On a side street in a quaint historic town, sits a little shop.  On the sidewalk in front, is an Adirondack chair.  Initially, it looks like a really well made version of the popular coastal seat.  But upon it nests a placard with golden words, identifying the chair as an “Upcycled” Ocean City, Maryland boardwalk Adirondack.

The boards used to make the chair were reclaimed from the boardwalk replenishment project.  Which means that you could potentially own, and sit on a piece of the famed East Coast boardwalk for decades to come.  If you aren’t local to the area, it may be the perfect souvenir…actual pieces of the shore, on your lawn!  The makings of this chair have potentially lived through Nor-Easters and near miss hurricanes.  Meaning that the addition to your outdoor seating is actually built to last, and it tells a story.  It has a slightly hefty price tag for a souvenir, at $150 per chair, but is economical for the Adirondack market.

If the Adirondack is a bit too much, Heather Layton’s creative space and retail store, Bungalow Love, in Berlin, MD, just eight miles from Ocean City, has a surplus of other treasures, and every one of them tells a story.

Layton has a very welcoming personality, and so does every item in her store; they are all hand made and exude the character from which they came.  Layton started out making items at home, fueling her creative spirit.  Then she found like-minded people who did the same thing.  And she also tapped into her genes.  Layton’s people give new meaning to the term “incorporated;” all individually talented artisans providing one-of-a kind options for the store’s inventory.  Layton personally crafts A Mermaid’s Purse, her own line of jewelry.  She also re-purposes yard and estate sale items into store displays and one-of-a kind pieces.  Sister Kristie makes handbags and kids clothes (Kiki Burleigh); her uncle makes the Adirondack chairs, more family members assist in various ways.

Beyond those items, Bungalow Love is full of handmade goods from local merchants including three local art teachers.  Pocomoke soap is a popular sell. The soap is all natural, and each bar has a story of local history printed on the back.  Mermaid Boxes fly off the shelves, made from natural shells found on the Assateague Seashore. The photography of Cam Miller, featuring quintessential local scenes, are depicted on hand-tumbled marble coasters-much more useful and sustaining than a postcard.   Bungalow Love also carries “Pretty Pushers” and Elizabelle jewelry.  Both brands were created by Berlin, MD natives who have gone onto larger markets, but still look to Bungalow Love to sell their products locally.

In addition to local merchants, Layton handpicks artisans from around the world, who meet the Fair Trade agreement.  She is particularly passionate about selecting items that better the lives of women and children.  The Bridgewater Candle Company supports children in Africa.  Each candle sold feeds a child for one day.  The special “Mother Scent” candle feeds a child for a month.  Also of note are hand-knitted rugs made from saris created in India, Guatemalan loomed scarves, and beaded necklaces from Uganda, created by women with disabilities.

There’s no better way to commemorate a trip, than to leave with a souvenir crafted by a local.  Those who live here weave the tales of the shore; and Heather Layton is only too happy to share their wares, at Bungalow Love.

Bungalow Love

12 William St

Berlin, MD 21811

Visit the Bungalow Love website