Explore the lesser-known delights! Uncover exciting things to do in Denton, MD, a small town hidden gem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Caroline County. I visit the Eastern Shore at least once yearly, and the often-overlooked Caroline County is my newest discovery. You’ll love the small-town vibes!
Hit the Highlights
I hope you can spend a day or two exploring Caroline County, but if you only have time for a taste, here are my favorite things to do in Denton, MD, and nearby.
- Explore the public art in downtown Denton.
- Explore the Choptank River.
- Stroll through Adkins Arboretum in nearby Ridgely.
Explore the Denton Artsway
The 90-acre Denton Artsway is downtown Denton’s state-designated Arts & Entertainment District, brimming with diverse public art. Discover colorful murals, mosaics, intriguing sculptures, and unique galleries and shops.
Meet the Musician and the Muses
Hanging out on the front porch steps of the Foundry—an art gallery also on my list of things to do in Denton MD (see below)—is The Musician, a life-sized metal sculpture plucking the strings of a mosaic guitar. It makes for a great photo op!
Off to his right, you’ll see The Muse, another figure molded from baling wire gracefully leaning back against a mosaic-adorned tree with arms reaching skyward. The nearby metal bench has two additional muses incorporated into its design.
These may be my favorite pieces of art in Denton!
Marvel at the Mosaics, Murals, and Birdhouses
The Caroline County Council of Arts (CCCA) is behind Denton’s many public art projects. They also host frequent classes and events—last fall, they had a sugar skull and pumpkin mosaic class!
Community mosaic murals are in the Denton Community Demonstration Garden and Pathways area.
Watch for the charming birdhouses scattered around Market Street and Courthouse Green. They’re the handiwork of talented local artists!
Explore Fiber Arts
The Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES) offers a cozy spot for all things fiber-related. With its ever-changing gallery exhibits featuring national collections and local artists like Alice Kish, it brings the historical and contemporary fiber arts world to life.
Beyond its gallery, FACES offers a wide range of hands-on classes catering to beginners and expert crafters, such as crochet, embroidery, needlepoint, knitting, and quilting. (Since visiting the Virginia Quilt Museum: Where Tradition Meets Trend, I’ve been crushin’ on quilts, and I’m so tempted to take a beginner’s class.)
Also, in conjunction with the Stitching Stories of Freedom Byways Quilt Trail, they offer a series of monthly Harriet Tubman quilt classes where they create two quilt blocks per class. The series also includes a field trip to see the barn quilts on the trail!
Go Gallery Hopping
Pop into the Foundry Art Gallery and gift shop, where you’ll find works of art from over 40 local artists, including a monthly featured artist. The gallery is bursting with creativity, from paintings to sculptures and everything in between. The gallery also offers ongoing classes and workshops.
Just a stone’s throw away lies Jan Baker’s charming 4th Street Gallery, showcasing rotating exhibits and beautiful artwork for sale.
Explore the Choptank River’s Charm
I recommend parking at the Wharves of Choptank Visitor Center. It’s the perfect place to learn about the best things to do in Denton MD and Caroline County, but it’s also home to a boat launch and nature trail and has a wraparound deck with an expansive view.
NOTE: The visitor center hours are currently limited to Wednesday-Friday, 9:30 AM-4:30 PM, but you can park there anytime.
I strolled along the banks of the Choptank River to explore interpretive signs and admire the murals beneath the bridge. These murals showcase the historic Avalon and Joppa steamboats, once prominent vessels that navigated this river.
If you prefer to be ON the water, hop aboard the Ellen B pontoon boat with River City Cruise Co. for a relaxing two-hour sightseeing cruise along the Upper Choptank River. The Captain and crew will share fascinating historical tidbits and highlight wildlife sightings while you enjoy the natural beauty. Snacks are available on board during river run cruises.
Delve into Denton’s Rural Roots at the Museum of Rural Life
The Museum of Rural Life provides a peek into the historical lifestyles of rural Caroline County. Visitors can explore the Taylor-Brown House, Painter’s Range log cabin, and portions of the Chance’s Desire and Skillington’s Right historic homes. Unfortunately, I visited mid-week, and the museum is open only on Saturdays, so I couldn’t see it. Check current hours.
Feast on Flavorful Finds
Indulge in delicious made-from-scratch pastries and freshly roasted Night Kitchen Coffee at Craft Bakery & Cafe. During our visit, I couldn’t resist trying their BLT on basil and rosemary focaccia bread, paired with refreshing peach iced tea, and it was absolutely phenomenal. Keep in mind that the bakery operates seasonally, so plan your visit accordingly for a culinary treat!
Alternatively, just down the street, you’ll find Earth Tones, a vegetarian cafe serving various options, including vegan and gluten-free dishes.
Hike the Trails at Adkins Arboretum
Crossing the picturesque bridge at Adkin’s Arboretum, I was awed by this sprawling 400-acre native plant arboretum. The view from the bridge was spectacular!
At the visitor center, I found informative boards highlighting the local bird species and the current blooming plants. Inside, the gallery has rotating nature-themed exhibits, a big library, and a gift shop.
Behind the visitor center, there’s an adorable gnome home perfect for selfies and Instagram.
More than five miles of trails wander through native landscapes—wetlands, woodlands, and meadows—filled with native plants.
We strolled through the meadow and onto the Blockston Branch Loop, but a sudden downpour cut our fun day short, and we had to run back to the nature center.
Within a 5-10 minute walk from the visitor center, you’ll discover various intriguing attractions: goats and a play garden, a serene wetland boardwalk, First Light Village, and a cozy picnic pavilion. The trails cater to both hikers and bikers and if you’re up for more adventure, the valley trails seamlessly extend into Tuckahoe State Park.
Address: 12610 Eveland Road, Ridgely, MD
Hours: The visitor center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset. (If entrance gates are closed, visitors may park alongside the road and walk in.)
Admission: Adults $5, Youth $2, Ages 5 & under free.
Pets: Dogs on leashes are allowed on all trails, and horses are welcome on the Tuckahoe Multi-Use Trail.
Hit the Trails at the State Parks
Explore Tuckahoe State Park’s picturesque landscape with over 20 miles of scenic trails, ideal for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The park also offers opportunities for canoeing and fishing on its tranquil lake. Nearby, Martinak State Park, nestled along the Choptank River and Watts Creek, also offers picturesque hiking trails for exploration.
Follow the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway winds through Maryland’s Eastern Shore and guides travelers along the paths Harriet once traveled to lead enslaved individuals to freedom. While you may be familiar with the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center in nearby Dorchester County, Caroline County offers its own array of historical sites waiting to be discovered. Delve into the lesser-known but equally significant stops along the byway, each offering a unique glimpse into the Underground Railroad’s profound legacy. Download a driving tour map here.
Explore Artsway Special Events and Festivals in the Town of Denton
This list of ongoing things to do in Denton MD will keep you busy year-round!
- Farmers Market: Wednesdays from 4:30-6 PM March through September (at the corner of Market St. and 3rd St.) It’s a great way to stock up and treat yourself to fresh produce, meat, baked treats, and more from local businesses.
- Second Saturdays: Free artist-led demos and activities every second Saturday from 2-4 pm.
- Third Thursdays: Extended shop hours, specials, Open Air Market, live music, plein air painting, and Corn Hole competition during summer evenings.
- Friday Nite Cruise-In: Mix and mingle on summer’s second Friday on Market Street with music, food vendors, and classic cars.
- Miracle on Market Street: Seasonal activities, local crafts, and shop specials during the holiday shopping season.
- Summerfest: Free family festival in historic Denton with live entertainment, arts, car show, fireworks, and tasty treats. Takes place on the third Friday and Saturday of August.
- Supper at Sunset: Dine under the stars on Market Street. Scheduled for a Saturday evening in September.
- Spring Thing: Free community arts festival before Mother’s Day, featuring local artists, live entertainment, art activities, and delicious snacks.