By Stephanie Lipcius Palko
Tourists have a lot to enjoy in Cecil County with the many museums, restaurants, shops and special events.
During the month of May, the tourism office of the county’s Department of Economic Development showcases the benefits of tourism in the county.
Towns are always asked to join in this month-long celebration of tourism and the county will be issuing a proclamation that May is Tourism Month in the county.
“The theme for the month is ‘Blooming,’” said county Tourism Coordinator Sandy Turner.
“We hope that with the tourist season unrolling, it will spark people to say, ‘the weather is getting nicer, let’s get out and about.’”
The volunteer County Tourism Committee discussed putting the focus on the great outdoors for this May’s Tourism Month.
With so many events, each week has a special sub-theme.
This week, the spotlight is on Blossoming Gardens. The annual St. Mary Anne’s Garden Market in North East is May 4 and 5. Tourism officials ask people to visit the many gardens and garden-related businesses in the county. These include Sinking Springs herb garden and wooded trail and Mr. Harmon Plantation’s boxwood garden and trails. Looking ahead, there will be a Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage tour in Cecil County on May 20 and in June, the Secret Garden Tour is set for June 9 in North East.
The second week in May is Blossoming Adventures. Pick-Your-Own fruit places will be opening with strawberries soon. Fair Hill and Elk Neck state parks have opportunities to hike, bike, ride horses and fish. There are places to watch the wildlife in the county, paintball fields, foot golf, vintage baseball and the upcoming Fair Hill Scottish Games on May 19 and Fair Hill Races on May 26.
Week three in May is Blossoming Vines. There are several active wineries in the county – Dove Vally, Chateau Bu De and Broken Spoke. There is a tasting room in North East by Turkey Point Vineyard. Don’t forget the new Bayheads brewery in Chesapeake City with more brewery openings in the Elkton area soon.
The fourth week in May is Blossoming Taste Buds. It is time for deck dining in the towns and along the waterfront. Kilby Cream Ice Cream is open and North East Chocolates has locations in North East and Chesapeake City. There are bakeries in Elkton and North East – Spork and Sweet Spice Bake Shop. Enjoy the Chesapeake Bay cuisine.
The tourism office always puts up signs around the county proclaiming May as Tourism Month. This year, with help from Buttonwood Beach and the Elkton Alliance, there are some new, eye-catching signs. Feather signs, in a green color to showcase the outdoors theme, will be placed in several locations throughout the county.
The county tourism office is located along Main Street in downtown Elkton. Additionally, the office opens a satellite visitors center in downtown North East. The Santa House Visitors Center is expected to open in June this year, Turner said.
In addition to welcoming people to Cecil County through these visitors centers, Cecil County Tourism has launched a strategic plan, worked on marketing through print, digital, radio, billboard and other avenues and hosted a Bassmaster multi-day amateur regional tournament. Tourism held their annual awards breakfast last week. Cecil County Tourism had a booth at Fair Hill International and is planning a booth for the Fair Hill Races during the Memorial Day weekend. There is a project to get good quality food photos from local restaurants. They have also planned a hospitality roundtable for the latest Cecil Leadership class.