Monday, November 2, 2015

Maryland Small Town Takes the Cake

Berlin is the best, and I am not talking about the capital of Germany but the small town in Worcester County, Maryland.
Downtown Berlin, it even has those horse carriage rides

Having already been named the coolest town in America in 2014 (maybe for the ocean breezes that could reach this place located not far from Ocean City) it now tops the list of Travel World's ( 50 best small towns in America.

One could say that Hollywood did it. Ever since the movie Runaway Bride played here, the town had something to set itself apart from the masses and it played it up in a big way. The small town has a historic district, a commission overseeing it, a Main Street program, a safe streets program ("Walk Smart")  and a strategic plan that ranks preservation high on its list of goals.

Now Travel World has this to say about the place:

Berlin, Maryland
Population: 4,600
Berlin is known for its beautiful Victorian town center; 47 individual structures in Berlin are noted in the National Register of Historic Places. It has gorgeous tree lined streets, and fantastic shopping and dining including wine bars, breweries, cafes and restaurants. The town also boasts everything from modern boutiques and upscale art galleries that contract from Sotheby's, tea rooms, soap and sundries shops to the largest collection of antique shops on the Eastern Shore. The people are friendly, the food is delicious, the atmosphere is infectiously gregarious!
Just last week Berlin had received a sustainability award at the Maryland Municipal League Conference. Berlin was the very first Maryland municipality to become Sustainable Maryland
Country music is a must in small town America
Certified when the program launched in 2012, and successfully became re-certified again this year.
The Berlin press release about the certificate boasts with these sustainability features which had been recognized:
  •  Home to a Maryland Green School: Berlin Intermediate School 
  •  Installed a 7 kilowatt wind turbine on town property, generating clean renewable energy 
  •  Provides Free Wi-Fi Connection to residents and visitors to the downtown 
  •  Established a stormwater utility fee to fund stormwater infrastructure improvements 
  •  Enacted a Residential Poultry Raising Policy to help foster local food production 
  •  Hosts an annual Peach Festival that highlights local food and heritage of the region 
  •  Provides a Workplace Wellness program for employees, offering Yoga, Blood Pressure     Screening, Flu Vaccines, Drug Screening and Exercise programs 
  •  Hosts 2nd Friday Art Strolls as part of a Buy Local campaign to bolster the local economy 
  •  Developed the Walkable-Bikeable Berlin/Assateague Gateway Corridor Trail project in partnership with the Lower Shore Land Trust, an initiative to plan and develop a network of walking and biking trails within the town and connecting the town with nearby amenities.

Sustainable Maryland is an initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland in support of Maryland's 157 municipalities and ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities by using best practices in resource areas like water, energy, planning, health, food, and economy, a municipality can earn points toward sustainability certification.

Berlin, MD is indeed worth a visit. 

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

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