Watch Impressionist Painters in Action
You can see their landscapes unfold before your very eyes during the annual Plein Air Easton festival in Easton, Maryland.
If You Go
Easton’s deep culinary offerings will set any foodie’s heart aflutter. Out of the Fire (outofthefire.com) offers sustainable fare with a Mediterranean flare and fabulous stone-baked pizzas. Sunflowers & Greens (sunflowersandgreens.com) serves inventive salads, wraps and desserts at lunchtime. Eating Easton offers three-hour culinary tours on Saturdays ($59) that include behind-the-scenes looks and menu sampling at four Easton restaurants (www.eatingeaston.com). Rise Up Coffee Roasters (riseupcoffee.com), a small-batch, organic roaster in a refurbished former gas station, serves one of the best brews around. (I always bring a few bags home.) Mad Eggs (a food truck next to Rise Up) makes outstanding burritos and breakfast sandwiches.
Galleries and Shopping
Galleries abound on Easton’s charming streets, including those owned by local artists David Grafton (www.graftonart.com) and Betty Huang (www.studiobartgallery.com); and one that represents PAE co-founder Nancy Tankersley (www.southstreetartgallery.com). From April through December, enjoy gallery openings from 5 to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. Easton is also home to charming boutiques like Chef & Shower (chefandshower.com), a purveyor of clever kitchen and bath accessories, and Dwelling & Design (dwellinganddesign.com), whose sunny showroom and whimsical light fixtures will inspire you.
Centrally located, the Tidewater Inn (tidewaterinn.com) recently upgraded its rooms, as well as its Hunters’ Tavern, which includes a spacious and friendly bar area with tasty appetizers. The grand Colonial Revival Inn at 202 Dover (www.innat202dover.com) offers elegant rooms with a full breakfast, and the formal Peacock Restaurant, along with a garden to unwind in. Bartlett Pear Inn (www.bartlettpearinn.com) features bright, minimalist rooms and includes breakfast.
Plein Air Easton
This year’s 13th annual PAE festival is July 17-23. It’s run by the nonprofit Avalon Foundation, whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Easton and its environs. The Quick Draw is from 10 a.m. to noon July 22, but be sure to check out the full schedule for other chances to chat with artists and buy paintings, including painting days in both Oxford and Easton. New this year is an opportunity to paint side-by-side with many of the PAE painters during the first “Nocturne Paint Out,” from 8 to 10 p.m. July 19. There’s also a special Quick Draw event for artists 18 and under that takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 23. pleinaireaston.com
Art lovers also won’t want to miss the Local Color juried (by previous PAE winners) show and sale (July 21-23), featuring works by 42 mid-Atlantic artists on display at the Tidewater Inn, with pieces that are generally more affordable than those at PAE. Over the final weekend, an Artisans Market in Easton showcases artists working in other mediums, such as driftwood, glass and metal.
Arlington writer Amy Brecount White hopes to return to PAE one of these years to watch her daughter paint in the Quick Draw competition.