Muskrat Dive

Muskrat dive: Come and see Marshall Muskrat dive into 2020 from the top of a zip line!/Somerset

This New Year’s Eve, how about diving into 2020?

Join Marshall Muskrat, Princess Anne’s official New Year’s Eve stuffed mascot outfitted in his green top hat and silk cape as he dives down a zip line into the new year. If a bucolic small-town weekend sounds like your cup of tea, Princess Anne has two holiday weekends to choose from.

The weekend of Dec. 6-8 kicks off the community’s holiday celebrations. “It’s a busy weekend in Princess Anne,” said Sharon Upton, of the Somerset County Historical Society.

Festivities start off with the annual tree lighting on the courthouse lawn at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m., Santa and lots of his friends will start off the day with a parade. A historical house tour will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, 1-5:30 p.m. It will feature Teackle Mansion, a neoclassical masterpiece built in 1802, as well as 10 other houses in Princess Anne, the historic police station and several churches.

Of special note is the addition of Beverly of Maryland, a Federal style brick home listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Upton said it hasn’t been open to the public in a long time.

Tickets are $15 and available on the day of the tour at Somerset Choice Station Antiques, an antique shop located in a restored Texaco station run by volunteers to benefit the historical society and Teackle Mansion.

“We have plenty of tickets,” Upton said.

That night, Teackle Mansion, complete with holiday decor, will be the site of a reception 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $50.

For information on either the house tour or reception, call (410) 651-2238.

Sunday, Dec. 8, is Community Day at the Teackle Mansion. From 3 to 5 p.m., visitors can stop by for a peek at the house, bring their kids to see Santa or try a historical game. “It’s the first time we’ve done it,” Upton said. And it’s free.

Everybody turns out for the New Year’s Party in downtown Princess Anne. Beginning at 9 p.m., the free celebration includes entertainment and local delicacies, including fresh Chesapeake oysters shucked by a local waterman and Somerset’s famous Smith Island cake. Everybody will get the usual party noisemakers and hats, too, according to Carrie Samis, Main Street Princess Anne’s manager.

There will even be a muskrat tasting. “People should at least get to try it if they want to,” Samis said.

Turn it into an overnight or weekend getaway by booking a stay in the historic Washington Inn or the newly-opened Princess Anne Booklovers Inn.

To make a reservation for dinner or a room at the historic Washington Inn, go to washingtoninnandtavern.com. (George Washington really did stop here.)

For details on the new B&B, go to princessannebookloversinn.com. The rooms are named for great writers, including Jane Austen and Langston Hughes. The inn also has a three-table English Tea Cafe, so small reservations are required. Call (646) 707-5820.

The historic downtown has seen a few new shops opening in the past few months, and offers some tempting dining choices, including the Washington Inn and Tavern. “It’s a good place for antiquing,” Samis noted.

“Princess Anne is only 15 minutes from great things,” she added. It’s 15 minutes from Salisbury. “Head west and you can have your toes in the Chesapeake in 20 minutes.

Janes Island State Park is a 2,900-acre park known for its Chesapeake vistas, water trails and pristine beaches. For information go to dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/janesisland.aspx or

Learn about all the area’s biking, hiking, paddling and golfing delights outlined in the Somerset County Trail Mix. Go to somersettrailmix.com.

For information on Princess Anne’s tree lighting and parade, visit mainstreetprincessanne.org.

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