From Ocean City, the route turns inland around Assateague Island and Chincoteague Bay, following US-50 west for eight miles, then turning south on US-113 through the dark cypress swamps along the Pocomoke River. Just southwest of the US-50/113 junction, the remarkably well-preserved town of Berlin offers a look back at a slower-paced era. Redbrick buildings house antiques shops around the 1890s landmark Atlantic Hotel (2 N. Main St., 410/641-3589, $89 and up), where the rocking chairs along the open-air front porch all but demand that you sit and stay awhile. Inside, the stylish Drummer’s Café (daily from 11am) may tempt you to alter your travel plans so you can enjoy the delicious local seafood.

Another 15 miles southwest of Ocean City, detour west from the highway to take a look at the 250-year-old town of Snow Hill (pop. 2,103). The Julia A. Purnell Museum (208 W. Market St., Tues.-Sun., $3 adults), housed in an old church, features a range of exhibits tracing Eastern Shore history, and around 10,000 artifacts and ephemera are on rotation. Pick up a walking-tour map of Snow Hill’s many significant structures, or if the weather is fine, paddle a canoe or a kayak through the surrounding wild cypress swamps with the Pocomoke River Canoe and Kayak (2 River St., 410/632-3971), next to the drawbridge.