The Atlantic Hotel

The Atlantic Hotel, housing the Solstice Grill dominates the center of town on Main Street in Berlin. (DOUG KAPUSTIN, Baltimore Sun / May 1, 2008)

Go here: Berlin, only seven miles west of Ocean City, is an antidote to a vacation overdose of sun, saltwater and mindless fun. The quiet, tree-lined streets of the town's historic district have a multitude of shops, art galleries and antique stores. The town is so picturesque it was chosen as the location for the filming of Runaway Bride and Tuck Everlasting. Berlin's historic district is lovely but small; it can easily be covered on foot in an afternoon, although you could linger there much longer if you have more time. If it's history that interests you, the National Register of Historic Places lists 47 buildings in Berlin, including the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum, the early-17th-century house with period furnishings and Berlin memorabilia that is the town's official museum. You can rent an audio walking tour from the Globe Theater.

Stay here: The Atlantic Hotel, 2 N. Main St.; 410-641-3589. This renovated historic hotel has 16 rooms decorated in Victorian splendor. Some rooms have claw-foot tubs. Standard room rates start at about $75.

Eat here: The Solstice Grill. Have lunch at the nicest restaurant in Berlin, in the dining room of the Atlantic Hotel. Solstice offers a serene, light-filled setting and a seasonal menu, with dishes such as fire-roasted asparagus, grilled ahi tuna sandwich, and shrimp and grits. For dessert, walk a few blocks up Main Street to Pink Box Bakery for a cookie and a cup of coffee, or just to see this charming bakery, which looks like a confection itself. Inside are gifts and baked goods, including regional specialties such as sweet potato biscuits and Smith Island Cake.

Shop here: Treasure Chest, 20 N. Main St.; 410-641-0333. Step into the past when you step into this family-owned and -operated jewelry store that's been around for more than 30 years. It's one of Berlin's cornerstone businesses. Baltimoreans visiting the beach have been coming here for decades to get their jewelry repaired. Treasure Chest specializes in diamonds and other gemstones and baby gifts.

Don't miss this: Stuarts' Antique, 5 Pitts St., 410-641-0435. While there's plenty of antiquing to be done in Berlin, this is the one shop you must not miss if you're interested in 18th- and 19th-century antiques. Here you'll find an impressive collection of oyster plates, Staffordshire figures, Mary Frances purses and majolica. Stuarts' is also known for its watch repair and silver and brass cleaning, and its customers for these services come from Berlin and beyond.

Get here: Berlin is about 135 miles from Baltimore, less than a three-hour drive. Take the Bay Bridge and follow U.S. 50 east toward Ocean City.

For more information, go to Berlin Chamber of Commerce.