‘Chesapeake Oyster Lovers’ Handbook’ explores vibrant regional oyster scene


Imagine bellying up to a bar where shuckers pry open shells and gently place a dozen shimmering oysters on a tray laden with ice. Tip back your head, take a slurp, and relish the briny taste of the sea. The new book Chesapeake Oyster Lovers’ Handbook takes you there.


This new travel guide sends oyster enthusiasts on a journey through Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, to sample the subtle flavors of this cherished Chesapeake delicacy. Written by authors of the popular series Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay, their latest book is the indispensable guide to everything oyster on the Bay.


“The Chesapeake Bay is experiencing an oyster boom time,” says co-author, Bill Wade. “Thanks to new oyster-growing techniques, the bivalve population is escalating and is available year-round, which debunks the myth that they’re only eaten in months with the letter ‘R’. As a result, exciting new oyster houses and brands are popping up at an astonishing rate in the region.”


Whether you prefer oysters with a cold beer at buck-a-shuck happy hours or fancy them with champagne at white-linen restaurants, this guide presents oyster houses that match every mood and budget. Destinations include 120+ hot spots in Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington, Virginia Beach, Alexandria, Norfolk, Cambridge, Easton, the Eastern Shore and more.


To help readers customize their oyster crawls, Chesapeake Oyster Lovers’ Handbook is divided into three regions:

  • MARYLAND: Baltimore, Northern Maryland, Annapolis, DC’s Maryland Suburbs & Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore
  • VIRGINIA: Northern Virginia, Virginia Peninsulas, Virginia Beach & Norfolk


The book profiles 120+ Chesapeake oyster houses with contact info, detailed maps, photographs and a unique Atmosphere Meter (ranging from a casual frosty beer mug to formal champagne flute). In-depth descriptions paint a vivid image of each restaurant’s décor, ambiance, cuisine and oyster specialties.


Additional sections in the handbook enhance your Bay oyster quest:


  • Chesapeake Aquafarms & Oyster Brands is an extensive list of 70+ Maryland and Virginia oyster growers and the brands they produce. They are categorized by a ground-breaking 13-zone system that describes their distinctive flavor profile and enables you order oysters like a pro.


  • Pearls of Wisdom presents interviews with people who have special expertise in oyster issues. Their insights cover topics ranging from Chesapeake oyster history and music to cocktails and family memories.


  • Index to Oyster Houses & Aquafarms consolidates oyster sources, and the Taste Chart features flavor profiles of 100+ Bay oyster brands.


Authors Bill and Susan Elnicki Wade who also wrote Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay, each have 20+ years experience in the publishing industry and live in the District of Columbia with their two sons and a rowdy Siberian husky.

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