100 miles from Philadelphia (2 hours by car)
At Old Gratitude, Mikey and Jamey greet all chicken-neckers — that’s local-speak for out-of-towners — with equal excitement. The two Westies, the inn’s official mascots, are super-welcoming, but innkeepers Sandy and Hank lend this old house on the Chesapeake Bay its real charm. Four sunny rooms have private porches (with bay views); the atmosphere around the house and grounds is peaceful and residential; and every morning starts with Sandy’s breakfast — baked pineapple, homemade banana-nut bread, crisp bacon, bismarcks with fresh strawberries — on the back deck. Hank talks town history (Rock Hall has remained a quaint little fishing and crabbing village since the early 18th century) as he clears plates and directs you to one of the Adirondack chairs, situated right on the water’s edge to soak up that glorious bay view — because, Sandy says, “You just gotta have gratitude in your life.”
Book it: 5944 Lawton Avenue, 410-639-7448, oldgratitudehouse.com.
Rate per night: Starts at $180 in peak season; 2-night minimum on weekends.
Snacks: Sodas, water, granola bars.
Meals on-site: Breakfast.
When in Maryland: There aren’t a whole lot of options when it comes to restaurants on this quiet stretch of the Chesapeake Bay. One local gem — the super-casual Waterman’s Crab House — serves up real, meaty, can’t-miss Maryland crabcakes (with a side of karaoke), among other seafood entrées.
While away the hours: Take advantage of the inn’s bikes and kayaks to explore nearby Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge or Tavern Creek.
Don’t miss: A sunset cruise aboard the Crab Imperial — home of the “bottomless margarita.” Sandy is happy to book your trip; just ask.