream babbling beside you. Don’t forget to watch the old waterwheel turn at the mill, and you can buy the fresh-ground flour and cornmeal! Also nearby (at the end of Carmichael Road) is Wye Island National Park, which has trails, fishing spots, and a tiny beach park at the end of a long wooded trail.

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