Broomes Island, Maryland
By Bob Tagert
With the dog days of summer upon us, I thought that a road trip to the cool fields and waters of Broomes Island, Maryland would be just the ticket. Broomes Island has long been a fun destination for northern Virginians and is only about a 45- minute drive away. Getting there is easy and requires only three roads and about the same amount of turns. Cross over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and take 495 to Route 4 south. After passing through Prince Frederick make a right on Broomes Island road. Follow to the end. Broomes Island lies between the Patuxent River and Island Creek.
Although the primary destination in Broomes Island is Stoney’s Seafood House and their famous Tiki Bar, I will start by mentioning a few other stops as well. After turning on to Broomes Island Road you will immediately come to a vegetable stand, which is loaded with fresh vegetables from a local farmer – Jake’s Produce & Linda’s Greenhouse. This is a great place to pick up vegetables for later consumption. The stand is usually pretty busy with cars pulling off on both sides of the road, so be careful.
Heading on down the road you will soon come to Nan’s Cove. This is where the Patuxent River comes closest to Broomes Island Road. There is a floating dock here, which is designed for the launching of canoes or kayaks. It is an ideal place to paddle in the cove or head out into the Patuxent. Boat traffic is light this far up the Patuxent so there is not much competition for water.
If you continue on Broomes Island Road you will soon come to Oyster House Road, which leads to Stoney’s. The restaurant sits alongside Island Creek with 180- degree water views. There is outdoor dining as well as a floating dining dock. There is ample dockage for those folks who come by water as well as tying up along the seawall that runs the length of the “Point.” The point is a beautifully landscaped piece of land that that is available for weddings, fund raisers, birthdays and special events.
A lot of folks up and down the river come to Stoney’s by boat, and I am one of them. It is a wonderful sailing destination and always worth the trip. The crown jewel of Stoney’s is the tiki bar that sits at the waters edge and is elevated for great views. It usually seems that everyone knows everyone else and I have made some great friends over the years. Besides the food and drink, the other reason for Stoney’s success is because of Jeanie Stone…owner and bartender. Jeanie is the glue that holds it all together. Over the years she has managed to have garnered the best workers and customers any establishment could ask for. One of the hardest working persons that I know, she is always in motion but is acutely aware of everything that is going on around her…and yes, she did hear your drink order!
The food at Stoney’s has always been good and sometimes great. It appears that a few years back the quality of the food slipped a bit, but that has long been corrected and Stoney’s is back on my list as having one of the best crab cakes in the Delmarva. Not only are he crab cakes great but the lightly breaded and fried Rockfish Bites are one of my favorites. Other delights are the crab soup, steamed Cherrystone clams and steamed shrimp, but my absolute favorite (besides the Meyers and OJ) is Stoney’s Steamer. Bring your appetite or a friend because this is a lot of delicious food. The steamer consists of 2–5oz. Lobster Tails, Half pound of steamed shrimp, Pound of Crab Legs, Cherrystones, Mussels, Crayfish, Corn and Oysters…all at market price. There is also a smaller version called Stoney’s Baby Steamer.
My first trip to Stoney’s was by car in the early 90’s and I have been going back ever since. The occasion for my first visit was a friend’s birthday party. This is when I discovered how many folks from northern Virginia made the drive to Broomes Island. It turned out that quite a few Virginians would get out of town early on Friday’s and make a dash for Stoney’s to kick-off the weekend.
Not far from Broomes Island and just down the river, you can visit Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. The 560- acre park has more than 70 identified archaeological sites, with current excavation and research being done. The land features 9,000 years of documented human occupation. The park has hiking, walking, and bike trails, a canoe and kayak launch, a visitor’s center with exhibits and a gift shop, an exhibit barn, a pavilion for event rentals, a recreated Indian village and a historic house.
The visitor’s center, located in a former cattle barn, features displays about the science of archaeology and the work being done on the property. The barn features a War of 1812 exhibit, displays of antique farm equipment and displays about the site’s archaeological and cultural history. He British and American troops encountered each other in nearby St. Leonard’s Creek during the War of 1812. Last year there was a re-enactment of that conflict staged at the park.
For those of you who might want to pick up a bottle of wine, there are two wineries near Broomes Island. The first is Running Hare Winery and the second is Perigeaux Vineyards and Winery. Each is close to Broomes Island but in opposite directions.
Broomes Island is a short drive from Virginia but it can seem like a world away from the hustle of the city. Take a drive and discover what is right around the corner.