Mid-Atlantic Freelance Contest

This contest has ended. The winners are:

Contest Entries (45)

Won Writing Editor's Choice 2 for submitting on Batsto Historic Village in Hammonton, NJ as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Batsto Historic Village

The mention of American ghost towns conjures images of abandoned mining settlements in the Great Plains and Western states; a more unexpected example is nestled in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey’s Wharton State Forest. Batsto Village, founded in 1766 to mine iron ore bogs, became prominent during the Revolutionary War for producing cannons and munitions, and ceased operation in the early twentieth century. Wander over the dam and through the forest's footpaths to explore the town’s remains, which include wooden workers’ cottages, gristmill, blacksmith shop, and 32-room ironmaster’s mansion. Despite being a village devoid of a population, Batsto boasts one of the nation’s oldest operating post offices. Philatelists take note, they still hand-cancel all stamps.

March 8, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Chowning's Tavern in Colonial WIlliamsburg in Williamsburg, VA as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Chowning's Tavern

Colonial Williamsburg takes its time-traveler duties seriously. Sure, the CW folks aren’t the only ones in America brewing beer from 18th-century recipes, but they might be the only ones serving it in pottery. Like the rest of the colony, Chowning’s Tavern takes visitors back to the era of Revolution with its painstaking attention to detail, from rough-hewn wooden benches to flickering candles. Servers in colonial garb proffer a simple menu with offerings like “Peanut Soupe” and “Mrs. Campbell’s Crab Cakes.” Between courses, a minstrel serenades eaters with period drinking songs and magic tricks. Top off the evening with a(nother) foamy pint of Josiah’s Ale, served in a mug modeled off those made when the British were coming.

February 28, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Thai X-Ing in Washington D.C., DC as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Thai X-Ing

Picture the basement of your quirkiest relative. There are piles of books, some plastic doo-dads, faded rugs, maybe a typewriter jutting off a shelf. Now throw in some Eastern flourishes, like a tiger tapestry and a wood-carved Buddha, and you’ve got the setting for Thai X-ing, DC’s tastiest hole-in-the-wall Thai eatery. Dining in this cluttered basement is half the fun, but it’s the food that turns customers into X-ing devotees. Chef Taw Vigsittaboot is the only cook in the kitchen, so he personally stirs every pot and checks the crunch of every pepper. The results are tom yum so tangy and pumpkin curry so spicy-sweet, you’ll think they were whipped up by the Thai grandfather you never knew you had.

February 27, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Tuckahoe State Park in Queen Anne, MD as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Tuckahoe State Park

Want to hike, bike, or boat through one of the best kept secrets on the Eastern Shore of Maryland? Tuckahoe State Park offers 12 miles of scenic and unpopulated trails surrounded by beautiful native species and woodlands. Bonus points is Atkins Arboretum, which sits in the center of the park, and offers another 12 miles of paved trailways to explore the diversity of local flora and fauna including 600 species of shrubs, trees, wildflowers, and grasses, Seeking something a little more relaxing? Rent a canoe and take a leisurely paddle on the pristine 60-acre lake. Dogs welcome.

February 22, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Sail Salina II in St Michaels, MD as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Sail Salina II

While there's plenty to do to keep you landlocked when visiting St. Michael's, your trip wouldn't be complete without a sail on the Chesapeake. When the warmth and charm of the historic seaside village has stoked your romantic fire, the best thing to do is to reserve your spot on the Salina II, an exquisitely appointed catboat offers intimate cruises for up to six people. Cast your troubles away and sail beyond the shores of St. Michael's, with vino in hand, hors d'oeuvres within reach, and a crisp Eastern Shore breeze blowing through your hair. To top it off, Captain Iris, granddaughter of the ship's original owners, will keep you entertained with historical facts, nautical tidbits, and her own wayward traveling tales.

February 16, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Belmont Farm Distillery in Culpeper, VA as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Belmont Farm Distillery

Outside Culpeper, Virginia, down a long, meandering driveway, behind a farmhouse, past idle tractors and napping hound dogs, you’ll find Belmont Farm Distillery, a still that’s been legally churning out Virginia moonshine since 1987. Charismatic owner and operator Chuck Miller guides visitors through his family’s bootlegging legacy and his process of cooking, distilling, and packaging moonshine, while proudly boasting about his home-raised corn, and his grandfather’s massive copper pot still that’s been operational since 1930, liquor laws be damned. With the smell of bubbling yeast and the picking of bluegrass lingering in the air, this family-owned business is open April through December, and a worthwhile stop for Virginians looking to rot their insides with a belt of country hospitality.

February 10, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Paper Moon Diner in Baltimore, MD as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Paper Moon Diner

Walking into the Papermoon Diner, whether at 3 pm or 3 am, is like ascending into galactic Never Never Land. The 24-hour restaurant is bedazzled in toys, knickknacks, and curios of every shape, size, and color—from vintage Barbie mobiles to menus fashioned from children’s books. It’s a kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes, trumped only by its culinary creations. Traditional blue-plate specials are given a far-out twist, with celestially inspired offerings like the Big Dipper sunflower french toast. Local diners are full of bright personality as well, inside and out. This is Charm City in technicolor.

February 4, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Assateague State Park in Berlin, MD as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.

If you could take just one photo: Assateague State Park

On a winter day with achingly blue skies, we went to Assateague State Park in Maryland hoping to catch a glimpse of the wild Chincoteague ponies. Assateague is a barrier Island off the coast, belonging partly to Maryland and partly to Virginia. Covered in grasses, the long, curving island has beautiful beaches, which were nearly deserted in the off-season, allowing us the chance to walk for miles. Our first pony sighting came while driving along the road. We saw a single pony grazing. The scene had the quality of an Impressionist painting. Later, we saw a small group of ponies that included a baby and mother with fuzzy winter coats. All of the wild ponies looked well-fed and healthy.

February 4, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Submitted on Mighty Midget Kitchen in Leesburg, VA as part of the Mid Atlantic Freelance Contest.
Mighty Midget Kitchen

One of the country’s smallest restaurants, the Mighty Midget Kitchen, opened for business in 1947 and is a hometown staple to the long-time residents of this quaint American town. Situated 35 miles west of Washington, DC, Leesburg was founded in 1757. The shiny kitchen is an unexpected sight to see in the historic district, lined with gorgeous, well-maintained colonial homes dating back to the Civil War. Upscale restaurants dominate the area but the Mighty Midget is not easily dismissed by passersby. The structure originally crafted from a recycled World War II plane is one of only seven made in Glendale, CA and may be the only one left standing today. Owned by the Town of Leesburg, the kitchen is leased to Hamburg Doner, a German eatery, which is ironic. Could this have been one of the recycled planes used to bomb Germany in the World War II?

January 20, 2011 Like Comment_small Add a Comment

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Deadline: December 30, 2011 12:00p PT


  • Writing Editor's Choice 1: Annapolis and Talbot County contract; 5 nights at the Hambleton Inn; $800 contract
  • Writing Editor's Choice 3: $250 per month
  • Writing Editor's Choice 2: $500 Rehoboth and Dewey contract

Archived Introduction

We're sending writers off to cover weekend travel destinations within driving distance of the DC area. We'll provide free lodging--and work with you to find the most interesting Trazzler-worthy places and activities in the area.

Creative Manifesto

  • Only original work.
  • Writers: Use concrete details — easy on the adjectives.
  • Photographers and writers: Zoom in — with your writing and your camera.
  • Not just places — experiences.
  • All edits must be before the deadline: December 30, 2011
  • More tips »
  • Rules


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