Anyone know anything about the Eastern Shore of Maryland or southern Delaware?
February 12, 2007 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Anyone know anything about the Eastern Shore of Maryland or southern Delaware area?

My wife and I are relocating in six months around the area of Salisbury, Maryland or southern Delaware. While we have found all of the usual government sites on the area that make it sound like heaven on earth, we really want to hear from people who have been there or who live in the area. We hope to get any and all information about the area and Mefites are the only people I trust on the web:

Info Needed About:
*People/Culture—Will we be accepted by the locals if we are friendly? Will we never be able to fully connect?

*Maryland taxes—are they high? Cheaper to live in Delaware? Is there a commuting tax penalty?

*Areas with low crime near Salisbury (30-60 min commute o.k.) Any info on drug/gang activity? What towns should I avoid?

*Things to watch for if I’m buying a house there (Flooding? Strange molds? Etc…)

*General year round weather?

*Private/Public Schools in the area where I might enjoy employment as a teacher? Ones that I should run from?

*Any other information that you think a transplant might find useful.

Thanks, everyone. If I can’t count on you, I can’t count on anyone!
posted by boots77 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check out New Castle, Delaware. An achingly beautiful un-reconstructed port town that is quiet and friendly. Were it not for the automobile traffic, you'd swear you stepped into circa- 1830 southern England.
No gangs, little crime.
Population: 4800 (cozy!).
Avg. cost of a house (2000): $128,000 USD
Avg. income: $56,000 USD.
Median resident age: 39 years.
76% Caucasian, 24% African-American and 'other'.
Avg. Jan. temp.: 42 degrees.
Avg. July temp.: 83 degrees.
Easy access off of I-95-- Philly close by to the north, Baltimore to the south.
I'm not a Visitor's Center flack-- I've just always loved this little place!
Image-Google "New Castle, De" for a quick look at the colonial houses and pretty streets....
Then move there and invite me over!
Good luck!
posted by Dizzy at 6:39 AM on February 12, 2007

I lived in Delaware for three years, so here's my take, for what it's worth.

There's no sales tax, which is great, but if you are a resident, they make up the tax in other areas. Income tax is higher, and things like license plates cost more. We also noticed that, for some reason, auto insurance was much more expensive than we were used to.

I've heard from several long-term Delaware residents that there are "two" Delawares. "Above the canal" (northern quarter of the state) is considered urban. Think Philadelphia suburb. "Below the canal" is considered rural and backwards.

That being said, all of our trips to the Delaware coast were very pleasant. In the summer they get quite an influx of tourists, especially from D.C. The beaches are very nice and there is quite a variety in character from beach to beach (i.e. Rehoboth is more of a party beach town and Lewes is quieter).

Our experience with Delaware public schools was positive. However, that was in the northern part of the state (Newark, Wilmington).

Feel free to e-mail if you want any more info.
posted by Otis at 6:46 AM on February 12, 2007

Where are you from/where do you live now? It would help to know your basis for comparison.

I spent time in Salisbury with my grandparents when they were still alive. (My grandfather died over ten years ago, so my impressions are somewhat outdated, but still should hold some water.) The area has very strong roots in farming, and in the Chesapeake Bay. The Eastern Shore feels quite a bit more South than it is. Locals sometimes complain that Salisbury is very small-town -- my one pal calls it "Smallsbury" -- but like many similar areas, it is experiencing significant growth right now.

The traffic can be, um, challenging in the summer, as half the state heads for Ocean City, MD on the weekends. Summers are very humid. Winters are fairly mild, though they do get snow.
posted by desuetude at 8:07 AM on February 12, 2007

Maryland native here. Re Salisbury:

Culture: N/A

Imagine an area of dirt-poor farmland, invaded every summer by several hundred thousand of the less intellectually inclined members of Jimmy Buffett's audience, and you have the Eastern Shore.

Really, I'm from Baltimore, which is a cultural wasteland. But Baltimore is like New York, City, Paris and Milan rolled into one compared to the eastern shore.

But you can buy a "pickle in a pouch" in Salisbury. So it's got that going for it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:27 AM on February 12, 2007

Dizzy, New Castle is hardly Southern Delaware. It's a 2hr commute to Salisbury, at best. The only part of New Castle worth living in is the Historic Old New Castle district which is not cheap (>225K for a 2 bed one bath home in decent shape.) Surrounding areas can be very shady and that's what brings the mean house price that low.

True Southern (coastal) DE is a very seasonal area, very crowded during the summers and much less so in the winter. Lewis is a nice area on the DE bay and is a little older than the rest of the beach towns. Moving South is Rehoboth and is the main area in the summer time. It is a very gay friendly area and attracts all sorts of neat people. Just below Rehoboth is Dewy Beach. Dewey is a party town and that's about it. It's very small but makes up for that in it's quantity of summer rentals and bars. Dewey can be very loud and crazy all summer. As you keep moving south every thing seems to mellow until you get to Ocean City MD. Along the way is Fenwick Island, this is a very nice quite family town with a couple or restaurants and bars. Very nice Beaches with dunes, beach grass, and old WWII lookout towers.

I have been living in Northern DE for 19years, I am only familiar with Coastal southern DE. there are very nice inland areas. They are more rural, however there are more people moving inland as beach real estate becomes more expensive.
posted by Cool Alex at 8:58 AM on February 12, 2007

oh and Dizzy is right on about New Castle, just a little to far.
posted by Cool Alex at 9:00 AM on February 12, 2007

Cool Alex---
You are correct.
I didn't factor in the distance parameter, even though boots77 had it in his question.
boots77-- any chance you've access to a personal helicopter for your commute?
posted by Dizzy at 9:25 AM on February 12, 2007

I’m a little nervous moving because I don’t trust realtors and know that they will never totally tell me the truth about a house or region….they are only going to tell me what they want me to know. Any information is considered good here as I know nothing about the area.
posted by boots77 at 12:06 PM on February 12, 2007

I have friends in Seaford, DE. They live in a town that just drove the only Jewish family out because they wouldn't accept Jesus as their personal saviour. The town and surrounding area also stinks of rotted chicken guts. On the other hand, there are an awful lot of (very quiet) Wiccans around, and they finally got a Latino grocery store.
posted by QIbHom at 12:11 PM on February 12, 2007

Not too much more info here, except that I think the MD property taxes are just slightly higher than DE's. That was the impression I got when we were looking at houses in Cecil County, MD vs. New Castle County, DE. Rt. 50 is the main path for people in MD heading to the beach, so just be aware of that when you're considering your commute.

And chicken plants definitely smell terrible. Be sure to take a good whiff before you buy a house!

Two links that seemed generally helpful:


And a local news station:

Good luck!
posted by chrisubus at 1:00 PM on February 12, 2007

I have one friend from metro DC area who moved to Cambridge MD, west of Salisbury, a couple of years ago and loves it. She and her husband are artists, both with advanced degrees. I get the sense it's a small art scene, though.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:52 PM on February 12, 2007

Thank you, everyone!
posted by boots77 at 5:03 PM on February 12, 2007

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