The Turning of the Tide

By Sandra Zunino

For luxury, romance and the grace of a bygone era, look no further than the heart of downtown Easton where the historic Tidewater Inn awaits.

On the corner of Dover and Harrison streets, across from the courthouse, the site was the location for the county’s original courthouse in 1712. The building now known as the Tidewater was built in1944 after original structure, the Avon Hotel, was decimated by fire. Because the Tidewater has maintained her architectural and historic integrity, she is member of the Historic Hotels of America.

After struggling financially over the last decade, The Tidewater now has new owners who are already breathing life into the historic icon. Managing General Partner of Tidewater Inn, LLC as well as Kent Island’s Chesapeake Bay Beach Club owner John Wilson is capitalizing on the Inn’s elegant setting as a venue for weddings and other special events.

“We are showcasing the Inn as a wedding destination because of her grandeur and location as the hub of beautiful surroundings,” says Diane Fitzgeralde, Director of Marketing. “Not only will we offer expert wedding guidance, we will be working in coordination with the support of the Beach Club.”

A breathtaking garden courtyard for intimate functions, stylish ballrooms, an onsite wedding planner, experienced culinary team and guest accommodations appointed in the hotel’s trademark old-world European style, make the Tidewater a tempting option for any bride. Facilities for meetings, conference rooms, banquet capabilities and modern amenities in all the hotel’s rooms appeal to businesses for corporate retreats as well.

Prior owners, the Carl M. Freeman Companies aka Eastern Shore Concessions LLC, made marked renovations and improvements to the hotel. New owners have been finishing up restoration work including a new green heating and air conditioning system. Also in the works was the newly opened Hunter’s Tavern. The Tavern serves as the hotel’s bar and restaurant focusing on high quality entrees in a casual setting.

Currently, the hotel’s 84 rooms offer luxurious comfort bedding, flat-screen televisions, and high-speed internet access blended with a charming atmosphere of antiquity. Plans are in the works to expand the hotels room capacity to 103 by utilizing the building’s fourth floor.

The true excitement will unfold in May with the reopening of the notorious Gold Room. Once the hotel’s grand ballroom, the Gold Room has been closed for years, possibly earmarked for a spa renovation by prior owners.  A cherished icon all its own, the Gold Room was once the premier place for  formal functions and has been visited by celebrities Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Tallulah Bankhead among others.

With a canopied entrance off Harrison Street, the ballroom with be restored to its former glory and able to accommodate parties of approximately 300.

While the Tidewater Inn’s location is central to many attractions from art galleries, museums, the Avalon Theatre and many Eastern Shore festivals, her picturesque lobby with sweeping circular staircase, wood burning fireplaces, elegant furnishing and coffered ceilings undoubtedly place her as center stage.  Thankfully, the Tidewater’s new ownership plans to keep it that way.

“From the beginning, Mr. Wilson and his group’s intent was not only to focus on the wedding market but also return the Tidewater back to the community as the cherished landmark for which is has been reputed,” says Diane.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-237-8775.