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Maryland's "Polynesia on the Patuxent"

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Sabina posted on Sun, Jan 5, 2003 3:39 AM

I did a little more digging on "Vera's white sands" mentioned briefly on the tiki bar review pages- http://home.earthlink.net/~tikibars/tiki/tikilist.html

I hadn't seen these two articles before-

Polynesia on the Patuxent
from 1999

Summer’s Last Fruit
Vera's banana trees

Come May, we need to check and see if Vera's is still around- if it is, it sounds like a TC pilgrimage is in definite order!

She's kept the Tiki torches burning and been a destination for boats traveling up the Patuxent for decades.

(An an aside, Jack Sherwood's book, "Maryland's Vanishing Lives" is a definite read for anyone interested in watermen and the Chesapeake Bay, and a vanishing way of life.)



God do I hope it is still there! It sounds like a great place - this is a definite road trip!!



Somewhat expanded text on Vera's from Tiki Road Trip...

Vera's White Sands Restaurant, Lusby (near Solomon's Island), MD (410) 586-1182

On the way to Solomon's Island, you will pass Maryland's greatest contribution to the Tiki lifestyle. Vera's is a waterfront bar filled with room after room of authentic Polynesian kitsch. They offer all of the classic Tropical Drinks plus a few of Vera’s own creations. Vera is an attractive older woman who presides over the bar in a muumuu, often with champagne cocktail in hand. Look for the giant Tikis and Moai out front.

Vera's is located in the town of White Sands in Calvert County about ten miles north of Solomon's Island. It is only open during the summer. Take Solomon's Island Rd. to Solomon's Island, and just before Calvert Cliffs you will pass a small sign stating "Vera's White Sands" with an arrow pointing right.

Sabina posted on Tue, Jan 7, 2003 3:40 PM

Many thanks, James! The more detail, the better!

I'm thinking Vera's may be particularly significant in that it's a Tiki establishment founded by a woman- and known in connection to it's leading lady- something we don't seem to stumble across very often. (A major research topic just waiting to be further explored!)

Looking out my window at all the recent snow, waiting 'til May feels like FOREVER!


I wonder if it's too early to make reservations now????? The more I hear about the place the more I want to go - we might be on to a true Maryland tiki experience!!


Here is a picture from the reopening of the TIKI BAR in Solomons Island 2001. They reopen in mid April every year


Carroll :drink:

[ Edited by: powerofthetiki on 2003-01-10 18:59 ]

Sabina & powerofthetiki,

Thanks for the cool pics & info on the Maryland Polynesian & tiki scene. I might be crazy, but wouldn't it be cool if John Waters did a tiki bar shockumentary movie shot on location in his home town of Baltimore! Hell, I wouldn't might shelling out $8.50 to see that!

Shaka bra

Yes the White Sands. I had forgoten about that place. I lived in Calvert Cliffs for a year and a half while working at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant. We spent a many a night in that place. At the time 1982 That was the only bar in a 30 mile stretch. It would be nice to go back and see the place sober. It is a nice place to spend the weekend. You have the Chesapeake Bay, Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons Island and a whole lot more. Ok everyone here is a chance for a TIKI PARTY WEEKEND :D. So who is up for it.

Carroll :drink:

[ Edited by: powerofthetiki on 2003-01-12 10:41 ]


Thought I'd pull a few bits about Vera's from "Maryland's Vanishing Lives". There's a wonderful black and white picture of Vera and two pages of text- I'll pull out just a couple small parts-

"Aloha and welcome to a Polynesian fantasy in a South Seas setting, where frozen cocktails are served with swizzle sticks that pop open to form paper umbrellas. Unsuspecting boaters navigating historic St. Leonard Creek, off the Patuxent River, come upon a hillside of banana trees and feel as if they've slipped into some kind of Bermuda Triangle.

The restaurant's thatched rood has been replaced, but the interior still has a reed ceiling held up by bamboo poles and is crowed with ornate chairs and tables, marble statuary, carved Polynesian figures, ponderous antiques, Oriental umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, curiosities, bric-a-brac, peacock feathers- and cozy nooks from romantic dining.

Vera Freeman, who does not discuss her age ("What's the point?" she asks), lives next door to her restaurant and marina in "Vera's Villa", her own version of an all white Taj Mahal with a swimming pool in the middle of her marble-floored living room."


""I love being surrounded by all these beautiful objects," she says pointing out the object's d'art (labeled "The Freeman Collection") that she has assembled during decades of compulsive shopping trips to exotic ports on formal cruise ships such as Cunard's QE2, on which she is a regular.

This trip to Never-Never Veraland started when she left her native Montana for Hollywood sometime before World War II. But instead of finding fame and stardom as a chorus girl, she fell in love with the wealthy "Doc" Freeman, known then as the "Optometrist to the stars." Eventually, they left Hollywood for the cruising life aboard large, crewed motor yachts- all of them named the "White Sands". During one of these cruises in the early 1950's they discovered, and fell in love with, beautiful St. Leonard Creek. They bought hundreds of acres, filled in a shoreline with tons of white sand (all long since washed away), opened a private marina and clubhouse, and called it the White Sands Yacht Club."

The full length article, is well worth the read- lots more detail, (particularly about her magical evening appearances to the sound of a gong!) but the above is sort of a feel for the place and a little of the history. Apparently Vera's was once a serious destination for the Yachting set.

Finally, here's another set of pictures of her marina dock and home- http://www.his.com/~vann/KrgStuff/Summer01/summer01-3.htm from the Creek.


On 2003-01-10 23:29, Shipwreckjoey wrote:

Thanks for the cool pics & info on the Maryland Polynesian & tiki scene. I might be crazy, but wouldn't it be cool if John Waters did a tiki bar shockumentary movie shot on location in his home town of Baltimore! Hell, I wouldn't might shelling out $8.50 to see that!

Shaka bra

The only problem with John Waters doing a tiki shockumentary is that it would cost millions in dollars just to construct sets. There is no tiki in Baltimore and if there is I haven't found it. The only known tiki bar in Baltimore was demolished with the Emerson Hotel in the early to mid 70's. Besides if Waters did a movie about tiki we'd probably have to endure a scene with an overweight crossdresser eating a piece of dog excrement. Waters would probably stick with what he knows best - pink flamingos and Highlandtown low-lifes - the guy is an embarrasement to Baltimore!


jtiki posted on Mon, Jan 13, 2003 8:54 AM

We may be headed down to Calvert County this weekend, so I have the following querstions:

Is Vera's the same as the infamous Solomon's Tiki Bar or are they different places?

Is either open at this time of year?

(I assume directions can be found in this posting)




Vera's is not the same as the Solomon's Island tiki bar and neither are open this time of year. I've heard first hand accounts of the fiasco that takes place on the opening day at Solomon's Island and one of the articles Sabina posted about Vera's mentions that Vera's is open from May until September. But hey, if you're driving by Vera's we'd all love to know if they're gonna re-open this summer!!


jtiki posted on Mon, Jan 13, 2003 9:35 AM

well, the phone number posted above still works - but the message is a little open ended.


From what I've been able to gather the Tiki bar reopens the 3rd Friday in April- early in the afternoon. They usually place an ad in the local paper and word just spreads.

That said, considering the scene that ensues (roughly 4000 partying people and their boats and thier cars all trying to pile into this tiny community) and the parking nightmare etc (apparently there's a shuttle running from an outlying parking lot in), I'm not sure opening day would be such a great idea.

It's just not quite my Tiki Scene- but hey, if it's anyone elses- by all means, have at it!

The other thing to know is that many of the local residents hate the tiki bar opening in part due to trash left on their lawns, etc. I read the whole thing ends up costing the county like $6,000! Locals also complain it's pretty much the only time DC area folks come out to see Solomons, most of them are partying pretty hard at the time, and not supporting any of the rest of the area economy. (Which is then complicated further by the fact that some of the motels refuse to rent to Tiki bar opening folks!) Suffice it to say, there are some underlying hostilities.

Word has gotten out about the opening event, particularly through the Navy and folks stationed down there, so now people drive in from multiple states away just for this thing!

It seems to be a major event in the Maryland boating community- people stock thier own boats and get a slip as early as the week before.

Personally, instead, I'd suggest an early afternoon Tiki bar trip, perhaps on a Saturday early in May after Vera's has opened, and a late afternoon (just pre-sunset on) over at Vera's.


Directions to Vera's are up above in the thread.

From the Tiki bar review pages- http://home.earthlink.net/~tikibars/tiki/tikisolo.html
Directions to the Tiki bar-

Take maryland Route 2-4 south, all the way to the bottom of the state. Watch for signs to Solomons Island. When you finally get to a bridge that goes over the Patuxent River to St. Mary's County, signs will point you away from the bridge. Follow them. Do not cross the bridge. Rt 2 exits to the right before the bridge to go to Solomons. After a few curves, you can't miss the Tiki Bar on your right.

Island Manor Motel, 77 Charles Street, Solomons Island, MD

Ok people here is the deal with the Tiki bar in Solomons Island. It is only a TIKI bar by name. No Tiki mugs no real TIKI anything it is just a outside bar. It closes late summer and opens early spring.Solomons Island is not actually an island but a narrow two-mile peninsula between the Patuxent River and Back Creek Bay. When they open the tiki bar the island shuts down. Now if you want TIKI Vera's White Sands Restaurantis the place to go.

Janet wants to do a weekend in Solomons Island before we go to the Hukilau in June. So if anyone wants to do a White Sands weekend lets start to plan something.

ALso John not everyone from Highlandtown is a low-life.

:drink: Carroll

On 2003-01-13 20:09, powerofthetiki wrote:

ALso John not everyone from Highlandtown is a low-life.

I know all residents of Highlandtown aren't low-lifes - its just those people John Waters chooses to highlight in his movies - giving people around the country and the world for that matter, the impression that Baltimore is full of dirtballs.



For the benefit of TCers who haven't been following our little MarylandDC(VA) tiki board- http://www.marylanddctiki.com/marylandwelcome.htm, or who might be planning a Maryland Tiki trip at some point in the future, I thought I'd post some of our pictures from the group's first expedition to Vera's White Sands from over the weekend of May 31rst.

Vera's is roughly an hour drive from Washington D.C. and well worth the trip.

is the sign you first see along the road showing the turn off onto White Sands

shows part of the airbrushed mural on the outside front of the building

Yes, even the outside of the building says ALOHA! (But you can only see the "A" in this picture.)

The whole mural is just a little to right of what can be seen in this picture , the main A frame entrance

is another 'out front' Tiki- in both this and the previous pictures, note the BIZARRE hanging lamp to the right of the Tiki in the a-frame- must be a Maryland kind of thing?

Naturally, we didn't take anywhere near enough pictures, (for example, we don't have any good pictures of the huge gong you pass after entering into the first room which sounds the arrival of Vera each night)

But pictures and are in the initial room you first enter into.

Pictures and are also from the far back end of the first room. Obviously the first picture is a group shot of the MD/DC/VA tikiphiles who were there that weekend taken with the painted portrait of Vera herself. The second picture is of our exceptionally friendly and helpful waitresses for the evening- who were definitely part of the whole experience!

Pictures and are of the "Peacock Room" which is to the front of the building off the initial dining room we entered through. It's kind of a nice smaller hang out space.

The very FEW bar pictures we took didn't turn out, so suffice it to say, the bar is another room off the initial room- it has a huge horseshoe shaped bar looking out across the river. Words cannot do it justice! (Must get more pix next time!)

Next, we come to our dining room of the evening- pictures , (This Tiki was at the far end of the room, note the outdoor clamshell fountain to the left of the picture, it's out on the same 'terrace' as the large red lit Tiki you'll see further down) , , , (this little guy was in the corner, watching over us all evening!), and .

Pictures and are of the strange seashell/mermaid canoe that hung just over some of our heads all through dinner.

Which just leaves the pictures from our walk outside the building after dark .

is a Tiki from along the walk along the side of the building along the river side. You can Kinda see one of Vera's famous banana trees that came from FL so many years ago to the left of the Tiki.

Picture is the LARGE Tiki boaters would first see coming from the bay up the river to Vera's. That night, he seemed to have grown a few extra arms!

is the same Tiki as he's normally seen after dark without flash photography- he's bathed in glowing red light! Tonight he just happened to surrounded by cheerful natives who stood still long enough for a snapshot!

We also have a few other pictures that either didn't turn out well.

Unfortunately, we did not get to meet Vera herself that evening- she was having her dinner, and we didn't want to be rude and interupt. Which just means NEXT TIME we'll have to time things a bit better. Which naturally, is an excuse for a next time!

The 'proof sheet' for all these can be found here-

[ Edited by: Sabina on 2003-06-15 06:09 ]

[ Edited by: Sabina on 2003-06-15 06:20 ]

It's me again. I'm going to be on the Eastern Shore for a week right after the Hukilua and want to go to Vera's. Is there anything I should know about hours of operation, days they are closed, reservations (there may be 6 of us) or difficulty in locating it? I'm thinking about taking the ferry rather than driving the Bay Bridge and back. Any help much appreciated.


Vera's is actually on the western shore - so you won't need the Bay Bridge or a ferry. Calvert County is south of Annapolis. It is absolutely a must do!

Thanks John. If you have a minute, I'll explain the really weird two weeks I have ahead of me. I'm flying to DC on Saturday, driving to Rehoboth Beach on Wednesday, driving to Baltimore on Friday and flying to Miami for the Hukilau party at the Holiday Inn on Friday night, flying back to Baltimore on Sunday and driving back to Rehoboth Beach. Sometime during the middle of the following week I want to go to Vera's.
I saw where there is a ferry from Crisfield (Eastern Shore) to Point Lookout (Western Shore), but on looking into it, found it is a passenger ferry -- so that probably won't work. I really hate the idea of driving back across the Bay Bridge to get there, but that looks like the only good option. Did I mention I work for AAA?


Another way to cross the bay is head north through Delaware (Route 13) then start heading south on Route 40 to Baltimore. It's the route I'm most familiar with considering it would tack on another hour for me to get to the Bay Bridge and deal with the god-awful traffic. The Delaware route is a lot more rural and a pretty nice ride. Besides, there are some nice things north of Baltimore...Havre de Grace is a nice little town right on the Susquehanna - decent places to eat, antiques, a lighthouse and a duck decoy museum, some great Victorian B&B's, etc. - doesn't have anything remotely tiki but a nice place nonetheless. It might be a welcome retreat from Route 50.

Hello Kailuageoff while you are in DC you should stop in at the Honolulu and the Poli-Tiki. There will be a group of us at the Hukilau so hopefully we could meet up to help plan your trip to Vera’s.

Stop by our web sites to find out about Vera’s and other happenings



Went to the Honolulu tonight. Had a Scorpion, a rum cocktail, a Zombie (half of Wahine's Marian's drink) and a Blue Hawaiian. Their 25th aniversary is August 26. I hope you DC tiki freaks are planning to do something nice for Anna and David. They told us Vern and the "tiki people" came for lunch today.

A few of us where there at lunch time Saturday to meet with Don and Michelle. They are road triping to the Hukilau. Check out their web site and check out the photos from lunch. http://www.fuelstudios.com/hukilau/main.html


My husband and I went to Vera's White Sands on July 4th for dinner. We planned an entire weekend around this tiki event. It is an unbelievable Polynesian paradise. The place is wild! Tikis are all over the place! We loved it!
The food was very good also. Entrees are approx. $15 each. Mai tais are tasty but I could tell they are not made from the traditional recipe. Drinks are not served in tiki mugs, but tahitian coffee is. The mugs are not for sale. The patio area with the giant moai was closed but they let us go outside to take pictures. There is bamboo everywhere along the side of the patio area. The view from the patio is lovely.
Vera was there, wearing a fab leopard outfit but we did not speak with her. The place is a feast for the eyes! I highly recommend going there.

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