North East is a village at the top of the Chesapeake Bay that’s shared by boutiques and fishermen. You can spend a pleasant day strolling through shops or hit the outdoor sports.
The town has about 2,000 residents and is only a few blocks wide, but even so it can be a fun day trip. The boutiques are in town and the sporting good shops are on the edge of the main shopping area.
The North East River starts north of here, flows through town and widens at the south end of town.
One side of main street is backed up to the scenic river. Actually, it’s a creek in this portion, but quickly pools into a river by time it’s on the other end of town.
North East has two parallel main drags — they’re both one way streets — Main Street going south through the downtown area and Mauldin Avenue taking you back north through mainly residential neighborhoods.
The two streets merge into Highway 272 like a Tootsie Roll at the north and south ends of town.
The town doesn’t dwell much on its history, but they’ve held on to their old general store and mill, along with other former trade buildings.
Those buildings are now shops and restaurants along Main Street, similar to what you’d find at Rehoboth and other small Delaware towns near the ocean.
The town has a number of historic homes, including the home of a former coffin maker and a combination inn/stage coach stop.
South of the downtown area on Main Street, you’ll come across two historic churches kitty-corner to each other: the colonial St. Mary Anne’s church which dates back 300 years and the 1903 craftsman-style North East United Methodist Church.
Both are still active churches.
St. Mary Anne’s has a lovely cemetery that dates back to the colonial days. Graves of Susquehannock Indians date back to the 1600s.
There’s a great view of North East Creek from the back of the cemetery.
Even though it seems like there should be a beach nearby — because it really does look like a beach town — there is no public access to the river until you go to the south end of town, and hang a right where the two streets merge.
That’s where you’ll find North East Community Park, a large beautiful park overlooking the river.
North East Community Park is well worth visiting.
It has 10 acres of waterfront park with a boat dock, kayak launch area, walking path, playground and picnic tables.
There’s no beach. The park is mainly for water views and fishing.
Inside the park, you’ll find the Upper Bay Museum, focusing on the region’s fishing and hunting heritage.
However, be aware that seeing the museum exhibits can be tricky. The volunteer-run museum doesn’t keep regular hours; it varies by season and other events going on in town.
Check the website or call before heading over if you want to visit.
Near the park’s boat dock is the Nauti Goose Restaurant and tiki bar, a summer hotspot with spitfire seafood and cocktails on the bay.
And as they point out, it’s one of the very few waterfront restaurants on the upper bay with ample car parking and boat docking.
The shopping area is easily walkable, but the riverfront park is about a mile down the road, so it’s better to cycle or drive over.
Basically, the community is a nice visit if you want to stroll through the shops and have a nice lunch or dinner, or spend the day on water activities and stop-off for a bite in town.